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.)
12/03/14   The Congressional Research Service recently issued 3 reports of interest to the child welfare community concerning Health Care Needs, State Plan Requirements and Former Foster Youth.

To read the report on Health Care Needs of Children in Foster Care and related issues click here. To read the Profiles of Current and Former Foster Youth in the the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) click here. To read about State Plan Requirements under the Title IV-E Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program click here.

10/06/14   DCF and APD have issued memoranda implementing the legislative fix for addressing when young people on the APD Waiver waiting list are placed on the APD Waivers.

The Department of Children and Families implementation memo can be viewed here, click here. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities memo can be viewed here, click here. .

09/30/14   Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act signed into law on September 29th.

This new federal legislation has several components that will affect Florida's child welfare system - and one it borrowed from Florida's child welfare system. Federal law now requires states to include normalcy provisions in their state plans for foster care that mirror Florida's law. In addition, the new law also: - Eliminates the use of APPLA as a goal for a child under age 16. - Requires case planning for children 14 and older to involve the child. - Requires tracking of sex trafficking victims. - Enhances and revises incentives for adoptions and guardianships. To read the full bill click here. . Or to read a summary click here.

09/08/14   DCF is in the process of drafting rules and related forms for Extended Foster Care, Postsecondary Educational Support Services/Education Training Vouchers.

The draft rules and forms have not yet been officially promulgated pursuant to the formal rule making process, but you can review the current drafts here. Extended Foster Care here. Postsecondary Educational Support Services and ETV can be viewed here.

08/07/14   Lawyers Representing Children Now Have a Single Guide to Help them Identify Training and Resources.

A Training Consortium lead by the Public Interest Law Section of the Florida Bar has compiled this resource to assist lawyers in obtaining the training and resources they need to successfully represent children. To view the curriculum click here.

07/03/14   The Rilya Wilson Act requiring young children in the custody of the state or under protective supervision to attend early education (child care) was updated by SB166. DCF recently issued a policy memo on the changes to law and rules

Fla. Stat. 39.605(3) was amended to require attendance, not just enrollment, for children from birth to school age. Previous law required enrollment starting at age 3. Additionally, DCF amended Fla. Admin. Code 65C-13.030 to set an order of priority for the selection of the child care setting for children in licensed out of home care. To read the memo click here.

06/26/14   New research Report: Foster Kids in Limbo: The Effects of the Interstate Compact on Children in Foster care

Prof. Vivek S. Sankaran prepared this report for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report examines data on implementation and problem areas with ICPC. To the read the report click here.

06/11/14   Several new measures passed in the 2014 Legislative Session that will substantially affect the child welfare system.

To view a summary of the major changes you can review a presentation prepared by Stephen Pennypacker, former Asst. Secretary of DCF, now CEO of the Partnership for Strong Families click here.

06/10/14   Students in Unique Situations: Tips for Completing the Free Application for Federal Student AId (FAFSA)

This tip sheet answers questions on the 2014-2015 FAFSA that may cause difficulty in unique situations, and specifically addresses To read the tip sheet, click here. students in foster care.

06/09/14   Duval County's first in Florida "Girls Court" is opened to address the special needs of girls facing juvenile charges.

In collaboration with Judge David Gooding, Family Support Services, the Dept. of Juvenile Justice, the State Attorney's Office and the Public Defender's Office, the Delores Barr Policy Center is working to create Duval County's first Girls Court. Girls Court is a specialized form of juvenile court that links girls who are facing criminal charges with community based organizations,like the Delores Barr weaver Policy Center, in an effort to reduce girl's recidivism and detention. Expected outcomes include reduced days in detention, reduced court orders, and reduced violations of probation.

06/01/14   The Child Welfare League of America and Lamda Legal Publication Getting Down to Basics, offers Tools to Support LGBTQ Youth in Care for Attorneys, Guardians Ad Litem and Advocates Representing LGBTQ Youth

If you advocate for young people in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, you work with young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ). This publication helps lawyers and youth advocates develop an understanding of the unique issues faced by these clients and cultivate advocacy strategies that are sensitive to their needs. To download it click here. Or to read online click here.

06/01/14   The Keys to Independence (HB 977) Bill was enacted to help foster youth obtain driver's licenses and insurance

Less than 3% of youth in foster care obtain a driver's license. This has a negative impact on their ability to become fully independent, work and get their education. The Keys to Independence Bill, crafted by the Guardian Ad Litem Program and supported by Florida Youth SHINE and sponsored by Senator Detert and Representative Albritton addresses the barriers faced by many youth. It gives priority to foster youth in enrolling in high school driver's ed class, and creates a pilot project to fund the cost of a learner's permit, driver's license and help with car insurance. To the read the bill click here.

06/01/14   EPSDT - A Guide for States provides comprehensive information about the extent of Medicaid coverage available to children and adolescents.

The EPSDT benefit is more robust than the Medicaid benefit for adults and is designed to assure that children receive early detection and care, so that health problems are averted or diagnosed and treated as early as possible. The goal of EPSDT is to assure that individual children get the health care they need when they need it. This federal guidance is an essential tool for attorneys and judges seeking to ensure that children and young adults receive e right care to the right child at the right time in the right setting. To the read the guide click here.

05/30/14   The Keeping IDs Safe K.I.D.S. Act was enacted to help protect minors from identity theft.

Children in state care are very vulnerable to identity theft. The Keeping IDs Safe - K.I.D.S. Act is intended to afford some protection to all minors and incapacitated persons. Senate Bill 242 was sponsored by Representative Fitzenhagen and Senator Detert and supported by the Guardian Ad Litem Program and Florida Youth SHINE. The law allows a guardian or other advocate to place a security freeze on the child's consumer report. A security freeze prohibits a consumer reporting agency from releasing information to a third party without authorization. That in turn prevents the third party from obtaining credit in the child's name. To read the bill click here.

05/30/14   The GAO issued two federal reports on topics of concern to child welfare: Psychotropic Medications & Managed Care and Implementation of the Fostering Connections Act

To read the GAO Report on Psychotropic Medications click here. To read the GAO Report FOSTER CARE: HHS Needs to Improve Oversight of Fostering Connections Act Implementation click here.

05/20/14   The Florida Legislature enacted HB 561 which requires the appointment of compensated counsel for dependent children with one of 5 categories of special needs.

On July 1st, Florida Statute 39.01305 will go into effect requiring the appointment of a lawyer for dependent children who fall into one or more of the following categories: victims of human trafficking, in or facing placement in Residential Treatment, in or facing placement in a nursing home, declines to assent to psychotropic medication, and has a diagnosis of developmental disability. To read the bill, click here.

01/01/14   Medicaid is now available up to age 26 to young adults who were in state care and receiving Medicaid when they turned 18.

The Affordable Care Act extends Medicaid to ALL young adults who were in state care (licensed, relative and non-relative) and receiving Medicaid at age 18. Application should be made through Florida's ACCESS. See this flyer for details. click here.

01/01/14   Fostering Higher Education Success: Tuition & Fee Exemption for Florida's Foster Youth, An Examination of the Efficacy of Existing Barriers to Usage, and Recommendations for Reform.

This white paper examines the history of Florida's offer of free tuition to former foster youth. It documents the low rate of usage of this important benefit, details barriers, and offers suggestions for increasing usage. To read the white paper click here.

01/01/14   Extended Foster Care Implementation: In the absence of promulgated rules, practitioners can obtain guidance on the Center for Child Welfare website.

DCF is still in the process of promulgating the rules that apply to extended foster care. In the meantime, it has posted several items on a dedicated page. click here.

06/25/13   Florida's Children First issues overview of how 2013 legislative changes will affect Florida's child welfare system and a Quick & Dirty FAQ.

Florida's Independent Living program will undergo substantial changes in the coming year. This overview is intended to help young people and child welfare staff understand what changes are coming and who will be affected. A separate "Quick and Dirty" Frequently Asked Questions document provides initial answers the common concerns. To read the FAQ click here. To read the Overview click here.

06/19/13   Attorney / Client Privelege. 3d DCA held that a child's attorney could not be compelled to disclose the client's whereabouts when that information was provided by the client in a privileged communication

The 3d DCA quashed the trial court's order compelling the attorney for a dependent child to disclose the child's whereabouts. The court found that the existing exceptions to the attorney-client privilege did not apply and that the trial court could not carve out a dependency or "danger to himself exception to the privilege. To read the opinion click here.

05/28/13   The Florida Supreme Court Adopted Amendments to the Rules of Juvenile Procedure Effective July 1, 2013

The new and revised rules adopted pursuant to the 3 year cycle for Juvenile Rules include a number of changes to rules affecting both delinquency and dependency proceedings. This order creates a new rule concerning civil contempt in dependency. It substantially revises provisions on determining parenthood, conducting supplemental findings hearings and how to withdraw as counsel. To read the Amendments click here.

05/01/13   Florida Legislature enacts The Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act which extends foster care to age 21.

If signed by the Governor, Florida will join the ranks of the states who support former foster youth by offering extended care up to age 21 (22 for young adults with disabilities). This bill substantially revises the pre-independent and independent living services that must by offered to children in care and young adults who aged out of care. To read the bill. click here.

04/04/13   A Voice Heard: Building Trust and Hope, the Guardian Ad Litem Program's 2013 Status Report

This report reflects the Guardian Ad Litem Program's findings that "[T]hrough transportation of abused and neglected children . . . Guardian ad Litem volunteers across the State of Florida have strengthened their bonds with dependent children and touched their lives in a way that is priceless and often, profound. The first A Voice Heard report, published in February 2012, presented a call for normalcy through the words of children in the dependency system. The 2012 Florida Legislature heard those voices, and unanimously enacted legislation to permit Guardian ad Litem volunteers to transport children whom they serve. This report documents the results of this action, from the perspective of both the children and the Guardians ad Litem." To read the report. click here.

02/01/13   Judge Hanzman Issues Order Specifying the Procedures to be Followed in Preparing Suitability Assessments for Dependent Children Being Reviewed for State Inpatient Psychiatric Program.

Concerned that youth before him were inappropriately denied mental health services, Judge Hanzman (Miami-Dade) conducted a hearing concerning the process used to obtain the "suitability assessments" that are a pre-requisite to Medicaid coverage of residential treatment. The order reviews the applicable law, then contrasts the SIPP process "in theory" and "in practice." The order then delineates the process that must be followed in the preparation of suitability assessments. To read the Order click here.

01/30/13   GAO Finds That While States Use Flexible Federal Funds, They Still Struggle to Meet Service Needs.

The Government Accounting Office studied how selected states, including Florida, use the flexible funding offered under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act. It looked at how the states use the the funds, what alternative federal funds states use, and what services child welfare agencies have difficulty securing for children. The report notes that child welfare agencies face a variety of challenges that make it difficult for them to secure services. To read the Report click here.

01/28/13   The "Quality Parenting for Children in Foster Care Act" (HB 215) was signed by the Governor on April 11, 2013.

The legislation amends Chapters 39 and 409 to codify the expectation that foster parents and other caregivers operate under a "reasonable and prudent parent" standard when they make day-to-day decisions for children in foster care. Among other things, the bill will empower caregivers to approve or disapprove a child's participation in activities without prior approval and staffings when activities are normal activities. In a separate provision, it will change the standard for reunification to "best interests" when a parent has completed a case plan but the child is residing with the other parent. To read the bill click here.

01/09/13   "Protect Our Kids Act" Creates National Commission to Study and Develop Strategies to End Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths.

H.R. 6655, An Act to Protect our Kids was signed into law on January 9, 2013. The Act creates a new, two-year national commission to develop a comprehensive strategy for reducing child deaths due to abuse and neglect.

01/02/13   Adoptive Parents with Tax Liability will be Eligible for Tax Credits in 2013 and Going Forward.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 made the adoption tax credit permanent. Unfortunately it did not make the adoption credit refundable, so it will only benefit those adoptive families who have federal income tax liability. The North American Council on Adoptable Children recommends that persons who adopted in 2012 submit a Form 8839 with their 2012 taxes even if they do not have tax liability. Although they will not receive an adoption credit refund with their 2012 taxes, the credit can be carried forward up to five additional years. Families might benefit later if either their tax situation changes or the credit is made refundable in the future, and then won't have to amend their 2012 taxes. For more information click here

01/01/13   Children who have been Sexually Exploited are Provided Additional Protections under Florida's new Safe Harbor Law.

Florida's Safe Harbor Law is intended to ensure that victims of sexual exploitation are treated like victims, not criminals, and that they receive appropriate assessment and services. A provision of the Act, newly created Ch. 39.524 requires that dependent children who are victims of sexual exploitation be evaluated for placement in a safe house. Results of a "safe-harbor placement assessment" must be included in judicial reviews.

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