65C-28.018. Meeting the Child's Educational Needs  


Effective on Thursday, February 14, 2019
  • 1(1) Maintaining the child’s school stability (for school-age children) and child care or early education program (for birth to school age) while in out-of-home care is first priority, unless remaining in the school or program of origin is not in the best interest of the child as documented in the Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN). For purposes of this rule, child care and early education programs are collectively referred to as “programs.”

    73(a) T75he child welfare professional will work with the caregiver, child’s parent or guardian, guardian ad litem, child’s attorney, educational surrogate (if appointed), child care and educational staff, including teachers and guidance counselors, and school district representative or foster care liaison or any other party deemed necessary to ensure school stability for the child:

    1281. At the time of placement in out-of-home care; and

    1382. At the time of any subsequent placement changes.

    147(b) Educational settings include any setting set forth in subsection 1571002.20(6), F.S.

    159(c) Child care or early educational settings include any setting set forth in subsections 173402.302(2), 174(8), and (11), and paragraph 17939.604(5)(b), F.S.

    181(d) Factors to be considered in making a determination that remaining in the school or program of origin is not in the child’s best interest shall include, as applicable:

    2101. The child’s desire to remain in the school of origin.

    2212. The preference of the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian.

    2313. Whether the child has a sibling(s), close friends, and/or a mentor at the school 246or program 248of origin.

    2504. The child’s cultural and community connections in the school 260or program 262of origin.

    2645. 265Whether the child is suspected of having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), or has begun receiving interventions under Florida’s multi-tiered system of supports.

    3026. Whether the child has an evaluation pending for special education and related services under IDEA or Section 504.

    3217. Whether the child is a student with a disability under the IDEA who is receiving special education and related services or a student with a disability under Section 504 who is receiving accommodations and services and, if so, the availability of those required services in a school other than the school of origin.

    3758. 376Whether the child is an English Language Learner (ELL) student and is receiving language services, and, if so, the availability of those required services in a school other than the school of origin.

    4099. The impact 412a change would have 416on academic credits 419and progress towards promotion423.

    42410. The availability of extracurricular activities important to the child.

    43411. The child’s known medical and behavioral health needs.

    44312. The child’s permanency goal and timeframe for achieving permanency.

    45313. The child’s history of school or program transfers and how they have impacted the child.

    46914. The length of the commute and how it would impact the child.

    48215. The length of time the child 489has attended the school 493or program 495of origin.

    497(e) The cost of transportation cannot be a factor in making the best interest determination.

    512(f) The child welfare professional shall document and upload in FSFN the best interest determination on the “School Stability Checklist for Children in Out-of-Home Care,” CF-FSP 5417, October 2018, incorporated by reference and available at 548https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-10241550.

    551(g) If remaining in the school of origin is deemed to not be in the child’s best interest, then the change in educational settings should be made at logical junctures, including during school breaks and at the end of a grading period. Once the decision to transfer the child to another educational setting has been made and a logical juncture identified, the child should be immediately enrolled in the new school at the identified time to avoid any absences in attendance.

    632(h) If remaining in the child care or early education program of origin is deemed to not be in the child’s best interest, then the change in programs shall be made in accordance with subsection 66739.604(6), F.S.

    669(2) School Enrollment and Records. When a child enters care or changes schools as the result of a change in placement or any other reason, the child welfare professional responsible for the case shall immediately prepare and submit the necessary paperwork, in accordance with local agreement, to notify the child’s school that the child is in out-of-home care. If the child changes schools, the child welfare professional shall provide the child’s new school with any documentation in the child’s record that is required for enrollment.

    754(3) 755Documentation of the best interest determination to change the child’s school shall be provided by the child welfare professional to the child’s new school.

    779(4) When a child remains in the school of origin, the 790child welfare professional 793shall, in accordance with local agreement, contact the foster care liaison or other designees as identified within the school district for the child’s school of origin to make arrangements for transportation to the school of origin, in accordance with local agreement.

    834(5) Special Education Considerations.

    838(a) When a child has, is suspected of having, or is identified in any assessment of having a disability, the 858child welfare professional 861shall communicate with the child’s parent or legal guardian to determine if they are willing and able to continue to serve as the child’s educational decision maker.

    888(b) If the child’s parent or legal guardian is unwilling or unable to serve as the child’s educational decision maker, the child welfare professional shall determine whether the out-of-home caregiver, excluding child-caring agency staff and therapeutic foster parents, is willing and able to attend the necessary training and to serve as the child’s surrogate parent.

    943(c) If the child’s parent, legal guardian, or out-of-home caregiver is unable to act as the child’s educational decision maker, the child welfare professional shall request the Children’s Legal Services (CLS) attorney seek the appointment of a surrogate parent from the dependency court or the district school superintendent.

    991(6) Documentation. The 994child welfare professional 997shall document in FSFN in the Education module section under the Education tab in the Education Information or Educational History section the following for each child:

    1023(a) Information about the current school, educational setting, child care, or early education program of the child.

    1040(b) All schools, or educational settings, child care, or early education programs the child has attended since the date the child has been in the custody of the Department.

    1069(c) The length of time the child has spent in each school, educational setting, child care, or early education program.

    1089(d) The number of high school credits each child age 14 years or older has earned.

    1105(e) The child’s surrogate parent, if one has been appointed.

    1115(f) The reason for any change in the child’s educational or program setting.

    1128(g) Information regarding the child’s educational or program records shall be uploaded in FSFN in the File Cabinet (Image Category selected is “Education”), which may include:

    11541. Report cards;

    11572. Transcripts;

    11593. Individual Education Plan; and

    11644. A 504 plan.

    1168Rulemaking Authority 117039.012, 117139.0121(13) FS. 1173Law Implemented 117539.0016, 117639.6012(2)(b)4., 117739.604 FS. 1179History–New 5-8-16, Amended 6-15-17, 2-14-19.