This rule outlines the procedures that the Department and contracted agencies will use in performing licensing of Foster Homes and Child Placing Agencies.  

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    DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES
    Family Safety and Preservation Program

    RULE NO: RULE TITLE
    65C-15.001: Definitions
    65C-15.002: Licensed Child-Placing Agencies
    65C-15.003: Application and Licensing Study
    65C-15.0035: License Renewal
    65C-15.004: On-Site Visits and Complaint Investigation
    65C-15.005: Disclosure
    65C-15.006: Statement of Purpose
    65C-15.010: Finances
    65C-15.011: Changes in Agency Function or Purpose
    65C-15.012: Notification of Critical Injury, Illness or Death
    65C-15.013: Right to Privacy
    65C-15.014: Office Equipment and Transportation
    65C-15.015: Policies and Practices
    65C-15.016: Staff Functions and Qualifications
    65C-15.017: Personnel
    65C-15.018: Staff Development
    65C-15.019: Volunteers
    65C-15.020: Intake Procedures and Practices for Children in Foster Care and Residential Care
    65C-15.021: Placement Services to Families and Children in Foster Care and Residential Care
    65C-15.022: Agency Services to Children in Foster Care
    65C-15.023: Foster Home Licensing
    65C-15.024: Foster Home Studies
    65C-15.025: Monitoring and Annual Licensing Study
    65C-15.026: Recommendations to Revoke a Family Foster Home License
    65C-15.027: The Agency's Responsibilities to Foster Parents
    65C-15.028: Adoptive Home Study
    65C-15.029: Services to Adoptive Parents
    65C-15.030: Case Records
    65C-15.031: Child's Case Records
    65C-15.032: Family Case Record
    65C-15.033: Family Foster Home Records
    65C-15.034: Adoptive Home Records
    65C-15.035: Agency Closure
    65C-15.036: Intercountry Adoption Services
    65C-15.037: Interstate Adoptions
    65C-15.038: Specific Rules for Lead Agencies and Contracted Providers
    PURPOSE AND EFFECT: This rule outlines the procedures that the Department and contracted agencies will use in performing licensing of Foster Homes and Child Placing Agencies.
    SUMMARY: Licensing.
    SUMMARY OF ESTIMATED REGULATORY COSTS: No Statement of Estimated Regulatory Cost was prepared.
    Any person who wishes to provide information regarding a statement of estimated regulatory costs, or provide a proposal for a lower cost regulatory alternative must do so in writing within 21 days of this notice.
    SPECIFIC AUTHORITY: 39.0121, 409.175(5)(a) FS.
    LAW IMPLEMENTED: 39.402, 409.145, 409.165, 409.175, 435.04, 435.07 FS.

    A HEARING WILL BE HELD AT THE DATE, TIME AND PLACE SHOWN BELOW:

    DATE AND TIME: January 4, 2007, 9:00 a.m.

    PLACE: Building 6, Room 164, 1317 Winewood Blvd., Tallahassee, FL

    THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULES IS: Chris Lolley, (850)921-1928, Building 6, 1317 Winewood Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399

     

    THE FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULES IS:

    (Substantial rewording of Rule 65C-15.001 follows. See Florida Administrative Code for present text.)

    65C-15.001 Definitions.

    All definitions for the Licensed Child-Placing Agencies Rule 65C-15 are located in Rule 65C-30.001, F.A.C.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, 9-14-94, Formerly 10M-24.003, Amended__________.

     

    65C-15.002 Licensed Child-Placing Agencies.

    (1) Anyll persons, corporation, or and agencyies, public or private, other than the parent or legal guardian of the child or an except for intermediaryies acting pursuant to defined in Chapter 63.032, F.S., who wishes to provide placement services or arrange for the placement of a child in a family foster home, residential child caring agency, or approved adoptive home, engage in the placement or adoption of children, as defined in subsection 65C-15.001(2), F.A.C., must be licensed by the department. This subsection does not apply to stepparent adoptions or placements with relatives within the third degree of relationship.

    (2) No county, city or political subdivision shall operate a child-placing agency, or engage in any adoption process unless licensed by the department as a child-placing agency.

    (3) The department or a licensed child-placing agency may place a 16- or 17-year-old child in his own unlicensed residence, or the unlicensed residence of an adult who has no supervisory responsibility over the child for the purpose of independent living. However, the department or licensed agency must retain supervisory responsibility. The agency shall apply the criteria listed in Section 39.6241, F.S., to determine if another planned permanent living arrangement is appropriate. The department or licensed agency shall determine eligibility and provide services for children age 13 and over according to Section 409.1451, F.S. use the following criteria to determine if independent living is an appropriate plan:

    (a) The child must be at least 16 years of age;

    (b) The child must have demonstrated ability to handle independence;

    (c) The child must have a signed performance agreement or permanent placement plan which has been submitted to the court stating the goal of independent living and specifying the responsibilities, tasks, and expectations of all parties; and

    (d) The plan must have the approval of the court, if the court has jurisdiction.

    (4) Within 90 days of the agency taking a child into care for the purpose of adoption, the agency shall file a petition for termination of parental rights or for temporary custody.

    (5) At Risk Placements: The department and all licensed agencies shall be required to have an at risk placement document signed by the prospective adoptive parent or parents prior to placement of a child in their home, if the agency does not have a court order documenting termination of parental rights of the child being placed for adoption.

    (6) At Risk Placement Documents. The At Risk Placement Document shall contain a statement that the department or agency does not have commitment of the child for the purpose of adoption and the reason for it, that proceedings have been started to obtain commitment, that the agency will notify the adoptive family, in writing, of the court’s decision and that the child may be removed from the home. The adoptive parents must agree to returning the child to the agency.

    (4)(7) Agencies shall keep, at all times, a sufficient number of licensed foster homes, other than the prospective adoptive homes, which shall be used when the agency has received custody of a child and the child has not been placed in an adoptive placement.

    (8) If an agency pays, directly or indirectly, for a female who is pregnant to come to Florida for the purpose of placing the child, when born, for adoption with the agency then the agency shall be responsible for returning the female to the state of origin if she wishes to return immediately after she is able to travel. If the mother decides not to place the child with the agency for adoption then the agency shall be responsible for returning the mother and child to the state of origin, if the mother wishes to return, immediately after the baby is ready to travel.

    (5)(9) Child-placing agencies shall comply with Chapter 63 and Section 409.175, F.S., which is hereby incorporated by reference.

    (6)(10) The department agrees to provide licensed child-placing agencies with changes to state policy rules and laws which affects their operation as set forth in these rules within 30 days of implementation.

    (7) The agency shall have a written statement of its child-placing philosophy, the purpose of the agency, a description of the licensed out-of-home care and adoption services the agency provides and the methods of service delivery it employs, including the methods that shall be used to publicize the availability of these services.

    Specific Authority 63.202, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175, 409.165 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.004, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.003 Application and Licensing Study.

    (1) Application for an child placing agency license shall be made on CF-FSP HRS-CYF Form 5135 October 96 June 86, available from the department, and which is hereby incorporated into these rules by reference. Form 5135 is available upon request from any Department of Children and Families HRS district, zone, or regional headquarters offices, see Rule 10M-24.0001, F.A.C., for information. The application shall be signed by the prospective owner or operator who will be exercising authority over the operation, policies and practices of the agency. All information requested in the application form and thise rule must be submitted as part of the application packet, which shall include but not be limited to the following;

    (a) A description of the services the agency will provide;

    (b) Proposed geographical area to be served;

    1. For lead agencies and sub-contracted agencies, the area specified in the agency’s contract with the department;

    2. For non-contracted agencies, as defined by cities, counties, etc.

    (c) Projected fees and costs for services, how fees are collected and refunds given, if applicable, including any and all contracts and subcontracts;

    (d) Name of Agency and location of office; including city, state, street address, mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, fax number, hours of operation and emergency contact numbers;

    (e) Separate application for each proposed satellite or branch office; and

    (f) The names and addresses of all officers and owners. Each agency shall have an office and professional staff permanently housed within the state.

    (g) An initial budget reflecting available capital for six months of operation.

    1. For contracted agencies, this budget is based on contract negotiations with the department.

    2. For non-contracted agencies, this budget must reflect the availability of liquid assets to support the initial six months of operation.

    (2) The department shall have ten days from receipt of an application packet to determine whether the application packet is complete and request any missing information, and 30 days from receipt of a complete packet to grant or deny the application. The decision to issue, deny or revoke an application for licensure rests with the District or Regional Administrator or designee.

    (3) If an agency was previously licensed in another state or outside the district or region in which it is seeking licensure, the department shall make a written request to the other state, district, or region requesting verification that the agency is in good standing and has met that jurisdiction’s licensing requirements.

    (4)(2) Upon determination that the applicant meets the state licensing requirements, the department shall issue a license to a specific agency, at a specific location. If the department determines that the agency should not be licensed, it shall notify the applicant within two days of the determination, identifying the reasons for denial, the statutory authority and notifying the applicant of their right to appeal, pursuant to Chapter 120, F.S.

    (5)(3) When a child-placing agency ceases to provide adoption services to children or families during the period for which the license is issued, they shall notify the department, in writing, 30 days prior to the cessation of the agency service and shall return the license to the department.

    (6)(4) A licensed agency may operate a branch or satellite offices without separate licenses for those offices. However, each branch or satellite office must be disclosed in the application for license by submitting a copy of CF-FSP HRS Form 5135 for each office. If the agency opens a branch or satellite office during the licensed term, the agency shall file a CF-FSP HRS Form 5135 not less than 10 days prior to the opening of the new office.

    (7)(5) The license shall be issued for a child-placing agency at a specific address and for operation by specific individuals or agencies. It shall automatically become invalid if the facility is operated at another address or under different ownership. Agencies planning to relocate shall notify the department licensing authority 30 days in advance of the anticipated move. The license shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance unless suspended, revoked, or voluntarily returned. All licenses shall expire automatically one year from the date of issuance. The license shall be the property of the department and shall be returned to the department if revoked.

    (8)(6) The license must be conspicuously displayed at all times in the facility. Each branch or satellite office shall have a copy of the main office license conspicuously displayed and a statement showing it is a branch or satellite office.

    (9) Satellite and branch offices of licensed child-placing agencies shall be required to be separately licensed if:

    (a) The daily supervision of the case work staff is provided on site; and

    (b) The office maintains central client records and central personnel files on premises.

    (10)(7) The department shall authorize a licensed child-placing agency to conduct the licensing study of a family foster home to be used exclusively by that agency and to verify to the department that the home meets the licensing requirements established by the department. Upon certification by an authorized licensed child-placing agency that a family foster home meets the licensing requirements, the department shall issue the license.

    (11)(8) The department shall withhold authorization for self-study of foster homes from an agency or shall withdraw authorization if the quality of studies being completed or the completeness of the agency’s files do not show that the agency’s foster parents meet the licensing requirements established by the department. The decision of the department regarding withdrawal may be contested in the hearing procedure set forth in Chapter 120, F.S.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.005, Amended _______.

     

    65C-15.0035 License Renewal.

    (1) Requests for renewal should be received by the department, no later than 45 days prior to the expiration date on the existing license.

    (2) Licenses shall be considered for annual renewal if the following supporting documentation is submitted to the zone/district/region Department of Children & Families licensing office:

    (a) An application with written request for renewal;

    (b) The agency’s revised annual budget;

    (c) A written assurance of compliance with the screeening requirements in subsections 65C-15.016(2)-(5), F.A.C.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New________.

     

    65C-15.004 On-Site Visits and Complaint Investigation.

    (1) Licensing staff of the department may make scheduled or unannounced visits to a licensed home, facility or agency at any reasonable time to investigate and evaluate compliance with the licensing requirements. All agencies shall be inspected at least annually.

    (2) The department shall investigate complaints to determine if the agency is meeting the licensure requirements in accordance with Section 409.175(8)(b), F.S.

    (3) The department shall advise the owner and operator with authority over the licensed agency that there is a licensing complaint when initiating an investigation and shall advise the agency of the results of the investigation when concluded.

    (4) Whenever the department receives a report questioning the certification status or compliance of a child-placing agency with requirements of the state adoption law or alleging violations of this chapter by the agency, the department shall investigate the allegation within 20 working days to determine whether the complaint is substantiated.

    (5) If violations are found that pose an imminent threat to the safety or well-being of children being served, the agency shall work in cooperation with the department in developing a corrective action plan, acceptable to both parties, to immediately ameliorate the threat posed.

    (6) If violations are found that do not pose an imminent threat to the safety or well-being of children being served, the agency shall work in cooperation with the department to develop a corrective action plan listing time frames for completion of the required changes to be made.

    (7)(5) The department shall notify the complainant and the agency in writing of the results of the complaint investigation within 15 working days after the report of the department’s investigation has been finalized.

    (8)(6) The agency shall fully cooperate with the department whenever such complaint investigations are conducted.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.009, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.005 Disclosure.

    The agency shall notify the local licensing office of the department in writing within seven days if:

    (1) Any civil or criminal action is commenced in any jurisdiction against any director, officer, employee or agent of the agency, where the civil or criminal action relates to or affects the licensed child-placing activity of the agency; or

    (2) Any action is commenced in any jurisdiction to revoke or suspend a license held by the agency; or

    (3) Any employee in a position of trust or responsibility is convicted of any disqualifying offense outlined in Section 435.04, F.S.; or

    (4) Any employee is found to be in non-compliance with the Affidavit of Good Moral Character; CF Form 1649 incorporated by reference.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175, 435.04 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.014, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.006 Statement of Purpose.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.015, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.010 Finances.

    (1) Funding: Agencies beginning operation shall have the capital necessary for a six-month period of operation. For those agencies contracting with the department, the necessary capital will be based on contract negotiations with the department.

    (2) Budget: The agency shall prepare a written budget annually.

    (3) Audit: The agency shall have its financial records audited annually by an independent certified public accountant. A report of this audit shall be available to the department at the licensed location during normal business hours, no later than 180 days from the end of the agency’s fiscal year.

    (a) If the agency is not for profit, and expends $500,000 or more in Federal award during its fiscal year, the audit shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-133.

    (b) If the agency is a non-state entity defined by Section 215.97(2), F.S., and expends $500,000 or more in state financial assistance during its fiscal year, the audit must be conducted in accordance with Section 215.97, F.S.; applicable rules of the Department of Financial Services; and Chapters 10.650, Rules of the Auditor General.

    (4) Allocations: The agency shall develop a cost allocation plan in accordance with 45 CFR Part 95 and submit it to the department’s contract oversight unit for approval by the end of each state fiscal year.

    (5)(4) Fees and Costs.

    (a) If fees for adoption and licensed out-of-home foster care services are charged, the agency shall have a fee schedule disclosing all fees for services in a written policy which describes the conditions under which fees are charged, waived, or refunds made, if applicable. A copy of the fee schedule shall be filed with the department at the time of application. Agency adoption fees must be waived for families adopting children who are in the custody of the department for whom subsidies will be paid. This schedule shall clearly list the specific services covered by this fee. This fee schedule shall be given to all persons making application for adoption services. A fee agreement and any modifications to it shall be executed with each applicant, which lists the fees charged and the services to be provided, including provisions for payment, the waiver of fees and refunds if applicable. Any reduction or increase in the agency’s fee schedule shall be filed with the department 15 days after going into effect.

    (b) Adoption fees for non-contracted agencies shall be established based on the reasonable costs of the following services for the total adoption program:

    1. Medical services for the child and the birth mother;

    2. Legal services;

    3. Counseling services;

    4. Homestudy services;

    5. Living expense for the birth mother;

    6. Licensed out-of-home Foster care services;

    7. Pre and post placement social services;

    8. Contracted services, if applicable; and

    9. Other necessary services; and

    10. Agency facilities and administrative costs.

    (6)(5) Where payments are made to foster parents:

    (a) The agency shall have a written payment schedule and statement on payment procedures; and

    (b) The agency shall provide foster parents with advance written notification of changes in the schedule.

    (7)(6) The agency shall not require or coerce applicants, adoptive parents or their representatives to provide gratuities such as money or other things of value or services beyond the established fee.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.019, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.011 Changes in Agency Function or Purpose.

    (1) The agency shall provide written notification to the department within 30 days after implementation to the department of changes in the agencys director, statement of purpose, services to be provided, clientele to be served, intake procedures or admission criteria.

    (2) If the changes in the agency’s policies and procedures represents a major departure from the original policies submitted in writing to the department for the agency’s operation, the agency shall submit to the department their new operating policies and procedures 10 days prior to implementation.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.020, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.012 Notification of Critical Injury, Illness or Death.

    In the event of the critical injury, critical illness or death of a child, the agency providing only adoption services shall notify the department within 24 hours. The child’s parents or legal guardian shall be notified within 24 hours unless parental rights have been terminated. A lead agency and it’s contracted agencies shall comply with the department’s procedures on Incident Reporting and Client Risk Prevention.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.021, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.013 Right to Privacy.

    The privacy of the child and his natural or prospective parents shall be protected. The agency shall ensure that any public appearances by the children in care, involving publicity or fund raising are voluntary and the written consent of the child’s legal parent unless parental rights have been terminated or legal guardian is on file.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175, 617.026 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.023, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.014 Office Equipment and Transportation.

    (1) The agency shall maintain furnishings and equipment in good working condition for the operation of the office.

    (2) The agency shall assist clients in arranging transportation necessary for implementing the child’s case plan. Vehicles used by staff to transport children shall be maintained and operated in safe condition, and in conformity with appropriate motor vehicle laws.

    (3) The number of persons in a vehicle used to transport children shall not exceed the number of available seats; children shall be restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device when being transported in motor vehicles in accordance with Sections 316.613 and 316.2004, F.S.

    (4) The agency shall make its services accessible to the population it has designated it will serve. The agency shall comply with Chapter 553, Sections 553.501 553.45 through 553.513 553.495, F.S., for accessibility of their service to handicapped persons.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 316.613, 316.2004, 409.175 FS., Chapter 553, Sections 553.501, 553.513 553.45-553.495 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.024, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.015 Personnel Policies and Practices.

    (1) The agency shall have written personnel policies and procedures for recruitment, retention, and effective performance of qualified personnel.

    (2) These policies shall include; for example:

    (a) Job descriptions and titles for each position defining the qualifications, duties and lines of authority;

    (b) Salary scales;

    (c) A description of employee benefits;

    (d) Provisions which will encourage professional growth through supervision, orientation, in-service training, and staff development;

    (e) Procedures for annual evaluation of the work and performance of each staff member; and

    (f) Procedures governing payment of bonuses or other extraordinary compensation to employees or contract providers of the agency.

    (g) Conditions and procedures for layoffs or the reduction of staff.

    (h) The agency’s disciplinary policy, grievance and appeal procedures;

    (i) Insurance protections including unemployment, disability, medical care; and

    (j) Use of the agency’s premises, motor vehicles, and/or other equipment as appropriate.

    (3) The agency shall have procedures for handling any suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect which include;

    (a) The agency shall require each staff member to read and sign a statement reflecting the requirements of Section 39.201, F.S., within thirty days of hire date.

    (b) All suspected cases of child abuse and neglect shall immediately be reported to the department’s Florida Abuse Hotline in accordance with Chapter 39, F.S.

    (c) A provision shall be made for reporting and recording any suspected incident of abuse or neglect of children to the director of the agency.

    (d) There shall be provisions for immediate protection of the victim and prevention of a recurrence of the alleged incident pending investigation.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.025, Amended _________.

     

    65C-15.016 Staff Functions and Qualifications.

    (1) The agency shall have available on site the educational qualifications of employees to verify that they meet the standards set forth in Rule 65C-15.017, F.A.C.

    (2) The agency shall have a personnel file for each employee, available for review by the department which shall include, but is not limited to the following:

    (1)(a) The application for employment;

    (2)(b) Verification that the initial screening requirements of Sections 409.175 and 435.05, F.S., and Chapter 10-20, F.A.C., have been completed and met;

    (3) Verification of annual criminal records checks; conducted every twelve months from initial hire date through a local law enforcement agency;

    (4) Verification of annual criminal records checks; conducted every twelve months from initial hire date through a local law enforcement agency.

    (5) Verification of re-screenings through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement every five years following initial hire date for all staff;

    (6) Job descriptions;

    (7) Reference verification, minimum of three personal or professional;

    (8) Signed Affidavit of Good Moral Character;

    (9) Attestation of child abuse reporting responsibilities;

    (10)(c) Employee’s starting and termination dates and reason for termination;

    (11)(d) Annual performance evaluations and any disciplinary actions taken;

    (12)(e) Copy of diploma or degree; and

    (13)(f) Training record and conferences attended.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.026, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.017 Personnel.

    (1) The agency director shall be responsible for the general management and administration of the agency in accordance with Chapter 63 and Section 409.175, F.S., and this rule the licensing requirements and the policies of the governing body. The director shall have a master’s degree in social work or a related area of study from an accredited college or university and at least two years’ experience in human services or child welfare programs. A bachelor’s degree in social work or a related area of study from an accredited college or university and four years of experience in human services or child welfare programs may be substituted. A doctorate degree in social work or a related area of study may be substituted for one year of the required experience. Agency directors continuously employed before the effective date this rule becomes law will be considered to have met these educational requirements.

    (2) Agency staff responsible for supervision of staff performing child protection/child welfare services as defined in subsection 65C-30.001(21), F.A.C., shall have a bachelor’s master’s degree in social work or a related area of study from an accredited college or university and at least two years of experience in human services or child welfare programs. A bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited college or university or related area of study and four years of experience in human services or child welfare programs may be substituted. A doctorate in social work or a related area of study may be substituted for one year of the required experience.

    (3) Agency staff responsible for performing child protection/child welfare casework services, training or licensing functions shall have a bachelor’s degree in social work or related area of study or a master’s degree in social work or a related area of study from an accredited college or university.

    (4) Staff members may be exempted from the above educational requirements if they met the educational requirements of Chapter 65C-15 10C-15, F.A.C., at the time of employment and their initial date of employment predates the effective date of this rule.

    (5) No person who has served as a board member, executive director or other officer of an agency that has failed to secure a license to operate as a child-placing agency shall be employed by or associated with a licensed child-placing agency for a period of two years after termination or cessation of that illegal operation. No person, executive director, or other officer of an agency which continued in operation after having knowledge of the revocation or suspension of the agency’s license shall be employed by or associated with a licensed agency for a period of two years from cessation of the illegal operation. The department will waive this provision if it is shown that the person had no knowledge or had no reason to know the operation was illegal. Such a waiver must take place before the employee is hired or a request for a waiver shall be submitted to the department within 30 days after it is discovered that an ineligible person has been employed.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.027, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.018 Staff Development.

    (1) The agency shall have a written plan for the orientation, ongoing training and development of all staff.

    (2) The agency shall ensure that the child protection/child welfare supervisory, training and licensing social work staff receive at least 15 hours of in-service training during each full year of employment. Activities related to supervision of the staff member’s routine tasks shall not be considered training activities for the purpose of this requirement.

    Specific Authority 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.028, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.019 Volunteers.

    (1) Volunteers who work directly with children without direct and constant supervision must be screened in the same manner as the employees of the agency. A volunteer who assists on an intermittent basis for less than 40 hours per month need not be screened as long as they are under direct and constant supervision by persons who have been screened in accordance with Sections 409.175 and 435.04, F.S., Chapter 10-20, F.A.C.

    (2) An agency which utilizes volunteers to work directly with children or their families shall:

    (a) Develop a description of duties and specific responsibilities;

    (b) Develop a plan for the orientation and training in the philosophy of the agency, the needs of the children in care and the needs of their families, the importance of preserving and protecting the rights of children in care, their responsibility to report child abuse and neglect and the importance of confidentiality; and

    (c) Provide a protocol describing for how volunteers will participate in carrying out the case service plans for children and families with whom they are working.

    (3) Volunteers who assume responsibilities of paid staff members must meet the educational and experiential requirements of the position for which they are volunteering.

    (4) Agencies utilizing volunteers to provide direct services to clients shall must keep adequate records to reflect the hours and activities of the volunteers.

    (5) An agency which accepts students for field placement shall:

    (a) Develop a written plan describing their students’ tasks and functions. Copies of the plan shall be provided to each student and to his or her school;

    (b) Designate a professional staff member to supervise and evaluate the students;

    (c) Develop a plan for orientation and training in the philosophy of the agency, the needs of the clients served by the agency, the importance of confidentiality, and the preservation and protection of the rights of children including the reporting of any alleged child abuse;

    (d) Provide for participation in developing and carrying out the case plans for the children and families they are working with;

    (e) Assure that students are not expected to assume the total responsibilities of any paid staff member; and

    (f) Students who work directly with children without direct and constant supervision for periods of more than 40 hours in any given month must be screened in the same manner as the employees of the agency. A student who assists on an intermittent basis for less than 40 hours per month need not be screened as long as they are under direct and constant supervision by persons who have been screened in accordance with Sections 409.175 and 435.04, F.S., Chapter 10-20, F.A.C.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.029, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.020 Non-Contracted Agency Intake Procedures and Practices for Children in Foster Licensed Out-of-Home Care and Residential Care.

    (1) At the time the agency receives a referral or application for licensed out-of-home foster care or residential care, the agency shall assess the needs and strengths of the child’s family and document these in the case record.

    (2) A written intake study shall include, but not be limited to the following:

    (a) The identification of the specific needs of the child and family which warrant consideration of removal and placement of the child;

    (b) The family’s strengths;

    (c) If appropriate, the degree of involvement of the child’s parents and significant others in the child’s care;

    (d) The available resources;

    (e) The stated goals for the family;

    (f) The available social and medical history of the child and his family members;

    (g) The child’s legal status;

    (h) A description of the child’s emotional reaction to and understanding of the need for placement; and

    (i) Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the parents, siblings, relatives or others affected by the plan.

    (3) In court ordered placements, where a child is not voluntarily placed by the parents or legal guardian, the agency shall comply with the requirements set forth in Chapter 39, F.S., Part V.

    (4) In cases where the placement is voluntarily made by the parents or legal guardian, if one has been appointed, the agency shall secure written authority for placement prior to accepting a child into care. The agency shall also comply with Chapter 39, F.S., Part V, as it relates to voluntary placements.

    (5) Except in emergency circumstances, the agency shall obtain a written consent from the parents or legal guardian, if one has been appointed, or the court, to provide routine medical care for a child accepted into care. If medical consent cannot be obtained at the time of placement, it must be obtained within 72 hours of the child’s entry into care.

    (6) Medical treatment for children whose parental rights have not been terminated shall be obtained pursuant to subsection 65C-28.003(7), F.A.C. procedures which are not considered part of routine medical care must be specifically authorized by the parent of the child, the legal guardian, if one has been appointed, or a court of competent jurisdiction unless the situation is so urgent as to make the delay required to secure authorization potentially dangerous to the health and safety of the child. In cases where parental rights have been terminated and the child has been committed to an agency for placement in an adoptive home, the agency may consent for medical care without a court order except for abortion or permanent sterilization of the child.

    Specific Authority 39, 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 39, 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.031, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.021 Placement Services to Families and Children in Licensed Out-of-Home Foster Care and Residential Care.

    (1) This section does not apply to parents whose rights have been terminated by the courts or to parents who have signed voluntary surrenders for purposes of adoption or the children cared for in foster care while awaiting placement for adoption.

    (2) In accordance with Chapter 39, F.S., and Chapters 65C-13, 65C-28 and 65C-30, F.A.C.; and pursuant to Sections 409.1671 and 409.175, F.S., a child-placing agency shall place a child entrusted in its care in a fully licensed placement or adoptive home; supervise the care of the child; and coordinate the planning and services to the child and his family.

    (3) Should the parents or child require services not offered by the agency, a referral shall be made by the agency to the appropriate available community service. Arrangements shall be made by the referring agency to maintain communication with the second service provider and progress and lack of progress made as a result of the alternate services shall be documented in the case file.

    (4)(2) When two agencies share responsibility for service to a child or a family, there shall be a clear delineation of responsibility for each service to be provided and both agencies must assure that service gaps do not occur as a result of shared planning. Case Service plans in shared cases must be in writing and must be approved by both services providers. The following services shall be provided to the child’s parents:

    (a) The agency shall make reasonable efforts to prepare the child’s parent or parents to resume their parental roles and responsibilities unless this is contraindicated by the case plan;

    (b) The agency shall help the family gain access to the services necessary to preserve and strengthen the family and accomplish the goals of the case plan;

    (c) The agency shall assist the family to assess the problems which brought about the need for placement;

    (d) Children in the care of the department or in the care of a duly licensed child-placing agency are subject to the requirements of Chapter 39, F.S., Part V, as applicable; and

    (e) The agency shall have a written performance agreement, signed by the parents, or a case plan which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

    1. The responsibilities of the agency and the parent for carrying out the steps to meet the goals of the case plan;

    2. The financial arrangements between the agency and the parents for the support of the child while in care; and

    3. The arrangement for visitation between the child and his parents.

    (f) If the case plan for the child is adoption, a properly signed and witnessed surrender and consent for adoption form shall eliminate the requirement for a performance agreement with the parent of the child.

    (3) Selection of Care.

    (a) The agency shall select the most appropriate service for the child, consistent with the child’s and family’s need.

    (b) If foster care or residential care are the plan of choice, the agency shall arrange or assist in the arrangement for any specialized services the child or his family may need in order to remedy the problems which brought them to the agency.

    (c) The agency shall make a reasonable effort to select a placement for the child that is as home-like as possible and which is as close as possible to the home of the child’s parent so that visitation between the child and his parents is possible.

    (d) An agency, when selecting care, shall take into consideration a child’s racial, cultural, ethnic, religious heritage and sibling relationships and shall preserve them to the extent possible without jeopardizing the child’s right to care or to a permanent family.

    (e) The agency shall select the placement which will most effectively achieve the goals of the case plan.

    (f) Parents shall be involved in the placement selection and the service plan consistent with the best interests of the child.

    (g) When the case plan for a child is foster care, the agency shall only place the child in a licensed foster home.

    (4) Preplacement Preparation.

    (a) The agency social worker should help the child understand the reasons for placement and prepare him for the new environment to the extent of each child’s capacity to participate and understand. The caseworker shall plan and participate in at least one preplacement visit except in cases of emergency placement and shall be available to the child, the child’s parents or the foster family for supportive services.

    (b) The agency shall arrange for a medical examination for each child within a week of their placement into care unless the child has received a medical examination within 30 days prior to admission and the report has been provided to the agency.

    (c) The agency shall obtain developmental information and shall preserve this information on each child.

    (d) The agency shall arrange for an examination by a dentist for each child three years of age or older within 90 days of placement unless the child has been examined within six months prior to placement with the agency and results of the examination have been provided to the agency.

    (e) The agency shall arrange for an eye examination and a hearing assessment by a licensed professional for each child three years of age and older within 90 days of placement unless the child has been examined within six months prior to placement and the results of the examination have been provided in writing to the agency.

    (f) The agency shall obtain a written copy of each child’s immunization record within 30 days of their admission to placement. If this is not available, the agency shall develop an immunization program for the child in consultation with medical personnel. This record shall be maintained in the child’s case file.

    (5) An agency licensed for the purpose of adoption shall be required to have an at- risk placement document signed by the prospective adoptive parent or parents prior to placement of a child in their home, in the event the agency does not have a court order documenting termination of parental rights of the child being placed for adoption.

    (a) The at-risk placement document shall contain a statement that the agency does not have commitment of the child for the purpose of adoption and the reasons why it does not have commitment. The at-risk placement document shall state that proceedings have been started to obtain commitment; that the agency shall notify the adoptive family, in writing, of the court’s decision regarding commitment and that the child may be removed from the home if commitment is not forthcoming. The adoptive parents shall agree to return the child to the agency.

    (b) An agency providing at-risk placement of a child shall provide monthly reimbursement for the care of the child, plus medical and clothing allowances, if needed, until the legal finalization of the adoption. The agency shall provide supportive counseling to the adoptive family before, during and after placement of the child, and shall make diligent efforts to remove legal and other barriers preventing the adoption from occurring.

    Specific Authority 39 Part V, 63, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 39 Part V, 63, 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.032, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.022 Agency Services to Children in Foster Care.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.034, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.023 Foster Home Licensing.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.036, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.024 Foster Home Studies.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.037, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.025 Monitoring and Annual Licensing Study.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.038, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.026 Recommendations to Revoke a Family Foster Home License.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.039, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.027 The Agency’s Responsibilities to Licensed Out-of-Home Caregivers Foster Parents.

    (1) The agency shall provide or identify training opportunities for licensed out-of-home caregivers foster parents to increase their skills and ability to parent children who are not their own. Each prospective licensed out-of-home caregiver shall receive the pre-service training required by Section 409.175(14)(b), F.S. The agency shall ensure that each newly licensed out-of-home cargivers foster parent receive not less than 8 12 hours of training per year during the first two years of licensure. Training opportunities should include, training on agency policy, rules and laws, training which provides licensed out-of-home caregivers foster parents with an understanding of licensed out-of-home foster care, training which provides licensed out-of-home caregivers foster parents with an understanding of the needs of children and their families, training on the responsibilities of the licensed out-of-home caregivers foster parent to the agency and the child.

    (2) The agency shall have a signed agreement with all foster parents which includes the following:

    (a) Expectations and responsibilities of the agency staff and the licensed out-of-home caregivers foster parents;

    (b) The fiscal and medical arrangements for the children placed in the home;

    (c) The authority which licensed out-of-home caregivers foster parents can exercise for the children placed in their home, including discussions of normalcy;

    (d) The actions which require agency staff authorization; and

    (e) A statement of the agency’s discipline policy.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.040, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.028 Adoptive Home Study.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.042, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.029 Services to Adoptive Parents and Children Available for Adoption.

    (1) The child’s services worker agency shall discuss the potential adoptive child with the prospective adoptive family and shall prepare them for the placement of that a particular child. The preparation shall include, but not be limited to:

    (a) Presentation of written information about the child’s, his personal characteristics, a copy of the child’s his complete medical history and files, if available, documentation of his academic potential and school performance including copies of school report cards, if applicable, and all available non-identifying confidential information about the child’s background and legal his birth family.

    (b) Completion of at least one visit with the child prior to placement. Placement of foreign children and infants handled by a licensed Florida child-placing agency are exempted from the requirement of pre-placement visits.

    (2) The agency services social worker shall visit with the potential adoptive family at least every 30 days monthly, after the placement of a child, until the adoption is finalized.

    (a) Observations made during the visits shall be documented in a case file and shall form a basis for case planning with the family and the child.

    (b) The agency shall assist the family and the child with problems that are identified in the placement and shall work toward their remediation.

    (c) If the agency places a child out of the state for the purposes of adoption, the agency shall comply with the Section 409.401, F.S., et seq., the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. A request for supervision and services to be provided by another licensed child-placing agency must be in writing. The written request must contain a request for periodic status reports on the child’s progress and adjustment.

    (3) The agency shall provide service to the adoptive family and child until the adoptive placement is finalized or terminated.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175, 409.401, et seq. FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.043, Amended_______.

     

    65C-15.030 Case Records.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.045, Repealed________.

     

    65C-15.031 Child’s Case Records Keeping for Non-Contracted Agencies.

    (1) The agency shall maintain current records for each child placed in a family foster home, adoptive home, or residential group care facility. The following information at a minimum shall be contained in each file:

    (a) Demographic information including the name, address, social security number, sex, religion, race, birth date, and birth place of the child;

    (b) The name, address, telephone number, social security numbers, demographic information including birth dates, race, religion, family composition and marital status of the parents or guardians of the child;

    (c) The name, address, and telephone number of siblings if placed elsewhere and other significant relatives, if available;

    (d) Copies of legal documents of importance to the type of care such as birth record and any court dispositions or signed agreements with the family;

    (e) The medical history shall include, if available, cumulative health records, addresses of all health care providers who provided treatment, examination or consultation regarding the child as well as all psychological and psychiatric reports;

    (f) The social assessment and background of the family and parents;

    (g) A summary which reflects the dates of contact, initial assessment, case plan, and content of the services worker’s visits;

    (h) The circumstances leading to the decision of the parents to place the child, the agency’s involvement with the parents, including services offered, delivered, or rejected;

    (i) Educational records and reports, if applicable;

    (j) Summary of case reviews which reflect the contacts with and the status of all family members in relation to the case plan as well as the achievements or changes in the goals;

    (k) Summary of any administrative or outside service reviews on the progress of each child toward goal determination;

    (l) Summary of child’s contacts with family members which reflect the quality of the relationships as the way the child is coping with them; and

    (m) A record of the child’s placements with names of caregivers, addresses, and the dates of care.

    (2) The agency shall make every effort to maintain stable licensed out-of-home foster care placements for each child in licensed out-of-home foster care. When replacement is indicated, first consideration shall be given to returning the child to the parents or to placing the child with relatives, except for children surrendered for adoption. If the return of the child to the parent or placement of the child with a relative is not appropriate, all of the following shall be documented in the child’s record within 10 working days after replacement in licensed out-of-home foster care:

    (a) The reason for replacement;

    (b) An evaluation of the appropriateness of continued licensed out-of-home foster care;

    (c) Documentation of replacement preparation appropriate to the child’s capacity to understand;

    (d) Evidence of notification to the parents of the child’s replacement, unless surrenders for adoption are obtained; and

    (e) The information that was shared with the new foster parents about the child, including the case plans.

    (3) Upon discharge a child’s record shall contain:

    (a) A discharge summary showing services provided during care, the growth and accomplishments, needs which remain to be met, and recommendations of the services needed to meet these goals;

    (b) Date of discharge, reason for discharge, and the name, address, telephone number, and relationship of the persons or agency to whom the child was discharged; and

    (c) After care plans which specify the responsibility for follow-through.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.046, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.032 Family Case Record Keeping for Non-Contracted Agencies.

    (1) The agency shall have on file a record of the family of every child whom the agency places into care which contains:

    (a) Demographic information including address, birth dates, race, religion, family composition, and persons important to the child;

    (b) The social history, including any psychological or psychiatric reports and medical histories;

    (c) Strengths and needs of the family and the services required;

    (d) Services Worker’s assessment and initial case plan;

    (e) Signed agreements between the agency and family;

    (f) Summary of dates of contact and progress toward goals;

    (g) Case review reports; and

    (h) Discharge summary.

    (2) If the agency received the child from a custodian other than a parent, the agency shall also maintain these records on the prior custodian.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.047, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.033 Family Foster Home Records Keeping for Non-Contracted Agencies.

    The agency shall keep separate records for each family foster home which shall contain:

    (1) The application to provide licensed out-of-home care foster care;

    (2) Verification that the screening requirements of Sections 409.175 and 435.04, F.S., Chapter 10-20, F.A.C. have been successfully met;

    (3) Licensed Home Study Family assessment;

    (4) Re-Licensing Studies Medical information;

    (5) Annual assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the foster family relative to the care of the individual children placed with them;

    (6) All licensing compliance studies and reports connected with it;

    (7) List of children placed, dates admitted, date of discharge, and reason for discharge; and

    (5)(8) A termination summary for homes which are closed, and the reason for closing.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Formerly 10M-24.048, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.034 Adoptive Home Records Keeping for Non-Contracted Agencies.

    The agency shall keep records for each adoptive family which shall contain:

    (1) The applications;

    (2) The adoptive home assessment study;

    (3) Medical information;

    (4) Character references from a least three sources;

    (5) A summary of family contacts following approval for adoption until the child is placed;

    (3)(6) A copy of the information given to the parent’s concerning the child or children to be placed for adoption with them;

    (4)(7) All legal documents pertaining to the adoption; and

    (5)(8) Summary containing the placement decision, pre-placement and post-placement contacts with the family and the adoptive child, including services provided to stabilize the placement and decisions regarding finalization of the adoption.

    Specific Authority 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 409.175 FS. History–New 12-19-90, Amended 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.049, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.036 Intercountry Adoption Services.

    (1) The agency which engages in intercountry adoptions shall provide to the adoptive parents all legal documents, pertaining to the adopted child, which have been obtained from the child’s country of origin.

    (2) The agency shall comply with all applicable adoption laws of the child’s country of origin and the state of Florida.

    (3) The agency which engages in intercountry adoptions shall comply with the requirements of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act as specified in Sections 1431 through 1434, 8 USC.

    (4) The agency shall comply with the requirements of the Hague Convention and all applicable regulations for placement of children from countries that have ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption.

    Specific Authority 63.022, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63.022, 409.175 FS. History–New 10-27-93, Formerly 10M-24.052, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.037 Private Interstate Adoptions.

    This section refers to private Interstate Adoptions, which means an interstate adoption required to comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children where the child is not under the custody or supervision of the sending state's dependency court jurisdiction or child welfare agency's supervision due to an allegation of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Private interstate adoptions have different requirements for placement determination than adoptions stemming from a dependency case. All states, the District of Columbia and the United States Virgin Islands are members of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. The placement of any child for adoption outside of the state of Florida with a member state or jurisdiction must be done in accordance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children pursuant to the following procedures, which shall also be used when placing or bringing a child into Florida from a member state or jurisdiction. The only exemption to this rule is found in Section 409.401, Article VIII, F.S., Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

    (1) When placing a Florida child in a member state or jurisdiction for adoption, the initial placement request package of the sending agency or person must include an original and four copies of an ICPC 100A Interstate Compact Placement Request, Form CF 794, Oct. 96, which is hereby incorporated by reference, properly completed and signed, showing the agency as responsible for planning for the child, and as financially responsible for the child, and at a minimum, three complete sets of the following:

    (a) A cover letter on agency letterhead that:

    1. Shows the name and phone number of the agency professional staff person who is handling the adoption;

    2. Indicates in what state the adoption is to be finalized;

    3. Addresses the termination of parental rights of any man required to give consent pursuant to Section 63.062, F.S. the birth father, if that subject is not included in the enclosed adoption request package;

    4. Includes a list identifying the contents of the enclosed adoption request package; and

    5. Is signed by an authorized agency representative.

    (b) Consents (if applicable):

    1. An executed consent for voluntary surrender of the child signed by the legal birth mother and any man required to give consent pursuant to Section 63.062, F.S., birth father, showing that the agency has been given responsibility for the child;

    2. If an executed consent for voluntary surrender of the child from any man required to give consent pursuant to Section 63.062, F.S., the birth father is not available, information must be provided stating how his parental rights will be addressed.

    3. An affidavit of non-paternity may be provided in lieu of a consent in accordance with Section 63.062(4), F.S.

    4. If a Termination of Parental Rights Order has been entered for a birth mother or any man required to give consent as per Section 63.062, F.S., a copy of the order shall be provided.

    (c) Family history, social and medical information on the birth mother and birth father, including a clear statement as to American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage. If a birth parent claims American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage;

    1. Proof that tribal notice has been made in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 25 U.S.C. is required and should include:

    a. All responses from noticed tribes; or

    b. An At Risk Placement Agreement, signed by the prospective adoptive parents, specific to the fact that one of the birth parents has claimed American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage; and that all responses from noticed tribes have not been received; and how this may affect the proposed adoption, including that the tribe may intervene and that the adoptive parents may have to return the child to the agency.

    2. In the case of a voluntary placement where the birth parent does not notify the tribe, the following are required:

    a. An affidavit signed by the birth parent attesting to this choice; and

    b. An At Risk Placement Agreement, signed by the prospective adoptive parents, specific to the fact that one of the parents has claimed American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage; however, has chosen not to notify the tribe; and how this may affect the proposed adoption, including that the tribe may intervene and that the adoptive parents may have to return the child to the agency.

    (d) A narrative report on the social and educational background of the birth mother and birth father giving a clear picture of the birth parents and the reasons for their decision to place rather than parent their child. This report must contain a signed statement by the birth parents indicating their preference for registering their names in the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry pursuant to Sections 63.165, F.S.;

    (e) A counseling summary document which reflects that the birth parents were advised of alternatives to adoption and that they freely chose adoption from the available alternatives;

    (f) Medical information;

    1. A legible copy of a hospital birth delivery and medical information report on the child, signed by a physician or registered nurse, and if the child is 1 year old or older, a legible copy of a physical examination report signed by a physician and completed within six months of the date of the proposed placement request; and

    2. A legible copy of a hospital discharge report signed by a hospital official, which identifies the child and the child’s medical condition at the time of discharge. A completed and signed Physician’s Report on Child Form, CF-FSP 5073, Sept. 02, which includes discharge status may be substituted for the hospital discharge report when not available; and

    3. Legible copies of any medical reports or assessments on the child’s physical or mental health and development.

    (g) The name and address of the licensed agency or person who has completed or updated the adoption home study on the prospective adoptive parents within one year of the proposed placement request, a copy of that home study, and a properly completed original department Adoptive Home Application, Form CF-FSP 5071, Oct. 96, which is hereby incorporated by reference, signed by the prospective adoptive parents and notarized.

    (h) A letter from the agency or person who will be providing supervision of the child and the prospective adoptive parents during the period between initial placement and finalization of the adoption, indicating that they have a current professional license in their state, and agree to perform the required supervision services.

    (i) A copy of a court order permanently committing the child to the agency or an At Risk Placement Agreement signed by the prospective adoptive parents which acknowledge that they understand that the agency does not yet have permanent commitment of the child, and if, for some reason, the court does not grant permanent commitment to the agency, that they may have to return the child to the agency;.

    (j) A copy of the initial disclosure document provided to the adoptive parents as per Section 63.039(1)(a), F.S.

    (k) If the department or contracted sheriff’s office has an open investigation for abuse, neglect or abandonment regarding the child, verification is required that the department or contracted sheriff’s office is in agreement with the child leaving the state with the prospective adoptive parents pending finalization of the adoption.

    (l)(j) It is the responsibility of the Florida licensed child-placing agency to be knowledgeable of the adoption requirements of the receiving state or jurisdiction, and to include in the sending agency placement request package any additional documents that may be required by that state or jurisdiction.

    (m)(k) The Florida Interstate Compact office will not accept facsimile transmission of an interstate placement request package.

    (2) On interstate adoptive placement requests received from a sending state or jurisdiction that is a party state under the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, Section 409.401, F.S., the placement request package of the sending state must include an original and three copies of their ICPC 100A Interstate Compact Placement Request form, properly completed and signed, showing the sending agency or person as responsible for planning for the child, and as financially responsible for the child, and, at a minimum, two complete sets of materials which include:

    (a) Documents showing the legal status of the child, and that the parental rights of both birth parents have been terminated, or if the child is not legally free for adoption, a copy of an At Risk Placement Agreement signed by the prospective adoptive parents. The prospective adoptive parents must acknowledge that they understand the rights of the birth parents have not been terminated, and if the court does not terminate those parental rights, they may be required to return the child to the sending state.

    (b) Medical Information:

    1. Medical records showing the child’s date and place of birth and current medical condition. If the child is 1 year of age or older, a legible copy of a medical report must have been completed within 12 months from the date of the placement request.

    2. If the child has any physical or developmental or mental health problems, there must be evidence that the prospective adoptive parents have been made aware of the full extent of the child’s health problems and that they are willing and able to provide the necessary care.

    (c) Documents showing that:

    1. The birth parents were interviewed in regard to their rights in the adoption and their preference for registering their names in the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry.

    2. Family history, social and medical background on the birth family has been gathered and prepared, including a clear statement as to American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage. If a birth parent claims American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage:

    a. Proof that tribal notice has been made in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 25 U.S.C. is required and should include:

    i. All responses from noticed tribes; or

    ii. An At Risk Placement Agreement, signed by the prospective adoptive parents, specific to the fact that one of the birth parents has claimed American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage; and that all responses from noticed tribes have not been received; and how this may affect the proposed adoption, including that the tribe may intervene and that the adoptive parents may have to return the child to the agency.

    b. In the case of a voluntary placement where the birth parent does not notify the tribe, the following are required:

    i. An affidavit signed by the birth parent attesting to this choice; and

    ii. An At Risk Placement Agreement, signed by the prospective adoptive parents, specific to the fact that one of the parents has claimed American Indian tribal affiliation or heritage; however, has chosen not to notify the tribe; and how this may affect the proposed adoption, including that the tribe may intervene and that the adoptive parents may have to return the child to the agency.

    (d) An adoptive home study or update completed within 12 months of the request for placement prepared by an agency or individual licensed to provide this service in the state of Florida. A copy of a properly completed original department Adoptive Home Application, Form CF-FSP 5071, Oct. 96, signed by the prospective adoptive parents and notarized must be attached to the home study.

    (e) A letter from a Florida licensed child-placing agency, or intermediary, who is responsible for supervision of the child and the prospective adoptive parents during the period between initial placement and finalization of the adoption, identifying the person who will perform this service, and indicating that this person has a current professional license, and agrees to perform the required supervision.

    (f) If the sending state’s child welfare agency responsible for investigating reported abuse of minors has an open investigation of abuse, neglect or abandonment regarding the child, verification is required that the investigating agency is in agreement with the child leaving the state with the prospective adoptive parents pending finalization of the adoption.

    (g) A signed statement by the prospective adoptive parents that they have been informed of the existence and purpose of the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry pursuant to Section 63.165, F.S.;

    (h)(f) The Florida Interstate Compact office will not accept a facsimile transmission of an interstate placement request package from a sending state Interstate Compact office, agency, intermediary or person.

    (i)(g) It is the responsibility of the Florida licensed child-placing agency, or intermediary, to obtain those legal and other documents from the sending state or jurisdiction that may be required by Florida law to complete or finalize an adoption in Florida.

    (3) It is the responsibility of the licensed child-placing agency to properly complete, sign and submit an ICPC 100B Interstate Compact Report on Child’s Placement Status, Form CF 795, Oct. 96, which is hereby incorporated by reference, to the Florida Interstate Compact office under the following circumstances:

    (a) Upon initial placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents;

    (b) Upon any change in the physical location of the adoptive child prior to finalization of the adoption.

    (c) Upon finalization of the adoptive placement with the adoptive parents. On this occasion, a copy of the final adoption court order must accompany this form.

    (4) Information on preparation of interstate placement requests and department forms, required by this administrative rule, may be obtained by writing to the following address:

    Office of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children

    Family Safety and Preservation Office

    Florida Department of Children and Family Services

    1317 Winewood Boulevard 

    Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0700 

    Specific Authority 63, 409.401, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 63, 409.401, 409.175 FS. History–New 5-17-98, Amended________.

     

    65C-15.038 Specific Rules for Lead Agencies and Contracted Providers.

    An agency under contract with the department as a lead agency for a specific geographical area shall ensure that all providers through which the lead agency arranges for the provision of child protection/child welfare service are licensed as required by subsection 65C-15.003(1), F.A.C. The following standards shall be applied to community-based care lead agencies.

    (1) Complaints.

    (a)1. When the department receives a complaint regarding services provided by a lead agency or its sub-contracted agencies, the department shall advise the lead agency within one working day. The department will work in cooperation with the agency to identify any reasonable corrective action necessary and document the corrective action in a plan agreed upon by the agency and the department.

    2. If resolution cannot be reached within ten working days; a referral must be made to the Executive Director of the lead agency and District Administrator of the respective parties. The Executive Director and District Administrator shall confer in an attempt to resolve the issue. If after ten working days resolution is not obtained appointed representatives from both parties shall meet and select a third representative. These three representatives shall meet within ten working days to seek resolution of the dispute. If the representatives’ good faith efforts to solve the dispute fail, the representatives shall make written recommendations to the Secretary of the department who will work with both parties to resolve the dispute. All legal rights and remedies are reserved and if necessary, the department may take steps to suspend, revoke or deny the license of the agency affected.

    (2) Whenever the department receives a regulatory complaint against a licensed family foster home, the department shall notify the supervising agency and lead agency within one working day. Prior to initiating a complaint investigation, licensing staff from the department shall review the licensing file to ensure that all relevant information has been gathered and is considered.

    (a) The department licensing staff shall immediately begin conducting a thorough complaint investigation by collecting and verifying the information obtained. All contacts shall be thoroughly documented. Complaint investigations shall be initiated within forty-eight hours of receipt unless otherwise authorized by the department licensing authority.

    (b) Within one week of commencing the complaint investigation, the department licensing staff shall advise the licensing authority of the findings to determine if corrective action is necessary.

    (c) Corrective action plans shall be developed and monitored in conjunction with the supervising agency. Corrective action plans shall be in writing and identify specific dates by which corrective measures shall be completed. The written corrective action plan shall also state that failure to comply with the corrective measures within the time frames identified may result in administrative action including suspension, revocation or denial of the license.

    (d) The department licensing staff shall thoroughly document the complaint investigation and findings in the licensing file. The department shall give written notification to the licensed out-of-home caregivers and the supervising agency of the outcome of the investigation as it relates to the licensing violations, and, if appropriate a corrective action plan.

    (e) All complaint investigations shall be completed within sixty days of the receipt of the complaint unless otherwise authorized by the licensing authority.

    (f) Complaints against a licensed out-of-home caregiver meeting the criteria for acceptance of a report of abuse or neglect shall be investigated by the Child Protective Investigator from the department or contracted sheriff’s office in cooperation with licensing staff from the supervising agency whenever possible and according to Rule 65C-29.004, F.A.C. The focus of the licensing counselor’s investigation is limited to violations of licensing standards pursuant to Section 409.175, F.S. and Rule Chapter 65C-13, F.A.C.

    (2) Monitoring.

    (a) Lead agencies shall be monitored by to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the service contract pertaining to the administrative and programmatic aspects of the contract related to licensing of family foster homes and compliance with this Rule. The department’s Contract Oversight Unit or its designee shall perform this monitoring.

    (b) The contract oversight unit shall notify the lead agency at least fourteen calendar days prior to the initiation of monitoring activities and provide a list of the items and functions that are to be monitored. The local licensing authority shall notice child placing agencies which do not contract with the department in the same manner.

    (c) The contract oversight unit shall prepare a report of the results of the monitoring and deliver a copy to the lead agency and to the department’s licensing authority within thirty calendar days following the completion of the monitoring.

    (d) If appropriate, the lead agency shall develop a written plan of corrective action. The corrective action plan shall be submitted to the department’s contract oversight unit and zone/regional licensing authority within thirty calendar days.

    (e) The department’s contract manager shall inform the agency in writing of its approval or disapproval of the corrective action plan within 30 calendar days of receipt.

    (3) No fees shall be imposed by the lead agency or subcontractors on clients other than those set by the department and described in the current State of Florida Title XX Pre-Expenditure Report.

    (4) Agency Disclosure.

    (a) A lead agency shall notify the department if its Executive Director position is to be vacated. The notification shall identify the person(s) who is assuming the responsibilities of that position during the vacancy and provide verification of background screening for the individual. When the Executive Director position is filled, the lead agency shall notify the department in writing of the identity and qualifications of the new incumbent.

    (b) A lead agency shall submit to the department in writing any revisions to procedures or policies that may have a potential impact on federal claims. The department shall review the proposed revisions within thirty calendar days of their receipt.

    (5) Insurance. Adequate insurance as set forth in Section 409.1671(1)(h), F.S. shall be maintained on all vehicles used to transport children, whether owned by the agency or by staff.

    (6) Training. Lead agency and subcontracted staff who perform child protection/child welfare services or who supervise the provision of those services shall be required to meet the training and certification requirements for those positions as established by the department under Section 402.40, F.S., within twelve months of employment.

    (7) Clients Served. A lead agency shall serve all clients referred from the department. The lead agency shall be responsible for supervision and out-of-home placement for eligible children, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and shall provide services to children in an out-of home placement as specified in Rule Chapter 65C-28, F.A.C. Eligible clients are:

    (a) Children, young adults, and families who are in need of licensed out-of-home care and related services as described in Chapters 39 and 409, F.S., as a result of child maltreatment;

    (b) Families whose children are at risk of imminent out-of-home placement and who may benefit from preventive services that are funded under the terms and conditions of their contract;

    (c) Relative caregivers as defined in Chapter 39, F.S.;

    (d) Foster families and other substitute caregivers as defined in Chapter 409, F.S. and Chapter 65C-13, F.A.C.

    (e) Adoptive families as defined in Chapters 39 and 63, F.S. and Chapter 65C-16, F.A.C.

    (f) Persons covered by out-of-town inquiry, courtesy supervision by the provider or Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children pursuant to Chapter 409, F.S.;

    (g) Special condition cases referred from the department or law enforcement agencies providing child protection investigations; and

    (h) Children and families served in prevention and diversion programs.

    (8) Recruitment and Retention.

    (a) A lead agency shall establish a written recruitment plan for finding adequate foster and adoptive parent resources for waiting children. The plan must contain a means to ensure an adequate number of qualified placement options is maintained at all times to meet the needs of children who cannot safely remain in their own homes. The plan must detail a defined approach for recruiting, approving, maintaining and supporting high quality family foster homes and potential adoptive parents to match the needs of the children coming into care and a means by which the agency will measure compliance with this requirement.

    (b) All agencies shall maintain documentation of all licensing activities for each family foster home as required by Rule Chapter 65C-13, F.A.C.

    (9) Documentation and Record Retention.

    (a) A lead agency shall completely document the provision of services to each client. These records shall be produced and updated in accordance with the agency’s policy, procedures, and guidelines. In addition, the records shall include:

    1. Initial and subsequent comprehensive behavioral assessments;

    2. Relative home studies for in-home placement;

    3. Family Foster Home Records

    4. Adoptive and Potential Adoptive Family Records

    5. Legal documents (e.g. court orders);

    6. Case plans;

    7. Medical records;

    8. Educational records;

    9. On-going records of contacts with children, legal parents and out-of-home caregivers, court appearances and other collateral contacts on behalf of children and families served under the agency’s contract; and

    10. Records required by applicable state or federal laws, rules, regulations or department operating procedures.

    (b) The lead agency shall maintain the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) and provide the department all required data. The lead agency shall register special needs children and maintain current information on the Adoption Exchange System on those children who have been permanently committed to the department and who are legally freed for adoption. Upon request, the lead agency shall provide back-up documentation and records regarding the information provided the department;

    (c) Active case files shall be returned to the department upon termination of a lead agency contract.

    (d) An agency licensed for the purpose of being a lead agency shall comply with the department record retention schedule as approved by the Florida Department of State Bureau of Archives and Records Management.

    Specific Authority 39,409.1671, 409.175 FS. Law Implemented 39, 409.1671, 409.175 FS. History–New________.

     

    NAME OF PERSON ORIGINATING PROPOSED RULE: Chris Lolley

    NAME OF SUPERVISOR OR PERSON WHO APPROVED THE PROPOSED RULE: Patricia Badland

    DATE PROPOSED RULE APPROVED BY AGENCY HEAD: November 20, 2006

    DATE NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT PUBLISHED IN FAW: September 1, 2006

Document Information

Comments Open:
12/1/2006
Summary:
Licensing.
Purpose:
This rule outlines the procedures that the Department and contracted agencies will use in performing licensing of Foster Homes and Child Placing Agencies.
Rulemaking Authority:
39.0121, 409.175(5)(a) FS.
Law:
39.402, 409.145, 409.165, 409.175, 435.04, 435.07 FS.
Contact:
Chris Lolley, (850)921-1928, Building 6, 1317 Winewood Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399
Related Rules: (15)
65C-15.001. Definitions
65C-15.002. Licensed Child-Placing Agencies
65C-15.003. Application and Licensing Study
65C-15.0035.
65C-15.004. On-Site Visits and Complaint Investigation
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