Recent News


05/31/22   Preparing for Successful Transition to Adulthood: A toolkit for Florida Youth with disabilities.

Disability Rights Florida issued this toolkit to assist young people with disabilities, and the adults who support them with a variety of topics concerning their transition to adulthood. It includes a specific section with information relevant to youth who are in the child welfare system. To view the guide click here.


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05/31/22  Transition for Youth with Disabilities
04/01/22  Federal Special Juvenile Immigrant Rules
03/17/22  Pandemic Funds NOT Taxable to Youth
01/22/22  2022 Legislative Session Preview
01/10/22  NACC Recommendations for Child Rep Issued
08/25/21  Money for Youth! Pandemic Funds Released.
05/05/21  2021 Legislative Session Wrap Up-Updated!
03/02/21  Pandemic Support for Former Foster Youth
03/02/21  2021 Legislative Session Preview
03/01/21  Federal Support for Quality Representation
10/01/20  Parent Attorney Guidelines for Practice
09/08/20  My Florida My Family, New Resource
09/08/20  Case Law Update
07/22/20  FAQ on Federal Funding for Attorneys
07/22/20  Children's Legal Representation - by State
07/01/20  2020 Legislative Summary - Updated 9/8/20
04/21/20  2020 Legislative Overview - Preliminary
04/21/20  COVID-19 Materials for Youth
04/09/20  COVID-19 Materials for Attorneys
03/31/20  Federal COVID-19 Guidance UPDATED
01/21/20  2020 Session: Bills of Interest
01/21/20  Children Who Refuse Placement Report
12/10/19  Parent Medicaid Eligibility Expanded
12/05/19  Therapeutic Services for Children -Update
08/01/19  Importance of Youth and Parent Voice
06/03/19  Multidisciplinary Parent Rep Works!
02/20/19  Unseen Cost of Foster Care - Report
02/05/19  Statewide Behavioral Health Search Tool
01/30/19  Federal Funding for Quality Counsel
11/13/18  Fostering Youth Transitions
10/08/18  DCF Memo - 2018 Legislative Changes
10/08/18  2018 Child Protection Summit Materials
06/27/18  2018 Florida Kids Count Profile
06/11/18  2018 Summary Legislative Overview
06/05/18  Final Report: Child & Parent Represention
05/05/18  Regis Little Act Best Practice Guide
05/03/18  Know Your Rights Guide (for Parents)
05/01/18  Immigrants in the Child Welfare System
05/01/18  Homeless Youth Handbook
01/07/18  Independent Living Services Report
12/07/17  Revisions to CFOP 170-14
12/07/17  Revisions to CFOP 170-11
12/01/17 Launched
11/01/17  November Newsletter
10/12/17  October Newsletter
09/25/17  GAL Program to Pay for Certification
09/25/17  September Newsletter
09/20/17  Students Displaced by Irma?
08/29/17  New GAL Bill
08/28/17  Lady Gaga and Mental Health
08/20/17  August Newsletter
08/20/17  Upcoming Webinars
07/13/17  Education Bill
07/01/17  July Newsletter
06/27/17  June Newsletter
06/13/17  Amended Rules on Education and Adoption
06/09/17  Youth Mental Health First Aid
05/12/17  New Child Placement Agreement
04/26/17  New DCF Procedure on Assessment of Child
04/20/17  Supreme Court Ruling on Immigrant Child
04/04/17  New Rules on Psychotropic Medication
03/23/17  FL SC Issues IAC Juvenile Rules
03/12/17  DCF Rule Change: Suitability Assessment
01/17/17  Legal Representation for All Parties
09/13/16  Hire a Foster Youth Campaign
06/26/16  Health Care for Immigrant Children
06/26/16  New Adoption Rules Effective 7/7/16
06/26/16  SSI Pilot for Transitioning Youth
06/25/16  Federal Educational Stability Requirements
06/25/16  Out of the Shadows -LGBTQ Youth
05/18/16  M. Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act
05/13/16  IAC Rule Comments Due June 1
05/05/16  Civil Rights for Parents with Disabilities
05/01/16  USDOE Transition Tool Kit
03/31/16  Juvenile Record Expunction Time Reduced
03/31/16  Juvenile Law Certification Info Available
03/30/16  Graduate School for Former Foster Youth
03/21/16  Protection for Trafficking Victims Enacted
01/21/16  Juvenile Rules Update January 2016
01/17/16  Federal Guidance on Right to Counsel
10/04/15  PESS & Aftercare Living Rules at Last!
08/10/15  Rights of Parents with Disabilities
07/09/15  Court Creates IAC Procedure for Parents
06/23/15  DCF / APD Fix Enacted
06/17/15  Child Protection Bill Signed
06/11/15  Gov. Signs Regis Little Act
06/11/15  Adoption & Foster Care Bill Signed
05/21/15  Juvenile Law Certification Approved
04/01/15  Register for GAL Disability Training - May
02/16/15  Parent's Representation Conference
12/18/14  GALP Addresses Adult Guardianships
12/03/14  NEW Federal Reports on Child Welfare
10/06/14  DCF / APD Fix Memos Issued
09/30/14  New Federal Law On Foster Care & Adoption
09/08/14  Independent Living Draft Rules
08/07/14  Training Curriculum for Children's Lawyers
07/03/14  Rilya Wilson Act (Early Education) Update
06/26/14  ICPC Report Details Problems
06/11/14  Child Welfare Legislative Update
06/10/14  2014-15 FAFSA Tips for Foster Youth
06/09/14  Girls Court Started in Jacksonville
06/01/14  Tools to Support LGBTQ Youth in Care
06/01/14  Keys to Independence Driver's License Help
06/01/14  Medicaid Coverage Guidance
05/30/14  Keeping IDs Safe Act- Prevent ID Theft
05/30/14  GAO: Psych Meds & Fostering Connections
05/20/14  Attorneys for Children Law Passed!
01/01/14  Medicaid Available for Former Foster Youth
01/01/14  Higher Education Access
01/01/14  Extended Foster Care Implementation
06/25/13  Foster Care Revamped
06/19/13  3d DCA Upholds Attorney Client Privilege
05/28/13  New Rules of Juvenile Procedure
05/01/13  Legislature Votes to Extend Foster Care
04/04/13  Guardian Ad Litem Report on Transportation
02/01/13  Order Establishing SIPP Procedures
01/30/13  GAO Report on Use of Title IV-B Funds.
01/28/13  Update: Quality Parenting Bill is the Law!
01/09/13  "Protect Our Kids Act"
01/02/13  Adoption Tax Credit Made Permanent
01/01/13  FL Safe Harbor Law Takes Effect 1/1/2013
01/01/13  "Uninterrupted Scholars Act" Passed
12/31/12  New GAO Report on Children's Mental Health
12/31/12  FL 2012 ILSAC Report Issued
10/31/12  New Florida Interagency Agreement
08/07/12  ABA Passes Resolution Regarding FASD
03/15/12  Report - Foster Care Licensing Standards
10/17/11  BBC Report on US Child Abuse Deaths
10/01/11  New Law on Foster Youth Identity Theft
06/16/11  USSC Holds Age Is a Factor for Miranda
09/20/10  New Report on Deaths From Child Abuse
09/14/10  Abused, Undocumented Children
08/10/10  ABA Policies on Child Abuse Proceedings
12/16/09  See GAO Report on Seclusion & Restraint
10/08/08  Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
10/07/08  New Federal Child Welfare Law
01/01/00  Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Crisis
01/01/00  NEW Policy Briefs on Foster Care Issues
01/01/00  NonRelative Caregiver Rule Proposed
01/01/00  Scholarships for Kids with Disabilities
01/01/00  SB 7078 Child Welfare Signed into Law
01/01/00  New Tools -SSI for Transitioning Youth
01/01/00  ABA Launches Family Justice Initiative
01/01/00  Child's Right to Counsel Report Card
01/01/00  Directive Issued to DCF-CLS
01/01/00  Help Youth and Others Get Income
01/01/00  2022 Legislative Wrap Up
VIEW ALL OTHER NEWS ITEMS(If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here.)
01/01/13   Congress Passes Bill to Amend FERPA In Order to Improve Educational Outcomes of Youth in Foster Care

The Uninterrupted Scholars Act (S. 3472), awaiting the President's signature, amends the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, P.L. 93-380) to ensure child welfare agencies can access school records of students in foster care. Access to educational records will help students recoup lost credits, speed their timely transfer to new schools and will give social workers and administrators a more complete picture of academic success to guide decisions about the child's well-being. At the same time, the bill preserves educational privacy rights of students and parents as FERPA intends.

12/31/12   GAO Issues Report "Children's Mental Health: Concerns Remain about Appropriate Services for Children in Medicaid and Foster Care."

GAO undertook the study to address concerns that children with mental health conditions do not always receive appropriate treatment. The report notes that HHS's Administration for Children and Families (ACF) reported that 18 percent of foster children were taking psychotropic medications at the time they were surveyed, although utilization varied widely by the child's living arrangement. ACF also reported that 30 percent of foster children who may have needed mental health services did not receive them in the previous 12 months. To read the report click here.

12/31/12   DCF Issues the 2012 Report of the Independent Living Services Advisory Council

"The charge of the Independent Living Services Advisory Council is to review and make recommendations concerning the implementation and operation of the independent living transition services. . . . In August 2012, Secretary David Wilkins appointed 18 new members to the Independent Living Services Advisory Council. . . . These professionals and individuals appointed by Secretary Wilkins in September 2012 [are] reviewing the implementation and operation of the independent living transition services, identifying areas of success and acknowledging barriers." To read the report click here.

10/31/12   State Agencies Enter into an "Agreement To Coordinate Services for Children Served by More Than One Agency."

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), Dept. of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Dept. of Education (DOE), Dept. of Health (DOH), Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, and Florida's Office of Early Learning (FOEL) entered into an agreement to coordinate services and supports for children served by multiple agencies. The agreement creates Local, Regional and State Review Teams to consider and coordinate services for children. To read the Agreement click here.

08/07/12   The American Bar Association Has Passed a Resolution Urging Legal Professionals to Respond Effectively to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

On August 7, 2012, the American Bar Association passed a resolution urging attorneys and judges, bar associations, and law school clinical programs "to help identify and respond effectively to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in children and adults, through training to enhance awareness of FASD and its impact on individuals in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and adult criminal justice systems and the value of collaboration with medical, mental health, and disability experts." The resolution further urges "the passage of laws, and adoption of policies at all levels of government, that acknowledge and treat the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and better assist individuals with FASD." To view the resolution, click here.

03/15/12   ABA Center on Children and the Law and Generations United Summarize State Foster Care Licensing Standards and Make Recommendations

In March 2012, Generations United and the ABA Center on Children and the Law issued a report, entitled "Improving Foster Care Licensing Standards around the United States: Using Research Findings to Effect Change," summarizing all 50 states' foster care licensing standards and recommending changes to make standards and their application more uniform. The project was supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report looks at state statutes and regulations with regard to standards such as eligibility (age, citizenship, education, income, etc.), physical and mental health, living environment, transportation, training requirements, home studies, and background checks, as well as different standards for relatives. Recommendations include development of model core standards for all states. To view the report, click here.

10/17/11   BBC Releases Its Investigative Report on U.S. Child Abuse Deaths — "America's Child Abuse Shame"

On October 17, 2011, the BBC released worldwide the results of its months-long investigation of child maltreatment fatalities in the U.S. The report, "America's Child Death Shame," discusses the problem of child deaths in America by focusing on Texas, which has the highest rate of child deaths from abuse in the country. The report includes comments from several Texas professionals, including Audrey Deckinga, Asst. Commissioner for CPS, Madeline McClure, Executive Director of TexProtects ( Texas Association for Protection of Children), and Matthew Cox, M.D., Medical Director of the REACH Clinic at Children's Medical Center. The Every Child Matters Education Fund, one of the organizations participating in the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, noted that despite up to 2,500 child deaths a year in America, national media in the U.S. have never reported on the issue in as comprehensive a manner as the BBC has now done. The National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths hopes that the BBC's report will prompt a federal inquiry and a national strategy for combating the problem. To watch segments of the BBC report online, click here and then click on each of the various segments of the report to view all of them. To view the recommendations of the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, see TLC's Recent News item dated December 14, 2010. To learn more about the work of the Every Child Matters Education Fund, click here.

10/01/11   Federal Legislation Requires Free Credit Reports for Foster Youth Aging Out of Care

On Sept. 30, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. It contains a provision from the proposed Foster Youth Financial Security Act that requires states to provide free credit reports to youth age 16 or older until they are discharged from foster care. The administration is preparing regulations for implementation of the requirement. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) is the sponsor of the Foster Youth Financial Security Act, which has not passed Congress in its entirety. Click here to view a news article about the new legislation.

06/16/11   U.S. Supreme Court Holds that Age Is a Factor for Miranda in Juvenile Interrogations

On June 16, 2011, the U. S. Supreme Court held that a juvenile's age properly informs Miranda custody analysis. In J.D.B. v. North Carolina, the Court considered the interrogation of a 13-year-old in a room at his school by uniformed police officers. The juvenile was not read Miranda rights and gave a confession. The Court explained that a child's age affects his perception of whether he is free to leave, and ruled that the interrogators should have taken age into consideration in determining whether the child was "in custody" and, therefore, entitled to Miranda warnings. To view the Court's opinion, click here.

09/20/10   Every Child Matters Education Fund Releases We Can Do Better: Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America

On September 20, 2010, Every Child Matters Education Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the adoption of legislation that makes children, youth, and families a national priority, released a report on deaths from child abuse and neglect. This report, We Can Do Better: Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America, provides statistics on deaths from child abuse and neglect and suggests legislation to prevent abuse and lower the number of children killed. Every Child Matters is a member of the National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, which includes the National Center for Child Death Review, National Children's Alliance, the National District Attorneys Association, and the National Association of Social Workers. The coalition is bringing national attention to this issue and advocating a national strategy to end these preventable deaths. The first edition of the report was followed by a national summit, which generated recommendations and formation of the coalition. The coalition briefed Congressional staffers on the issue, and the General Accounting Office began a study of deaths in the child welfare system. The coalition also generated a petition requesting that Congress conduct hearings on child abuse deaths. Click here to view the report.

09/14/10   The Center for Public Policy Priorities Has Issued a New Report on Undocumented, Abused and Neglected Children

On September 14, 2010, the Center for Public Policy Priorities issued a report that examines the problem of undocumented children who suffer abuse and neglect in this country. Who are these children, and why is it unworkable to send them back to their country of origin? The paper offers suggestions for system improvements to allow these children to obtain legal residency and for aligning immigration and child welfare laws to protect this population. Click here to view the report.

08/10/10   ABA Affirms Child's Right to Counsel at All Stages of Child Protection Proceedings and Adopts Policies for Court Improvement

At its annual meeting in August, the American Bar Association adopted several policies concerning children and parents in the justice system. Most notable is a policy calling child custody a "basic human need" in access to justice. In its new "Model Access Act," the ABA makes clear that there should be a right to legal representation of children in any proceedings initiated by government "for the purposes of child protective intervention." The ABA also clarifies that in child abuse and neglect related proceedings, the child's legal representation should extend "as long as jurisdiction continues." The ABA policies also call for full, prompt, and expansive implementation of the "older youth provisions" of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act. Finally, the ABA approved the first comprehensive set of national administrative standards for courts hearing child abuse and neglect civil proceedings. These Judicial Excellence Standards were developed by a multidisciplinary committee and were previously endorsed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Click here to view the ABA's announcement about the policies.

12/16/09   GAO Issues Report on Deaths and Abuse in Schools and Treatment Centers from Use of Seclusion and Restraint

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report to the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor on the use of seclusion and restraint in public and private schools and treatment centers in order to provide an overview of laws concerning use of these methods, to verify whether allegations of abuse and death from such methods are widespread, and to examine the facts of cases where students died or suffered abuse as a result of being secluded or restrained. The GAO found that no federal laws restrict the use of seclusion and restraint in schools and that state laws vary widely. While the GAO could not determine if allegations of abuse and death are widespread, it did find hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death due to use of restraint and seclusion methods. One theme the GAO mentioned is that children with disabilities are sometimes restrained or secluded even without parental consent. To read the report, including the details of cases and state and federal laws, click here.

10/08/08   Congress Increases Grants for Runaway and Homeless Youth Facilities and Enacts Requirements for Emergency Preparedness

On October 8, 2008, President Bush signed the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 2008, which amends provisions for federal grants to programs offering services to runaway youth. It increases minimum grant allotments and requires that youth shelters and transitional living programs have adequate emergency preparedness and management plans. The act also revises requirements for transitional living programs and increases the maximum allowable length of stay. Some youth projects receive priority funding in the bill. Statistics on runaway and homeless youth must be reported periodically to Congress.

10/07/08   New Federal Law Overhauls Child Welfare System

On October 7, 2008, President Bush signed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which addresses educational stability for foster children, including requiring states to ensure that foster children remain in their original school unless not in the child's best interest; possible waiver of non-safety related licensing standards for relatives; foster care payments after age 18; transition for children aging out of foster care; training for agencies, relatives and court personnel; oversight of health care services; sibling placement; tribal programs; and special needs adoptions. State, local or tribal child welfare agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations, may receive matching grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with the goal of assisting children in foster care to reconnect with family members.

01/01/00   Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Community Alliance Creates Committee to Facilitate Provision of Services to Immigrant Children and Their Caregivers in Order to Prevent Formal Entry in to Florida's Child Welfare System.

Florida has long been home to thousands of immigrant children, many who are here without a parent or guardian. The population has increased immensely in recent months with additional immigrant children coming to Florida both short term for temporary shelter and long term to live with sponsors and in federal foster care. The Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) Community Alliance decided to make a concerted effort to help children and their caregivers so that children can remain safe and well in the community, not come into foster care, the delinquency system or become homeless. You can read more about their efforts on the Circuit's webpage on the Center for Child Welfare Website. click here. FLORIDA for Children and Families has links to trainings and other resource documents and is building those materials. Search the topic "immigrant children" to see the latest.

01/01/00   State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center issues briefs on: Extension of Medicaid to Age 26 for Youth Who Move Out of State, Collaborations between Child Welfare and Health Care Systems, and the Nexus of Housing and Child Welfare.

To read the report on Medicaid to Age 26 click here. To read Improving Child Well-Being: Strengthening the Collaboration between the Child Welfare and Healthcare Systems click here. To read the report on Families at the Nexus of Housing and Child Welfare click here. To read more about SPARC's work visit their website at click here.

01/01/00   DCF issued it's proposed rule to address the availability of financial assistance to non-relative caregivers. Comments are due to the Department by December 24, 2014

To read the text of the proposed rule click here.

01/01/00   Step Up for Students now offers two types of scholarship for children with disabilities. Child welfare children are eligible for both.

The Personal Learning Scholarship Account (PLSA) is available to students in kindergarten through 12th grade who are diagnosed with developmental disabilities and children under 5 who are are deemed "high risk" due to developmental delays. PLSA scholarship funds can be used for a combination of approved programs and providers that caregivers think will best meet their children?s unique needs. These include approved private schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, and technology. Step Up for Students is currently accepting applications for the PLSA for the 2014-15 school year. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC) offers two scholarship options: one that helps cover private school tuition and fees, or one that assists with transportation costs to attend a public school in another county. For more information on both scholarships, click here.

01/01/00   On May 22, 2015 Governor Scott signed a "Child Welfare" bill which addresses several items as a follow up to the 2014 Senate Bill 1666 which made major revisions to Florida Statutes primarily in relation to child protection.

This bill addresses several items: - Child Abuse Death Reviews - Critical Incident Rapid Response Teams - Reports of Medical Neglect - Requires CBCs to prioritize the use of Evidenced Based and Trauma Informed Services - Permits the Child Welfare Specialty Medicaid Plan to cover young adults in extended foster care and those who remain eligible for Medicaid after adoption from care The bill can be viewed here, click here. The Senate Staff Analysis can be viewed here,click here.

01/01/00   Still having problems getting Social Security to take 18 year old redeterminations 6 months before the child turns 18? Check out this nifty new toolkit.

The Juvenile Law Center and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia created a toolkit for advocates working with foster youth who are transitioning to adulthood and receive SSI. The materials are based on federal law and appropriate for Florida clients. To obtain the toolkit click here. Social Security also has a new pamphlet for transitioning youth click here.

01/01/00   The Family Justice Initiative is a national collaborative aimed at increasing access to high quality legal representation for children and parents in child welfare cases.

The FJI was formed by ABA Center on Children and the Law, the Children's Law Center in California and the Center for Family Representation in New York. Their website provides research, resources and advocacy tools. It is a key location to obtain information on federal funding for counsel for dependent children and their parents.

01/01/00   First Star's 4th Edition of the Right to Counsel Report Card raises Florida's grade from an F to a C.

First Star issued its first report card on children's right to counsel in 2002. Over the years it has tracked whether and how states provide attorney representation to children in dependency proceedings. The Fourth Edition, issued in conjunction with the Child Advocacy Institute provides a detailed look at how states provide legal representation to children. You can read the report card here click here.

01/01/00   DCF General Counsel's issued "Directive Empowering CLS to Protect Children, Reduce Recidivism, and Decrease Families in Crisis."

This memo directs DCF-CLS attorneys to: take affirmative steps to expedite permanency when parents have materially breached case plans; timely file petitions for termination of parental rights; request judicial reviews and permanency reviews early; directs them to file TPR petitions without court permission and restructures DCF-CLS. You can read the memo click here.

01/01/00   Getting Money in the Pockets of Transition Aged Youth: Filing Taxes

This publication by numerous national advocacy organizations provides information and resources to help young people obtain federal funds. It explains the tax credits and other funding sources. To see the document click here.

01/01/00   What Passed & What Failed

Florida's Legislative Session ended on March 13. This document shows which documents made it through the Legislature. As of April 18, most of the child welfare related bill have been signed by Governor. Other bills have not been sent yet. To see the wrap up click here.

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04/01/22 - 10/08/18
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10/08/18 - 04/04/17
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03/23/17 - 12/18/14
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12/03/14 - 01/01/13
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01/01/13 - 01/01/00

Brought to you by Florida's Children First in partnership with Florida Loves Children.
Florida Dependency Law Center is the Child Protection Connection for Florida. Learn more.