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.)
10/08/18   Handouts and source materials from all of this year's Child Protection Summit Workshops, as well as videos of recorded workshops.

2018 Child Protection Summit Materials

06/27/18   A summary of Florida's ranking from the 2018 Kids Count Data Book, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Florida KIDS COUNT is part of a nationwide KIDS COUNT Network, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which annually releases its KIDS COUNT Data Book-State Trends in Child Well-being. Click here to view Florida's profile summary compiled from the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book

06/11/18   Summary of Florida's Key Child Welfare Legislation 2018 provided by Florida's Children First

Click here to view the 7 page Summary.

06/05/18   The Florida Bar's Special Committee on Child and Parent Representation in dependency proceedings.

2017-2018 Final Report and Recommendation of Florida Bar Special Committee on Child and Parent Representation in dependency proceedings.

This Summary, prepared by Florida's Children First, provides a quick overview of the Final Report.

05/05/18   The Regis Little Guide was created by L. David Shear Children's Law Center to clarify the necessary steps case management must take to comply with the requirements of the law in transitioning youth with disabilities to adulthood.

This succinct guide provides case management steps to help ensure compliance with the Regis Little Act's requirements for youth with disabilities transitioning to adulthood. Click here to view the 5 page guide.

05/03/18   Florida's Parents' Know Your Rights Guide was issued by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

This 2 page guide helps parents whose children have been removed know what their rights are including the right to counsel; participation in school, medical and placement decisions; and due process. It's one of the series of "Know Your Rights" guides created for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Click here to see What parents in Florida need to know after a child's removal

05/01/18   Child Welfare and Immigration Project, ABA Center on Children and the Law: Case Studies

Through seven hypothetical case studies, the Child Welfare and Immigration Project provides helpful guidance for attorneys and advocates to best to address their immigrant adult and/or child client needs when interacting with the child welfare system. To access the "Immigrants in the Child Welfare System: Case Studies" click here

05/01/18   Florida's Homeless Youth Handbook: Legal Issues and Options (2018)

Created by Baker McKenzie, The Walt Disney Company, and Florida's Children First in support of the Homeless Youth Legal Network Pro Bono project of the American Bar Association to provide homeless youth in Florida with comprehensive information about their legal rights. The Homeless Youth Handbook includes detailed guidance on the legal issues affecting homeless youth for those who serve this population. The Florida Homeless Youth Handbook is available now.

01/07/18   Independent Living Services Advisory Council's Annual Report and DCF's Response

The Independent Living Services Advisory Council released its 2017 Annual Report. In this report, the ILS Advisory Council specified recommendations for extended foster care, postsecondary education and support services, positive pathways, and employment. In a separate document, Department of Children and Families submitted its response to the the Independent Living Services Advisory Council's recommendation in this document.

12/07/17   CFOP 170-14 Response to Human Trafficking of Victims Revised to Reflect Statutory Changes

During the last legislative session, Senate Bill 852 (2017) amended the administrative requirements set forth in F.S. 409.1754 and 39.524 serving child victims of sexual exploitation and reporting requirements. This memorandum outlines the new requirements to CFOP 170-14.

12/07/17   New Procedures for Residential Mental Health Treatment

New child welfare operating procedures regarding the placement of dependent children in residential mental health treatment went into effect on November 15, 2017. This memorandum highlights the changes.

12/01/17 is a website to help children and families with disabilities manage the transition to adulthood

Each year, nearly 58,000 Florida children with developmental disabilities turn 18, at which point their parents can no longer legally make medical, educational and other life decisions for them. That's why attorney Michelle Kenney and her firm, GAPS Legal, partnered with the nonprofit Florida Justice Technology Center (FJTC) to create, a free resource to educate families on their legal options as their children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities reach the legal age of adulthood.

The site directs users to resources such as the local Clerk of Court and the Find a Lawyer Page, where they can find local legal aid organizations, The Florida Bar's Lawyer Referral Service, and pro bono legal services options.

11/01/17   FDLC November 2017 Newsletter

To view the November newsletter with case law updates and an article on Master Trusts, please click here

10/12/17   FDLC October Newsletter

This month's newsletter focuses on Florida KIDS COUNT. To view the October newsletter, please click here

09/25/17   Florida GAL Foundation will pay the application fee for 8 people to take the Juvenile Law Certification Exam

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation will pay the application fee for 8 people to take the next Juvenile Law Certification Exam. This opportunity is available to the top 2 applicants each from GAL, DCF, OCCRC/parents attorneys, and those attorneys who accept appointments under section 39.01305 (those on the registry and those serving pro bono).

To be considered, simply write one paragraph on why Board Certification in Juvenile Law can help improve practice in dependency court and send it to the people designated for your organization/group below with the subject line: "GAL Foundation Fee Payment Application." The only restriction on eligibility is that the applicant must be taking the test - those attempting to be grandfathered in are not eligible.

GAL Best Interest Attorneys:
Director of Legal Advocacy Kelly Swartz (
General Counsel Dennis Moore (

Regional Counsel/Parents attorneys: Regional Conflict Counsel Candice Brower (
Regional Conflict Counsel Ita M. Neymotin (

DCF Attorneys:
Director of Legal Services Grainne O'Sullivan
Director of Appeals Stephanie Zimmerman (

Section 39.01305 attorneys:
Robert Latham (
Meshon Rawls (

Certification is the Florida Bar's highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys by the Supreme Court of Florida, and board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism, tested for expertise, and have demonstrated reputations for ethics and professionalism. Alan Abramowitz believes "all stakeholders in dependency court benefit when we increase expertise in juvenile court, and ultimately this will improve outcomes for children." The GAL Foundation would like to make this high honor a little bit easier to reach! You can click here for the application.

09/25/17   FDLC September Newsletter

This month's newsletter focuses on the Every Student Succeeds Act. To view the September newsletter, click here.

09/20/17   McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act sets forth protections for students displaced by Hurricane Irma

If your client has been displaced due to Hurricane Irma, or you know of a foster child who has been displaced, please click here to make sure you are aware of the federal protections afforded these students by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act.

08/29/17   Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018

The Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018, filed by Rep. Frank White and Sen. Aaron Bean, would help special needs children in dependency court by providing due-process court costs for pro bono attorneys. To read more about the bill and a radio interview on the bill, please click here.

08/28/17   Lady Gaga Offers Trainings on Mental Health

Lady Gaga's Born this Way Foundation has teamed up with the National Council for Behavioral Health in training 150,000 people in Mental Health First Aid by the end of the year. The Born This Way Foundation and the National Council are offering trainings in every city of Lady Gaga's tour; some are free trainings and others cost $75. For more information, click here.

08/20/17   FDLC August Newsletter

This month's newsletter focuses on the Child Protection Summit, including information about sessions, tips on the conference, and an invitation to a parents' and children's' attorneys meet and greet. To view the August newsletter, click here.

08/20/17   Navigating Florida's Online Dependency Law Center Webinars

Dates have been released for three webinars on "Navigating Florida's Online Dependency Law Center": August 24, Sept. 11, and Sept. 25. These one hour webinars teach you how to effectively and efficiently navigate FDLC. Additionally, you will receive a 1 hour technology CLE credit. Please click here to register.

07/13/17   Open Transfer Rules Benefit Foster Care Children

In just a few weeks, the 2017-2018 school year will begin. The education bill, HB 7029, signed into law by Governor Scott in April 2016, will become effective amending F.S. 1002.31. This bill allows student athletes to play sports at any school, regardless of where they are zoned. However, a student cannot play the same sport at a different school in the same school year; for example, a student cannot play football at one school and then transfer mid-season to another school to play football. There are exceptions to this rule - one of which is a child in foster care. If a child in foster care is moved mid-season to a new school, that child can continue to play the same sport he or she played at the first school. Please make sure that the foster parents and guardians are aware of this exception so their foster children can play sports if transferred homes. For more information, click here.

07/01/17   FDLC July Newsletter

The July Newsletter contains information about new articles on mental health and trauma affecting dependent youth. To view the newsletter, click here.

06/27/17   FDLC June Newsletter

The June 2017 newsletter covers several topics: 1) new name for our site; 2) free technology CLE credit; and 3) the new child welfare law signed by Governor Scott on June 23, 2017. To view the newsletter, click here.

06/13/17   Revisions to Rule 65C-28.018 and 65C-15.036 Effective June 15, 2017

Two revisions to Rule 65C have been adopted and will become effective on June 15, 2017. The first amended rule is 65C-28.018, Meeting the Child's Educational Needs. The rule now complies with the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The changes include 1) factors that must be considered prior to making a determination that remaining in the school of origin is not in the child's best interest; 2) a School Stability Checklist; and 3) documentation of the best interest determination to be provided to the child's new school. To see the amended Rule 65C-28.018, please click here. The second amended rule, Rule 65C-15.036, Intercountry Adoption Services, ensures that agencies conducting international adoptions are in good standing. Specifically, the changes 1) require any child-placing agency which conducts international adoptions and is accredited by the Department of State to remain in good standing; and 2) provide that revocation or suspension of accreditation by the Hague Convention will also be revocation of the child-placing agency license. To see this Rule, please click here.

06/09/17   Mental Health America of Northeast Florida providing Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification

Project AWARE and Mental Health America of Northeast Florida is providing an opportunity for individuals and organizations to receive Youth Mental Health First Aid Certification. This training is provided at no cost for individuals and organizations that work with youth in Duval County. For all others, there is a fee. This is a three year certification. If you are interested in the training please contact Jill Hill at or 904-683-7947.

05/12/17   DCF releases a new child placement agreement effective May 12, 2017

The Department of Children and Families released a new Child Placement Agreement for the creation and management of care precautions and behavior management plans for children in out-of-home care, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4. These agreements relate to children that may pose a significant threat to the safety of other children or themselves. The agreement has some minor revisions to better align with Florida Safe Families Network functionalities. The effective date is May 12, 2017. To view the agreement, please click here. Also, a webinar for the Child Placement Agreement was held on April 14, 2017. The purpose of the webinar was to provide direct support to the full CBC community as each CBC works on its strategy to implement the new operating procedure, CFOP 170-11, Chapter 4. The link to the webinar is

04/26/17   DCF revised its operating procedures on assessments required for a child joining a household involved in an active investigation or ongoing services

On April 14, 2017, DCF released new assessments required for any child who is joining a household involved in an active investigation or ongoing services, such as a newborn, in CFOP 170-1. These new requirements include: a pre-birth assessment for a caregiver or minor in the household who is pregnant; a multidisciplinary staffing to plan for the newborn; specific instructions for CLS staffings; and information that must be gathered when a new baby is born or a child enters a household in an ongoing services case. To read the memorandum from DCF about the new operating procedure,click here. To read the new rule, click here.

04/20/17   The Florida Supreme Court ruling released today on private dependency petition

The Florida Supreme Court ruled today on the much anticipated case concerning the private dependency petition filed on behalf of an immigrant child and resolves a circuit split. The Court quashed the decision of the Third DCA upholding the denial of a private dependency proceeding and held that private petitions warrant "individualized consideration and adjudication rather than summary denial." The Third DCA concluded that the child was not entitled to the protections of Chapter 39 and that his petition was filed for the sole purpose of seeking an immigration status; it upheld the circuit court's ruling of dismissal. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that when a petition for dependency alleges specific fast, the circuit court must make individualized factual finds and the apply the law to the facts, regardless of the child's motivation for the dependency adjudication. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings. In a split decision 4-3 with 2 concurrences and one dissent. To read the ruling, please click here.

04/04/17   New DCF Rules on Psychotropic Medication

DCF amended Rule 65C-35.001-.013 regarding psychotropic medication for children in the dependency system. To see the redlined version of the rules, please click here. To see the updated Medical Report, please click here. Also, the following are the major changes: 1) Deletes the requirement that prescribers must be physicians, and requires prescribers to be practitioners licensed under Ch. 458 and 459. [Rule 65C-35.001(20)] 2) Redefines psychotropic medication covered by the rule to those with the primary intent to stabilize or improve mood, mental status, behavioral symptomatology or mental illness. It now excludes those medications prescribed for other purposes which have the effect of altering brain chemistry. [65C-35.001(21)] 3) Seeks to have knowledgeable adult accompany child to doctor?s visits by: a)Scheduling appointments at times that work for caregiver. b)Requiring the case manager or a designee to attend all medication review appointments. [65C-35.011(6)] The case designee must be specially trained and provided information about the child to share with the prescriber. [65C-35.004] 4) Requires the doctor to discuss the medication with the child and for the child to be provided a copy of the Medical Report if he or she has sufficient maturity and the intellectual capacity to understand the report 5) Adds a requirement that Children?s Legal Services file a motion for appointment of counsel if the child is not developmentally able to assent (added to the requirement of seeking appointment if the child declines to assent). [65C. 35.005(2) and (2)(b)] 6) Encourages better continuity of care when children enter care and at transitions (a.) by detailing what the child protective investigator (CPI) or case manager has to do if the child is taking medication at the time of removal but the medication is not in the original container clearly marked with a current prescription [65C-35.006 and 65C-35.011]; (b.) by specifying the importance of communication between current and former caregivers to communicate about medication monitoring and administration. [65C-35.011];(c.) by requiring the CPI or case manager to give specific information about the medication to new caregivers. 7) Specifies conditions for pre-consent review when prescription exceeds dosage parameters, child is under age 10 and prescribed 2 or more psychotropic medications [65C-35.012] 8) Adds sections discussing the Medical report [65C-35.013] and the Training required of CPIs, case managers and caregivers. [65C-35.014]

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Florida Dependency Law Center is the Child Protection Connection for Florida. Learn more.