Recent News


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.


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05/01/24  Final LGBTQI+ Rule Issued
04/04/24  2024 Legislative Session - It's a Wrap
01/10/24  2024 Legislative Session is Underway.
05/08/23  2023 Legislative Session is a Wrap!
03/01/23  DCF takes back CPI Function from Sheriffs
01/01/23  Efficacy of Independent Living Programs
12/22/22  Homeless & Foster Youth Education
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
01/01/00  2023 Legislative Session
VIEW ALL OTHER NEWS ITEMS(If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here.)
05/01/24   Designated Placement Requirements for LGBTQI+ Children rule goes into effect July 1, 2024

This federal rule requires state agencies to ensure that placements for all children are free from harassment, mistreatment, and abuse. It requires agencies to ensure a Designated Placement is available for all children who identify as LGBTQI+ and specifies the Designated Placement requirements.The rule update To read the new rule click here LGBTQI+ Rule.

04/04/24   Read our summary of legislation that affects children in the child welfare system. What passed and what failed?

Until a bill is shown with an Effective Date it has not been signed. All bills can be accessed on the Florida Senate & House websites. For a quick overview of the bills, click here.

01/10/24   Read our summary of the legislation that affects children in the child welfare system.

All bills can be accessed on the Florida Senate & House websites. For a quick overview of the bills, click here.

05/08/23   Read our Summary of What Passed and What Failed in the 2023 Session.

All bills can be access on the Florida Senate and House websites. For a quick overview of bills, click here.

03/01/23   Secretary Harris announced that the DCF will transition the Child Protective Investigation functions from the 7 counties where the Sheriff handles investigations back to DCF.

To review the letter, click here.

01/01/23   Florida's Office of Program, Policy and Government Analysis (OPPAGA) issued 19 recommendations for improving the Independent Living Services provided to current and former foster youth

OPPAGA reviewed the effectiveness of Florida?s Independent Living (IL) services, by: assessing the implementation of Florida?s redesign of transition services initiated by the 2013 Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act; attempting to define self-sufficiency in regard to education, employment, health, housing, and general well-being; and identified best practices to assess if youth are prepared or on track to achieve self-sufficiency. To view the presentation click here.

12/22/22   Florida's Office of Program, Policy and Government Analysis (OPPAGA) issued a report on Homeless & Foster Youth Services in k-12 and postsecondary education.

OPPAGA reviewed local school districts provision ofservices to homeless students under McKinney Vento and the experience of homeless and former foster youth on college campuses. To view the presentation click here.

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.

04/01/22   A long-awaited update to the federal regulations for immigrant children went into effect on April 8, 2022.

The rule update reflect changes to the law that were enacted in 2008. The rules nw permit young adults to obtain work permits during the pendency of their SIJ application. Additionally the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service revised its policy to automatically revocation of applications based on the marriage of the applicant. To read a summary of changes and the new regulations click here USCIS. To read the updated USCIS Policy Manual click here Manual

03/17/22   IRS Letter affirms that Chafee fund pandemic payments to former foster youth are not taxable.

The IRS opinion letter issued to Representative Danny Davis explains how funds paid to youth under Division X of the Consolidated Appropriations Act are not taxable. To see the opinion click here.

01/22/22   A number of bills filed for the 2022 Session addresses matters of importance to children and families.

All bills can be access on the Florida Senate and House websites. For a quick overview of bills that might be of interest, click here.

01/10/22   The National Association of Counsel for Children updated its Recommendations for Legal Representation of Children and Youth in Neglect and Abuse Proceedings.

The Recommendations detail the 10 primary duties of attorneys for children in neglect and abuse proceedings. They call upon attorneys and legal service delivery systems to anchor legal representation around the voice and interests of youth they represent. click here.

08/25/21   DCF finally releases federal funds intended to help current and former foster youth in the pandemic.

Florida received over $20 million in federal funds to support young people during the pandemic in February, 2021. In late August, 2021 it issued a directive for distributing those funds. There are two application forms, the Incentive Form. and the Assistance Form. To see the formal guidance document click here. The memo conveying the information is here. For more details, you can view additional information in chart form here.

05/05/21   The 2021 Legislative Session ended on April 30th. Many bills were filed, only a handful survived.

Senate Bills 80 and 96 are comprehensive bills with numerous provisions that affect child welfare. All bills can be access on the Florida Senate and House websites. For a quick overview of what happened to bills of interest, click here. For more details, you can view Florida's Children First's presentation on bills of interest click here.

03/02/21   The December 2020 federal stimulus package provided Florida with nearly $20 million to support young people during the pandemic. It also placed a moratorium on exits from care due to age.

In late February, 2021 Florida received nearly $20 million in federal funds to support older youth in care and foster foster youth. The same law also prohibited states from requiring young adults to leave foster care due to age. To see the detailed federal guidance, click here. For an overview of the federal provisions, click here.

03/02/21   A number of bills filed for the 2021 Session addresses matters of importance to children and families.

All bills can be access on the Florida Senate and House websites. For a quick overview of bills that might be of interest, click here.

03/01/21   Children's Bureau issues memoranda urging states to support multidisciplinary dependency representation and use of civil legal advocacy as a prevention service.

Continuing its efforts to promote the importance of high quality representation in child welfare cases, the Children's Bureau issued two new memos on the subject. The first emphasizes the value of of civil legal advocacy as a prevention tool, identifies funding sources and highlights approaches. It can be viewed by clicking here. The second memo addresses several aspects of high quality representation including the use of multidisciplinary teams, maximization of federal funds and the significance of high quality representation in federal review of state performance. It can be viewed by clicking here.

10/01/20   The Parent Guidelines for Practice join prior publications of Guidelines for attorneys who represent Children in Dependency and Delinquency cases.

These Florida-specific guidelines are based on the ABA Model Standards of Practice. They were revised by Florida dependency attorneys approved by The Florida Bar Standing Committee on the Legal Needs of Children. They are solely intended to assist practitioners and are advisory and not binding. To see or download the Parent Guidelines clicking here.

09/08/20   DCF launches, a resource hub to connect families in need with local resources.

The My Florida My Family allows families, and those who are helping them, identify community resources to meet their needs. It also offers a platform for local organizations to volunteer goods and services. To read the press release, click here. to go to the site MyFloridaMyFamily.

09/08/20   ICMY - DCF-CLS's 2020 Developments in Dependency Case & Statutory Law from the Child Protection Summit.

If you weren't able to catch up on case law with Stephanie Zimmerman and Andrew Feigenbaum at the DCF Virtual Child Protection Summit, you can view the Case Law Guide by clicking here. For the presentation slides click here.

07/22/20   Children's Bureau issues Technical Bulletin to Answer Frequently Asked Questions on Independent Legal Representation for Parents and Children in and facing Dependency Proceedings.

This is the first comprehensive guidance from the federal government concerning federal reimbursement for legal representation provided to parents and children in dependency proceedings. click here.

07/22/20   2021 Report on State Models of Children Legal Representation issued by the The National Association of Counsel for Children.

The NACC tracks the changing landscape of children?s legal representation around the country. This draft reflects current state models of representation based on statute or practice. The graphic shows which states guarantee appointment of counsel for all children. The chart which follows provides citations and highlights variations within and across states. To read the report click here.

07/01/20   Summary of Florida's Key Child Welfare Legislation passed in 2020

To see Florida's Children First's summary of legislation click here. For the DCF-CLS's 2020 Legislative Guide click here.

04/21/20   Summary of Florida's Key Child Welfare Legislation passed in 2020 provided by Florida's Children First at the end of session.

Click click here.

04/21/20   Florida Youth SHINE and Florida's Children First have issued a series of tip sheets responsive to the concerns expressed by young people.

Tip sheets address issues such as Stimulus Payments, Reemployment Assistance, and include a document with community resources that is curated by Florida Youth SHINE with Vita Nova. The COVID-19 Resources are available here.

04/09/20   The Dependency Attorney Document Vault has a COVID-19 file where attorneys can share sample motions, tip sheets and other useful documents.

From the main menu bar, click on Communication Tools, then select Document Vaults. From the Document Vault Page, select Dependency Attorney Document Vault. The most recent documents appear at the top of the list. Users are encouraged to add their own documents. Please redact prior to submission.

03/31/20   Children's Bureau issues guidance concerning the conduct of dependency proceedings and provision of services and treatment during the crisis.

Assoc. Commissioner Milner issued guidance to Child Welfare and Judicial Leaders. It asserts that the conduct of mandatory hearings are critical to the health, safety and well-being of children removed from home. Moreover, it states that justice requires that parents and children be able to stay in frequent communication with their attorneys and participate in their proceedings. The guidance lists specific practices that it urges courts and attorneys to follow. It then follows with a more detailed list of recommendations regarding visitation and provision of services. You can read the memo click here. Additional memos issued in April: 4/15 on Flexibility re Fingerprinting and Caseworker visit Requirements click here. 4/17 on Financing Cell Phones and PPE click here. 4/17 on Child Welfare staff as level 1 Emergency Respondersclick here.

01/21/20   The Florida Legislature is considering many bills that impact child welfare and families at risk of entering the child welfare system.

This brief summary of key bills is intended to whet your appetite. The Florida House and Senate have bill tracking tools that allow you to read the bills and receive notice of bill actions. You can read the summary click here.

01/21/20   Report takes a close look at the Hillsborough Children who refused placement and questions the premise that Florida needs a law law permitting the state to lock up dependent youth.

The University Miami Children and Youth Law Clinic undertook a detailed study of the children who refused placement in Hillsborough County. It also compared those children to their child welfare peers, and those who also experienced extreme placement instability. You can view the graphic summary click here. and the whole report click here. and view the blog post with additional documents at RobertLathamEsq.

12/10/19   DCF Revised its Medicaid Eligibility Policy to expand coverage for parents after their children are removed from home

As of September 19, 2019 parents whose children are removed from home may continue to receive Medicaid, or may apply for and obtain Medicaid if eligible, so long as the case plan goal is reunification. The previous policy required parents to lose Medicaid after the last child was removed from the home and children were expected to be out of the home for 30 days or longer. You can read the memo click here.

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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.