The Take 5 series is an educational periodical by Charles Nelson republished on our blog. Each article discusses a specific topic by posing a question and providing a brief but informative answer.

This page contains all published Take 5 posts sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

Take 5: to Consider the Role of Safety Planning in Reunification Decisions

The Practice Points to Ponder developed by the University of South Florida's Training Consortium is a very good training tool that discusses the kinds of factors to consider on when it is safe to return a child to a home environment following removal. In the form of a five point question and answer format, guidance is presented on how to determine the least intrusive safety action necessary — or even if in-home placement is the best idea given safety concerns.

If the children have been removed, what must be different in order for the children to be returned home safely? That's the central question when considering reunification. I think we would all agree, it's not merely the completion of a case plan task that drives that decision.

Discuss this with your fellow staff members and your volunteers. You may even want to invite a local community-based care organization to present a brown bag luncheon on safety planning in the reunification decision. It would be well worth a discussion.

Here is a link to the document. It's only a one-pager but very worth the five minutes!

Take 5: to Learn About the "Keys to Independence" and Website

keystoindependence.org website home page

Take 5: to explore the new Keys to Independence website and learn more about how guardian ad litem staff and volunteers can help eligible youth obtain assistance getting a driver's license and insurance!

Obtaining a driver's license is a key part of normalcy for any youth. And for dependency kids, it's really not a luxury for most. How youth get to schools, jobs and other normalcy activities is an important part of the equation in our kids' journey to independence. For many, not only is getting a license an important growth milestone, it can mean the difference in how successful transitioning youth are in working, learning and living as adults. But in the past, many of our youth have faced barriers in achieving these goals.

No transitioning youth should be denied the opportunity to obtain both a license and insurance when they are eligible to do so. But many may need help to achieve those goals. To help remedy that, the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program was privileged to lead the charge with our legislative initiative to make this life milestone a priority. All youth deserve this normalcy opportunity without the imposition of barriers that this new law serves to eliminate. That certainly includes dependent youth where having a license might mean the difference in a successful transition to adulthood. It is important that each of our staff and volunteers who work with youth ages fifteen and up encourage them to explore this important life benefit. There may well be real world solutions that can help youth more readily achieve licensing and obtain insurance.

There is a brand new resource available to youth, caregivers and GAL staff/volunteers who are investigating how to obtain a driver's license or to receive help in financing insurance costs. Community Based Care of Central Florida has been selected as the contractor for this three year pilot and is working hard to get the word out about the benefits available to youth seeking their license and insurance. The pilot project will reimburse youth and caregivers for the costs associated with driver's education, driver's licenses and other costs related to getting a driver's license as well as motor vehicle insurance. We need to be sure that youth and caregivers are aware of these resources!

Be sure to visit the website that has been developed by Community Based Care of Central Florida to provide more information and describe the application process. Make sure this information gets out to all GAL staff and volunteers who work with these youth.

Wouldn't it be great if all transitioning youth had their license and insurance well before their eighteenth birthday? With this information and the resources now available, it is possible!

Let's get rolling!

Take 5: to Practice and Share the C-SAFE Philosophy

Take 5: to practice our new C-SAFE philosophy or better yet, teach one person — a volunteer or a new staff member — how to implement this new advocacy practice.

C-SAFE is the "new" GAL philosophy on how to engage even more directly than we already do in the action necessary to advance the best interests of kids. I say "new" because it's really not all that new. These are things we've been talking about and doing for years. But it some respects it is a new philosophy as it is designed to begin every conversation, on every case, with three simple questions leading us to decisive action in three critical areas.

Many of you have received formal training on our C-SAFE philosophy. Some of you may not have. But I hope all of you have at least heard of this unifying approach.

So in short, what is C-SAFE?

C-SAFE is a unifying philosophy that insists that every single one of us ask three questions every time we look at or discuss a case. These three questions should be a part of your normal, standard operating procedure. We don't need you to fill out a form or hold a formal meeting or make a production out of the asking of these questions, but we do need you to ask and answer the questions… every single time. Volunteers, CACs, attorneys and management should all ask these questions every time any one or more of you begin a review or assessment of a case.

I should remind everyone that all decisions like this should be documented in a prominent location, somewhere in your file. Anyone who picks up the file should be able to start with prior answers on these three questions.

OK, enough of the preliminaries… "What are the three questions?" Hey, I'm glad you asked. They are:

  • Is this child safe in their current placement?
    If so, great! If not, what do we need to do NOW to make sure this child is safe? You can also ask this same question about a future, planned placement.

  • Have we actually achieved ALL that we've advocated for in this case?
    If so, great! If not, what do we need to do NOW to make sure that what this child needs is actually delivered?

  • Is this case on track to expedite the right permanency plan for this child?
    If so, great! If not, what do we need to do NOW to get this case resolved with the appropriate permanency outcome?

That's it? Does that cover every conceivable advocacy issue? Probably not. But it certainly focuses us on the three very important issues of safety, assuring that the child's needs are being met and getting permanency for the child as soon as possible.

The whole point, really, isn't the answer to the question, although the question is certainly the springboard particularly when the answer to the question is "no." The point is the action necessary to change the answer to "yes" when the answer needs changing. Action orientation is the absolute, final assessment on the effectiveness of our C-SAFE philosophy.

So, here's my challenge to you. Take five minutes today to practice this new philosophy on at least one file. Ask and answer the three questions in concert with your advocacy team as a conscious exercise. Decide what needs to be done to get the answers you are seeking and get it done. If the answers to all three questions are already yes, then celebrate where this case is heading and move to the next case. And to cement this new philosophy in your mind, teach someone else how to incorporate the C-SAFE model into your day-to-day work.

The immediate goal is to infuse C-SAFE into every level of the organization, and the only way to do that is to make the C-SAFE philosophy and the C-SAFE questions a part of your personal philosophy. I've challenged your management team to ask these questions themselves. If they aren't doing that for you, ask them to help you integrate C-SAFE more effectively by modeling those questions in their own review of files.

The longer-term goal is to change significantly the answers to all three of these questions, where we can, to a resounding "yes" every time. That will require action… and lots of it. But the lives of the kids we serve will be better off for it. But it's the action that will matter in the long run.

"What can we do to change this today?"

C-SAFE applies to everyone who works with a child at GAL. It is the guiding principle for the entire GAL organization, regardless of your position. And most importantly, our success (as individuals, teams, units, circuits, regions and statewide) should largely be determined on how well we can change a "no" to a "yes." If we only advocate without achievement then our advocacy isn't really very effective. So the measure is action and results, not advocacy in and of itself.

I'd love to hear of any stories that result from a C-SAFE discussion or analysis. Tell me a story about where you were able to change a "no" to a "yes" with action that arose from your C-SAFE questioning and collaboration. I'll be happy to share some of those results with everyone. Good luck! Have fun with this and make it happen!

Take 5: to Learn About Transitioning Foster Youth Services

Take 5: to learn what you need to know about services for extended foster care and transitioning youth. It's not as difficult as you may think… although when you first hear about it, it seems a bit daunting. But as you'll see below, it's really not as tough as you may have thought.

Thanks to Liz Damski, we have a wonderful checklist you can use to easily reference what services are available to youth transitioning out of foster care. Her much prettier version is available to download and a text version is presented below.

We have also provided circuit directors and supervising attorneys with an excellent training tool on the role of guardians ad litem in extended foster care. It is designed specifically for program staff and volunteers. Ask them (beg and plead, if you have to) to schedule an in-service training session for you and your fellow volunteers. I think you'll find that this topic has a ton of useful information for kids.

Extended Foster Care Checklist

Florida Guardian ad Litem Program — Independent Living Redesign Checklist
Extended Foster Care, Post-secondary Education Services and Support, Aftercare Services,
Transition Plans, Judicial Reviews and Case Closing

Extended Foster Care (EFC) (18–21)
Automatic extended court jurisdiction allows young adults to remain in foster care until their 21st birthday, or 22nd birthday if they have a documented disability.

Eligibility:

  • In licensed foster care on their 18th birthday and
  • Are working at least 80 hours per month or
  • Are in high school, GED, college, etc. or
  • Are participating in a job skills program or
  • Are unable to participate in any of the above activities due to a disability

Young Adults Must:

  • Meet with caseworker once a month
  • Continue to participate in activities such as a job, school, job skills program
  • Attend Court reviews every six months
  • Live with foster parents, or in a group home, apartment, dorm or other supervised independent environment
  • Be given expenses (e.g. food, transportation) and allowance

Post-secondary Education Services and Support (PESS) (18–23)

Eligibility:

  • Turned 18 while residing in licensed care and have spent a total of six months in licensed out-of-home care before turning 18 or
  • Adopted after the age of 16 from foster care or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6 months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately preceding such placement or adoption and
  • Have earned a standard high school diploma, or its equivalent.
  • Enrolled in college, a university or vocational school that is Florida Bright Futures eligible for at least 9 hours a semester.

Living Arrangements:

  • If in EFC, then the young adult must live in an approved living arrangement
  • If the young adult is not in EFC, the young adult may live in any place of his or her choosing
  • For the young adult who is not in EFC, there is no prohibition against living with a parent or relative, nor does being married or adult-adopted disqualify a young adult from receiving PESS

Aftercare Services (18–21)
Aftercare services are available to young adults 18 years old but not yet 23 years old who are not enrolled in EFC or PESS

Provides for Emergency Services:

  • Housing
  • Electric bills
  • Transportation
  • Security deposits for rent or utilities
  • Furnishings
  • Household goods
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Sewer service
  • Food

Transition Plan Development

  • Within 180 days of 17th birthday (JR is still by day 90)
  • In collaboration with DCF, CBC, caregiver, child/young adult, and anyone the child wishes to include
  • Time, place, and location must be convenient for the child and the persons the child wants to include
  • Meeting must be conducted in child's primary language
  • If child is leaving care upon age 18, must be approved by the court before the child leaves care
  • To be reviewed and updated as needed as long as child remains in care
  • Must detail
    • Housing
    • Health insurance
    • Education
    • Workforce support
    • Employment services
    • Accommodations for those with disabilities
    • Emergency contact person
    • Participation in case planning, JR reports
  • Must consider establishing/maintaining naturally occurring mentoring relationships and personal support services
  • Must coordinate with IL services provided by the DCF/CBC in the case plan; TIEP transition plan

DCF/CBC Must Provide Young Adult With (17 Judicial Review)

  • Medicaid card and information to apply
  • Certified copy of birth certificate
  • State identification card if no driver's license
  • Social Security Card
  • Information on social security insurance benefits for eligible child
  • Master trust accounting and information on accessing the funds held in trust
  • Information on eligibility and applying for RTI
  • Bank account or identification to open bank account
  • Banking skills training
  • Information on how to apply for public assistance
  • Clear understanding of where will be living, what educational program will be enrolled in and how expenses will be paid at age 18
  • Information on ability to remain in care
  • A letter stating the dates under child has been under court jurisdiction
  • A letter stating child is in compliance with financial aid documentation requirements
  • Educational records
  • Health and mental health records
  • Process for accessing his or her case file
  • Encouragement to attend JRs

Judicial Review and Permanency Review

17 Judicial Review:

  • Ensure Transition Plan is complete and above is complete

18+ Judicial Review:

  • Every 6 months — can be more often if requested
  • Case plan goals progress
  • Independent living and transition plan progress
  • Appropriate services are being provided
  • Court may order additional services

Permanency Review:

  • At least yearly
  • Make sure young adult understands
    • Permanency plan
    • Case plan
    • Individual education plan

Closing the Case

Case Stays Open Unless Court Finds Young Adult:

  • Waived their right to attend the hearing (in writing) after being informed of their right to attend;
  • Understands all that is available to them before age 21 and has signed a document stating they have been informed; or
  • The young adult has voluntarily left the program, has not signed the document, and is unwilling to participate in any further court proceeding.

Take 5: to Learn About Independent Living Services for Transitioning Youth

Florida's permanency roundtable (PRT) work group meets quarterly to discuss learning, share success stories and identify obstacles to expediting legal permanency for children in care. The group consists of representatives from ten community-based care agencies who conduct permanency roundtables and their Department of Children and Families Children's Legal Services partners.

The permanency roundtable work group has identified the issue of misunderstanding how legal permanency impacts a youth's access to independent living services as a systemic barrier to permanency for many older youth in Florida and across the country.

Its members have repeatedly seen decisions made against pursuing legal permanency for older youth due to misinformation on how permanency will negatively impact the youth's independent living benefits. Casey Family Programs has observed this same dynamic — we call it "policy mythology" — in permanency roundtables in nearly all of the thirty-five states that implement them.

To address this issue, Casey consultant Jane Soltis developed the Permanency at a Glance cheat sheet. It is a user-friendly reference that clarifies how the achievement of legal permanency impacts access to independent living services in Florida and contains important information for professionals, youth, their caregivers and potential permanency resources.

Please feel free to widely distribute the Permanency at a Glance cheat sheet and contact Jane Soltis at jmvsoltis.consult@gmail.com with any questions or comments.

I hope that you find this as useful as I did!

Permanency at a Glance cheat sheets

Take 5: to Learn About Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event

from material published by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
as found on the Florida's Center for Child Welfare website

A fundamental goal of parenting is to help children grow and thrive to the best of their potential. Parents anticipate protecting their children from danger whenever possible, but sometimes serious danger threatens, whether it is manmade, such as a school shooting or domestic violence, or natural, such as a flood or earthquake. And when a danger is life-threatening or poses a threat of serious injury, it becomes a potentially traumatic event for children.

By understanding how children experience traumatic events and how these children express their lingering distress over the experience, parents, physicians, communities and schools can respond to their children and help them through this challenging time. The goal is to restore balance to these children's lives and the lives of their families.

How Children May React

How children experience traumatic events and how they express their lingering distress depends, in large part, on the children's age and level of development. Preschool and young school-age children exposed to a traumatic event may experience a feeling of helplessness; uncertainty about whether there is continued danger; a general fear that extends beyond the traumatic event and into other aspects of their lives; and difficulty describing in words what is bothering them or what they are experiencing emotionally. This feeling of helplessness and anxiety is often expressed as a loss of previously acquired developmental skills. Children who experience traumatic events might not be able to fall asleep on their own or might not be able to separate from parents at school.

Children who might have ventured out to play in the yard prior to a traumatic event now might not be willing to play in the absence of a family member. Often, children lose some speech and toilet skills, or their sleep is disturbed by nightmares, night terrors, or fear of going to sleep. In many cases, children may engage in traumatic play — a repetitive and less imaginative form of play that may represent children's continued focus on the traumatic event or an attempt to change a negative outcome of a traumatic event.

For school-age children, a traumatic experience may elicit feelings of persistent concern over their own safety and the safety of others in their school or family. These children may be preoccupied with their own actions during the event. Often they experience guilt or shame over what they did or did not do during a traumatic event. School-age children might engage in constant retelling of the traumatic event, or they may describe being overwhelmed by their feelings of fear or sadness.

A traumatic experience may compromise the developmental tasks of school-age children as well. Children of this age may display sleep disturbances, which might include difficulty falling asleep, fear of sleeping alone, or frequent nightmares. Teachers often comment that these children are having greater difficulties concentrating and learning at school. Children of this age, following a traumatic event, may complain of headaches and stomach aches without obvious cause and some children engage in unusually reckless or aggressive behavior.

Adolescents exposed to a traumatic event feel self-conscious about their emotional responses to the event. Feelings of fear, vulnerability and concern over being labeled "abnormal" or different from their peers may cause adolescents to withdraw from family and friends. Adolescents often experience feelings of shame and guilt about the traumatic event and may express fantasies about revenge and retribution. A traumatic event for adolescents may foster a radical shift in the way these children think about the world. Some adolescents engage in self-destructive or accident-prone behaviors.

How to Help

The involvement of family, physicians, school and community is critical in supporting children through the emotional and physical challenges they face after exposure to a traumatic event.

  • For young children, parents can offer invaluable support, by providing comfort, rest and an opportunity to play or draw. Parents can be available to provide reassurance that the traumatic event is over and that the children are safe. It is helpful for parents, family and teachers to help children verbalize their feelings so that they don't feel alone with their emotions. Providing consistent caregiving by ensuring that children are picked up from school at the anticipated time and by informing children of parents' whereabouts can provide a sense of security for children who have recently experienced a traumatic event. Parents, family, caregivers and teachers may need to tolerate regression in developmental tasks for a period of time following a traumatic event.

  • Older children will also need encouragement to express fears, sadness and anger in the supportive environment of the family. These school-age children may need to be encouraged to discuss their worries with family members. It is important to acknowledge the normality of their feelings and to correct any distortions of the traumatic events that they express. Parents can be invaluable in supporting their children in reporting to teachers when their thoughts and feelings are getting in the way of their concentrating and learning.

  • For adolescents who have experienced a traumatic event, the family can encourage discussion of the event and feelings about it and expectations of what could have been done to prevent the event. Parents can discuss the expectable strain on relationships with family and peers, offering support in these challenges. It may be important to help adolescents understand "acting out" behavior as an effort to voice anger about traumatic events. It may also be important to discuss thoughts of revenge following an act of violence, address realistic consequences of actions and help formulate constructive alternatives that lessen the sense of helplessness the adolescents may be experiencing. When children experience a traumatic event, the entire family is affected.

Often, family members have different experiences around the event and different emotional responses to the traumatic event. Recognizing each others' experience of the event and helping each other cope with possible feelings of fear, helplessness, anger, or even guilt in not being able to protect children from a traumatic experience, is an important component of a family's emotional recovery.

For more information about child traumatic stress and the
National Child Traumatic Stress Network, visit nctsn.org or e-mail info@nctsn.org.

Take 5: to Learn About When Old Enough Is Old Enough

Question

Does the State of Florida specify an age at which it is legal to leave a child home alone? For example, when you go to the grocery store, a part time job or the child gets home before you do. What about going to places like public parks or to the mall alone?

Answer

The state of Florida does not have a law or policy that establishes a specific age at which a child may be left alone without adult supervision or be responsible for the care of another child (babysitting, for example). This decision must be based on each child's individual characteristics, such as level of maturity, knowledge and capabilities. This decision also depends on other variables, such as the geographic location of the home; proximity to an adult who could help in case of an emergency or other immediate need; or the availability of communication. Additional examples to consider are the distance to the nearest adult neighbor, availability of transportation and access to a telephone in the event of a crisis.

Such variables and considerations, as a part of a parent's or caregiver's overall decision making, apply to circumstances in which children are allowed to participate in activities or to visit certain locations without adult supervision. Examples are allowing children to visit public parks, pools, malls, movie theatres, etcetera, without a specific, responsible adult accompanying them. Such places add an additional element of possible harm to children due to the potential for predators or accidents.

While there is no stated age limitation in the state of Florida for allowing a child to be left without adult or other competent supervision, in general, parental responsibility in evaluating whether his or her child is of sufficient age, competence, maturity, etcetera, should consider the following factors, noting that this list not exhaustive nor all-encompassing.

  • Child's competence: age, maturity, behavior, habits, special needs and reaction to the supervision plan.
  • Immediate environment: home conditions, neighborhood, time of day, duration and frequency of time without supervision.
  • Presence and accessibility of a capable adult or person to assist with special problems; accessibility of the parent or other parent; and a plan to handle emergencies.
  • Responsibility and expectations; care for other children; cooking and using appliances.
  • Resources available to the parent to improve the supervision plan, if needed.

In essence, a parent or caregiver should consider whether the quality of the supervision plan places the child or children at risk of imminent and serious harm after evaluating his or her child's age, developmental needs, competence, maturity, environment, accessibility to a capable person to assist, etcetera.

There are many articles, publications and resources that might help you decide if your child, regardless of age, is mature enough to safely be left at home alone and to help you prepare your child for this step. Two related online resources for your review follow.

Please remember that if at any time you believe any child is being abused and/or neglected—without adequate supervision, for example—you should immediately call the Florida Abuse Hotline at (800) 962-2873.

The Florida Abuse Hotline also provides the following guidance on their website regarding age factors and children left alone or without appropriate supervision.

How old does a child have to be to be left home alone?

Chapter 39 of the Florida Statutes mandates that the Hotline be contacted when any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child of any age is being left home alone without adult supervision or arrangements appropriate for the child's age or mental or physical condition, so that the child is unable to care for the child's own needs or another's basic needs or is unable to exercise good judgment in responding to any kind of physical or emotional crisis.

The Hotline Counselor will assess the information provided in the call and make a determination of report acceptance or non-acceptance based on statutory criteria.

For more information on this or other topics, please contact our friends at Florida's Center for the Advancement of Child Welfare Practice.

Take 5: to Learn About Educational Plans

Today's topic is education plans available for all school-age children. Learn more about this important tool, review them for your children (GAL or otherwise) and be sure that schools are following their plans.

Question

What is an educational plan and who needs one?

Answer

An educational and career path plan is necessary for each child in foster care age thirteen and older. Developed with the youth, their foster parent, the case manager and the school, each plan should outline the youth's post-secondary goals and the path to achieving those goals. Thereafter, plans should be reviewed at each Judicial Review hearing.

The 2006 Legislature passed House Bill 7087 (A++) which included changes to the middle grades promotion requirements. One requirement states that students entering the sixth grade in 2006 must enroll in a semester-long course in career and education planning to be completed in the seventh or eighth grade.

As part of the course, students will develop a career and education plan using Florida CHOICES Planner or another career information system such as ePersonal Education Planner (ePEP). Schools must use one of the approved courses to meet this requirement. Some of the approved courses are designated as year-long. In those cases, the classroom teacher can determine which semester to implement the career and education content.

The Educator's Toolkit on Career and Education Planning was developed to assist teachers in planning a comprehensive middle school career course. It provides easy access to classroom activities, lesson plans and related web-based resources. Each module includes a module description, lesson plans with student handouts, recommended websites for additional information and a glossary for the unit.

  1. § 409.1451(3)(b)(1), Florida Statutes (2011).
  2. Florida Department of Education
  3. Florida's Center for the Practice of Child Welfare Practice

Take 5: to Learn About Home Studies

Question

We rely on home studies all the time, but do we know what is actually required to be in a home study? What is included in the home study?

Answer

At a minimum, a home study must include:

  1. An interview with the proposed legal custodians to assess their ongoing commitment and ability to care for the child.
  2. Records checks through the Florida Abuse Hotline Information System (FAHIS), and local and statewide criminal and juvenile records checks through the Department of Law Enforcement, on all household members 12 years of age or older and any other persons made known to the department who are frequent visitors in the home.
    1. Out-of-state criminal records checks must be initiated for any individual designated above who has resided in a state other than Florida provided that state's laws allow the release of these records. The out-of-state criminal records must be filed with the court within 5 days after receipt by the department or its agent.
  3. An assessment of the physical environment of the home.
  4. A determination of the financial security of the proposed legal custodians.
  5. A determination of suitable child care arrangements if the proposed legal custodians are employed outside of the home.
  6. Documentation of counseling and information provided to the proposed legal custodians regarding the dependency process and possible outcomes.
  7. Documentation that information regarding support services available in the community has been provided to the proposed legal custodians.

Additionally, a determination shall be made and documented regarding:

  1. the child's feelings on the placement if the child is of sufficient maturity, understanding, and experience to reliably express such feelings concerning placement in this home;
  2. whether each proposed caregiver understands and is able to meet the child's need for protection;
  3. whether each proposed caregiver understands the child's need for care and permanency and can provide long-term permanency if needed;
  4. whether each proposed caregiver has been informed regarding rights and responsibilities in the dependency process;
  5. whether each proposed caregiver will provide adequate and nurturing care and can ensure an adequate and safe home;
  6. whether each proposed caregiver has a history free of child abuse and free of a criminal record; and
  7. whether or not the placement is to be recommended and an explanation of the decision.
  1. § 39.521(2)(r)(1-7), Florida Statutes (2011).
  2. Rule 65C-28.012(2)(a)(b), Florida Administrative Code (2006).

Take 5: to Learn About Relative Caregiver Funds

Let's spend a few minutes today learning a little more about relative care giver funds with thanks to our friends at Florida's Center for the Advancement of Child Welfare Practice.

Question

What are the eligibility requirements for the relative caregiver program?

Answer

Relatives must be within the fifth degree by blood or marriage to the parent or stepparent; the child(ren) must be under age 18, placed as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment, adjudicated dependent, a United States citizen or qualified alien and reside in Florida and placed by a Florida court; there must be an approved home study; and there must be a court order placing children in temporary legal custody of the relative.

  1. § 39.5085(2)(a-e), Florida Statutes (2011).
  2. Rule 65C-28.008, Rule 65C-30.009(2)(c)b, Florida Administrative Code (2011).
  3. Operating Procedure № 175-79, Florida Department of Children and Families (2001).
Question

Can a relative get relative caregiver funds under the "Fit and Willing Relative" permanency goal?

Answer

Yes, if the relatives meet the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) relative caregiver eligibility requirements.

  1. § 39.5085(1)(c), Florida Statutes (2011).
Question

Can a relative get relative caregiver funds if the parent of the child lives in the home?

Answer

No, the parent and child cannot reside in the same home. If the parent is in the home thirty consecutive days or more, then the relative caregiver payment must be terminated. If the parent is under the age of eighteen, then the relative may receive the relative caregiver payment if both the minor parent and child have been adjudicated dependent and placed in the home by the court.

  1. Policy 2020.0402, Economic Self-Sufficiency Public Assistance Manual, Florida Department of Children and Families (2007).