Guardian Ad Litem

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					Guardian ad Litem
Attorney Training
TRAINING AGENDA

     Foundational Issues

     Path of a Case
     Appellate Practice

     Residential
     Treatment Centers
     and Psychotropic
     Medications

     Federal Legislation
              Duties of the GAL Team

GAL Volunteer
       Visits the child on a monthly basis and collects all information necessary to make a
       recommendation as to what is in the child's best interests.
       Compiles information in a report to the court and keeps GAL Program informed as to the
       child’s status.
GAL Case Coordinator
       Provides support and resources to the volunteer.
       Maintains contact with other agencies and ensures services for the child are in place.
       Maintains contact with volunteer and updates Program Attorney as to status of the child.
GAL Program Attorney
       Advocates for the best interests of child in court and dependency proceedings related to the
       child.
Program Director
       Manages the GAL Program and directs the case work activities of Program staff and
       volunteers.
       Performs a broad variety of tasks including recruiting, screening and training volunteers,
       assisting staff in Program responsibilities and submission of recommendations to the court.
       Ensures proper maintenance of case management records.
       Monitors and evaluates staff and volunteer compliance with Program Standards of
       Operation.



                                                                                                      5
           Guardian ad Litem Program
              Attorney Standards

Attorney Standards
      Professional and Practice Standards applicable to all Program
      Attorneys.
      The Program Attorney shall at all times advocate for the best interest
      of the child.
      The Program Attorney represents the GAL Program as a legal entity
      and the GAL Program team, which includes the GAL volunteer and the
      Case Coordinator.
      The Program Attorney Standards of Practice can be found on the P
      drive in the Attorneys folder. All Program Attorneys must review the
      Standards regularly to ensure compliance.




                                                                               6
  Confidentiality of Records and Open Hearings

All records and information required in dependency proceedings are
     confidential and exempt from public inspection or access. § 39.0132.
The statute lists who can access this information without court order:
        the child;
        the child’s parents;
        authorized court personnel;
        correctional probation officers;
        law enforcement agents;
        the guardian ad litem; and
        others entitled under chapter 39. See § 39.0132(3).
Dependency court records are only admissible in the following civil and
   criminal proceedings:
        appeal;
        perjury;
        disqualification;
        adoption; and
        those related to placement, parental time, adoption or termination of parental
        rights for the child or the sibling of a child whose rights have already been
        terminated. § 39.0132(6).




                                                                                         7
  Confidentiality of Records and Open Hearings

Abuse hotline reports and records are not open to public inspection.
        Section 39.202 governs the confidentiality of all reports and records held by the
        department, including reports made to the central abuse hotline regarding a
        child’s abandonment, abuse or neglect. Such reports and records are not open
        to public inspection.
        Anyone who “knowingly and willfully” discloses confidential information
        contained in the central abuse hotline or departmental records of child abuse,
        abandonment, or neglect, is guilty of a 2nd degree misdemeanor. §39.205(3).
Dependency hearings are open to the public, however the court may
   close any hearing or exclude someone in particular if the court
   determines “that the public interest or the welfare of the child is best
   served by doing so.” § 39.507(2).
Termination of Parental Rights hearings are closed to the public.
   §39.809(4).
        See Natural Parents of J.B. v. Florida DCF, 780 So. 2d 6 (Fla. 2001) (holding
        that closure is statutorily mandated, therefore the court need not make
        particular showing to justify closure).




                                                                                            8
The Program Attorney’s role is to keep volunteers
operating within the legal parameters of the dependency
court.
      This is especially important with regard to confidentiality of
      records.
      Volunteers may not fully appreciate the significance of
      maintaining confidentiality and it is important for the attorney
      to remind them of this. They are receivers of information not
      distributors of information.




                                                                         9
   Jurisdiction and Venue in
   Dependency Proceedings
Jurisdiction attaches either when the department takes a child into
custody or when a shelter, dependency or TPR petition is filed,
whichever is first. § 39.013(2).
Jurisdiction may be transferred within a circuit, between circuits, and
between states.
Once TPR has occurred, the court retains jurisdiction over the child
until the adoption is finalized. § 39.812(4).
ICWA determines the jurisdiction for Indian children, or those eligible
for tribal membership. ICWA and its implications are detailed later in
the presentation.




                                                                          10
          Jurisdiction and Venue in
          Dependency Proceedings
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
      Jurisdiction over dependency and TPR proceedings is vested in the
      circuit court. §§ 39.013(2), 39.801(2).
      The court hearing the dependency matter may also exercise
      jurisdiction over guardianship proceedings (Chapter 744) and relative
      custody proceedings (Chapter 751) involving the same child. §
      39.013(3).
      The court that conducted TPR proceedings is granted continuing
      jurisdiction for purposes of adoption (Chapter 63). § 39.813.
      Dependency issues may arise in other cases such as dissolution,
      custody, delinquency, and criminal. In the absence of local rules,
      transfer of such issues (custody, visitation, dependency, child support)
      to the court that hears dependency cases is provided by Rule 8.205(a).
      The shelter hearing shall be held by the circuit court, or the county
      court if so designated by the chief judge of the circuit court.
      §39.402(6)(a). Pursuant to § 39.402(12), all hearings conducted by a
      judge other than the juvenile court judge must be reviewed within 2
      working days of the original shelter hearing by the juvenile court judge.

                                                                                  11
            Jurisdiction and Venue in
            Dependency Proceedings
Personal Jurisdiction
       Jurisdiction over the child attaches upon the first of the following
       taking place:
        •   when a child is taken into custody by the department; or
        •   when a shelter, dependency, or TPR petition is filed. See § 39.013(2).
Other States’ Involvement
       Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
       Dependency proceedings are included in the UCCJEA’s definition of
       “custody proceeding,” and as a result are subject to the UCCJEA. §§
       61.501-61.503.
       Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) involves the
       placement of children by the sending agency to receiving state,
       typically under supervision of the child welfare agency in the other
       state, rather than the transfer of the court’s jurisdiction from one state
       to another. §§ 409.401- 409.405.
Transfer of Jurisdiction. Jurisdiction over dependency cases can
   be transferred within a circuit, between circuits, and between
   states, typically for reasons dealing with venue issues and
   convenience. Rule 8.205.

                                                                                     12
             Jurisdiction and Venue in
             Dependency Proceedings
Retention of Jurisdiction
        If a child has been adjudicated dependent, the court retains jurisdiction over
        the child until adoption or the age of 18 unless the court affirmatively
        relinquishes jurisdiction. §§ 39.013(2), 39.811(9).
        Dependent children may petition the court to retain jurisdiction for one year
        past their 18th birthday to determine whether appropriate aftercare support and
        other services have been provided or to meet any federal requirements with
        respect to the court’s ongoing jurisdiction pending issuance of a Special
        Immigration Juvenile Visa. § 39.013(2).
TPR cases
        Following TPR and permanent commitment of a child to the department, the
        court retains jurisdiction over the child until adoption is finalized, §39.812(4);
        during this time, the court may consider continued relative and parental
        contact, as well as appropriateness of adoptive placement under §39.811(7);
        under §39.813, the court that granted TPR retains jurisdiction over all matters
        pertaining to the adoption.
Termination of Jurisdiction
        The court in a dependency proceeding may terminate its jurisdiction under the
        following circumstances:
         •   the court finds that the department has not proved its case and the child is not dependent,
             and dismisses case, § 39.507(4);
         •   the court adjudicates the child dependent while in custody of one parent, and places the
             child with the non-custodial parent, §39.521(3)(b)1.; (continued on next slide)

                                                                                        CASE
                                                                                        LAW

                                                                                                           13
             Jurisdiction and Venue in
             Dependency Proceedings
Termination of Jurisdiction (cont’d)
        The court in a dependency proceeding may terminate its jurisdiction under the
        following circumstances:
         •   the court must retain jurisdiction in cases of placement with a fit and willing relative or
             another planned permanent living arraignment. §§ 39.6221(5), 39.6231(5), 39.6241;
         •   the child has been returned to parents or legal custodians, residing safely and continuously
             with the parents for at least 6 months. § 39.521(7); or
         •   termination in such cases is not mandatory, and many courts will choose to terminate
             supervision while retaining jurisdiction until the child reaches the age of 18. § 39.521(7).
A motion may be filed by any party to terminate department supervision,
   jurisdiction of the court, or both, pursuant to Rule 8.345(b).
        However, the court cannot terminate its jurisdiction unless child is returned to
        parents or placed in a home providing child with permanency, and has been
        there for six months. Rule 8.345(b), 8.415(f)(5).
Venue
        The venue in a dependency case is in either the county in which the child and
        parents reside, or the county where the alleged abandonment, abuse or
        neglect occurred.
        Venue can also be with an Indian tribe, if the child is Indian, pursuant to ICWA.



                                                                                                            14
Department policy is that they cannot transfer a case to
another circuit without the receiving circuit’s permission.
       Remember that you can still request that the court transfer a
       case over the department's objection, if a transfer is in the
       child’s best interests, but remember to also address issues of
       delay in this request (assignment of a courtesy worker,
       referrals for services, relative caregiver funds and any other
       task the receiving department district will need to address).




                                                                        15
   Defining Parties and Participants

Parties to dependency proceedings include the parents, the petitioner,
the department, the GAL and the child. § 39.01(50).
        Section 39.820 defines the GAL to include, among others, the Program. Thus,
        it is the Program and not the child, volunteer or staff GAL that is the client.
Participants to dependency proceedings include any person who is not a
party but should receive notice of hearings involving the child.
        Examples of potential participants are foster parents, prospective parents,
        grandparents, actual custodians of the child or any other person whose
        participation may be in the best interest of the child. § 39.01(49).
        The safe and timely interstate placement of foster children requires notification
        of some participants.
The child has the right to be present unless the court finds that
appearance is not in the best interests of the child. §39.01(50), Rule
8.255(b).
        The child’s mental and physical condition and age should be considered in
        making this determination. Rule 8.255(b).




                                                                                            16
                      Continuances
The Program Attorney shall:
      Advocate for timely hearings to ensure that permanency for the child is
      reached as quickly as possible; and
      Only request case continuances in extraordinary circumstances and
      shall make reasonable efforts to expeditiously conclude litigation.
There are specific time limitations that affect when shelter,
   arraignment, adjudicatory and disposition hearings must be
   held .
The court is required to:
      Limit continuances to the amount absolutely necessary to preserve the
      best interests of the child or the rights of a party. § 39.0136.
      Limit the cumulative days permitted for continuances permitted by ALL
      parties to 60 days. § 39.0136(3).




                                                                    CASE
                                                                    LAW
                                                                                17
Because continuances delay permanency for the child, it
is crucial that the Program Attorney scrutinize each
request for a continuance and only agree when necessary
and in the child’s best interests.




                                                          18
                 Presence of the Child
Presence in Court
        The child has the right to be present unless the court finds that the child’s
        appearance is not in the best interests of the child. § 39.01(50).
        The Program Attorney shall take steps necessary to ensure the child’s
        attendance at hearings when appropriate.
         •   In making this determination with the GAL Program, the Program Attorney shall consider:
             the age, maturity and desires of the child; the purpose of the hearing; the advice of those
             consulted; and the potential risk of trauma to the child evoked by such attendance.
Testifying
        If the child has been subpoenaed by another party to testify at hearing, the
        Program Attorney and the GAL Program shall determine if testifying is in the
        child’s best interests.
         •   The Program Attorney and the GAL Program must determine the possible benefits and
             repercussions of testifying and the necessity of the child’s direct testimony.
         •   Consideration should be given to the availability of other evidence or hearsay exceptions
             that may substitute for direct testimony.
         •   If it is determined that it would not be in the child’s best interest to testify, the Program
             Attorney should seek an agreement of the parties not to call the child as a witness or utilize
             other remedies such as an order from the court to limit the scope or circumstances of the
             testimony.
         •   If the child is compelled to testify, the Program Attorney should seek to minimize the
             consequences by seeking appropriate accommodations as allowed by law such as in
             camera testimony, videotaped testimony or testimony via closed circuit television (all
             require motion and hearing as well as specific findings of fact).
         •   The court can limit the number of times a child is subject to testimony. See § 92.55(3);
             Rule 8.245(i)(4).




                                                                                                              19
    Appointment of the Guardian ad
           Litem Program
Appointment of Guardian ad Litem (GAL) shall occur at the
earliest possible time in any civil or criminal abuse, neglect, or
abandonment judicial proceeding.
       See §§ 39.402(8)(c)(1); 39.807(2); 39.822. Rule 8.215;
       8.305(b)(7)(A); 8.510(a)(2)(C).


The GAL Program is required to accept the appointment and shall
assign staff or a volunteer within 30 days of the order of
appointment or shall file a motion for discharge.

Once appointed, the GAL Program remains appointed until
discharged by the court.



                                                                CASE
                                                                LAW

                                                                       20
Q&A


  The Program Attorney’s Client is …?

  The Program Attorney represents the GAL
  Program as a legal entity. The GAL Program
  is the clearly defined client.
Q&A


  When does Jurisdiction attach?

  Jurisdiction attaches either when the
  department takes a child into custody or
  when a shelter, dependency or TPR petition is
  filed, whichever is first. § 39.013(2).
Q&A


  Abuse hotline reports are open to public
  inspection.

      a. True
      b. False


      False. Abuse hotline reports are
        confidential, even from the GAL.
Q&A


  Which of the following is not a party to the
  dependency preceding?

      a. The child
      b. The parents
      c. The grandparents

  Grandparents may petition to become participants but they are
  not a party to the case. § 39.01(50).
Q&A


  The child may only attend court proceedings
  if absolutely necessary.

  a. True
  b. False
      The child has the right to be present unless the
      court finds that appearance is not in the best
      interests of the child. §39.01(51), Rule 8.255(b).
Q&A


  The GAL Program remains appointed until:

      a.   Discharged by the court
      b.   The Termination of Parental Rights hearing
      c.   Judicial Review
      d.   Case Plan Conference

      The GAL Program remains appointed until
        discharged by the court.
TRAINING AGENDA

     Foundational Issues
     Path of a Case

     Appellate Practice

     Residential
     Treatment Centers
     and Psychotropic
     Medications

     Federal Legislation
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          28
Shelter Hearing




                  29
                     Shelter Hearings

Summary and Purpose
     The shelter hearing is a non-adversarial hearing, which takes place
     within 24 hours of removal. §§ 39.402(8)(a), 39.401(3).
       •   Shelter hearing means a hearing in which the court determines whether
           probable cause exists to keep a child in shelter status pending further
           investigation of the case. § 39.01(68).
       •   The court considers the department’s affidavit and petition and other
           evidence, if presented, to determine if probable cause exists to remove a
           child or keep a child in shelter status pending further investigation of the
           case. § 39.402(1).
     The shelter hearing is comparable to a first appearance, except that
     parents have the right to be heard and present evidence.
     § 39.402(5)(b)(1).
     Shelter is temporary placement for the child with a relative or
     nonrelative, or in a licensed home or facility, for the temporary care of
     the child who is alleged to be or has been found to be dependent,
     pending disposition before or after adjudication. § 39.01(67).
     GAL Program (Case Coordinator and Program Attorney) attends and
     the GAL Program is appointed.
                                                                                          30
                              Shelter Hearings
Probable Cause for Removal
         The court must find probable cause (standard of proof necessary for an arrest warrant)
         that:
          •   the child has been abused, neglected or abandoned; or
          •   there has been a material violation of a condition of placement; or
          •   the child has no parent; AND
          •   available services will not eliminate the need for removal. §§ 39.402(8)(d)1, 39.402(2).
         The court may base its determination on the sworn complaint, testimony or affidavit, or
         written/oral reports.
         Evidence may be considered to the extent of its probative value even though it would not
         be competent for an adjudicatory hearing.

This determination must include a description of which specific services, if
   available, could prevent the need for removal or continued removal from the
   home and the date by which the services are expected to become available. §
   39.402(10)(a). If services are not available, there must be an explanation as to
   why. § 39.407(10)(b).

The court is also required to:
1) ask the parents whether there are any potential relative placements,
    § 39.402(17);
2) find that the department did (or did not) make reasonable efforts to prevent
    removal; and
3) inform the parents that if they fail to comply with their case plan, the Court may
    terminate their parental rights. § 39.402(18).




                                                                                                         31
                          Shelter Hearings

Issues to be considered at Shelter Hearing
       Placement
         •   If the court grants the shelter petition, the court must determine placement.
         •   Safety of the child is the paramount consideration in making placement decisions. 42
             U.S.C. § 671 (15)(A).
         •   Placement options
               –    any person for whom the department has a positive home study; or
               –    custody to the department with permission to release without further hearing to court specified
                    person upon positive home study; or
               –    custody to the department with permission to release without further hearing to person selected by
                    the department upon positive home study; or
               –    custody to the department with directions for a home study for a specified person.
         •   the child MUST be placed with a non-offending parent who seeks custody of the child if
             there is a completed home study and the placement does not endanger the safety, well-
             being or physical, mental or emotional health of the child. § 39.521(3)(b).
       Visitation
         •   Visitation should be ordered unless there is a clear and convincing showing that visitation
             is not in the best interests of the child. § 39.402(9).
         •   Visitation should begin within 72 hours of the shelter hearing. § 39.402(9).
         •   Visitation with siblings should occur at least once a week and visitation with parents should
             occur at least once a month unless the court orders otherwise. §§ 39.4085(15),
             39.4085(16).




                                                                                                                         32
                        Shelter Hearings
Issues to be considered at Shelter Hearing (cont’d)
        Child Support
         •   Parents to pay child support if the child is placed outside of the home.
        School
         •   Consideration should be given to location of child’s previous school and new school
             if necessary.
         •   If it appears that the child’s placement out of his or her previous school district will be
             limited or temporary, the GAL Program may consider asking the court to order the
             department or other approved person to provide transportation to maintain continuity
             for the child.
         •   The department, the Department of Education and local district school boards are
             required to enter into interagency agreements to keep foster children in their home
             schools, stabilize their education and improve planning for their educational goals.
        Counseling
         •   Counseling may be appropriate and necessary and can begin immediately.
         •   Program Attorney should ask that counseling be ordered to ensure department’s
             compliance.
        Potential Need to Impose Restrictions (no-contact orders) or Consideration of
        any Other Orders
        Substance abuse assessments
          can be ordered for anyone with custody or anyone requesting custody of the child.
         § 39.407 (16).




                                                                                                           33
To avoid conflicting orders, the Program Attorney should
inquire about any other restrictions/orders arising from
other cases involving the family (delinquency, domestic
relations, or domestic violence) at the Shelter Hearing.
      See Checklist




                                                           34
Q&A


  The Shelter Hearing takes place within 36
  hours of the child’s removal.

  a. True
  b. False
      The shelter hearing takes place within 24 hours of removal.
      §§ 39.402(8)(a), 39.401(3).
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          36
                Dependency Petition

Contents of Dependency Petition
       A dependency petition shall:
        •   Allege sufficient facts showing the child to be dependent based upon
            applicable laws. Rule 8.310(a)(1).
        •   Contain allegations as to the identity and residence of the parents or legal
            custodians, if known. Rule 8.310(a)(2).
        •   Identify the age, sex, and name of the child.
      Two or more children may be the subject of the same petition. Rule
      8.310(a)(3).
      The dependency petition may be amended at any time prior to the
      conclusion of the adjudicatory hearing. Rule 8.310(c).

   The dependency petition may be amended after an adjudication by
      permission of the court or consent of all parties. Rule 8.310(c).




                                                                                           37
The Program Attorney may file a dependency petition
when necessary.
      Before filing, the Program Attorney should thoroughly review
      Rule 8.310 and § 39.501.
      Remember to comply with the Rules of Juvenile Procedure
      regarding service of the petition and diligent searches.




                                                                     38
                         Discovery

Demands for Discovery
      The Program Attorney shall file a demand for discovery in each case.
      The Program Attorney must ensure a discovery request is for
      information that cannot be obtained from another source that may be
      more timely and responsive.
Response to Demand for Discovery
      A response to a demand for discovery must be filed within 15 days of
      service of the request. Rule 8.245(d)(2).
      The Program Attorney shall redact any work product from GAL
      Program files before the file is reviewed by any other party.
Depositions
      Any party may take the deposition upon oral examination of any
      person who may have information relevant to the allegations in the
      petition. Rule 8.245(g).




                                                                             39
                                      Discovery

Depositions (cont’d)
       Depositions may be used at any hearing for the purposes of:
         •   Impeachment.
         •   Testimonial evidence if the deponent is unavailable because:
               –   he or she is dead;
               –   he or she lives farther than 100 miles from the place of hearing or is out of state unless it appears
                   that the absence of the witness was procured by the party offering the deposition;
               –   no service (and proof that proper service attempted);
               –   he or she is unable to testify because of age, illness, infirmity or imprisonment;
               –   it has been shown on application and notice that such exceptional circumstances exist as to make it
                   desirable, in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony
                   of witnesses orally in open court, to allow the deposition to be used; or
               –   the witness is an expert. Rule 8.245(g)(3).
       The court may set conditions for the depositions of a child under the age of 16
       AFTER proper notice and an evidentiary hearing where good cause is shown.
       Rule 8.245(i)(2).
         •   “good cause” is shown based on the following considerations:
               –   the age of the child;
               –   the nature of the allegations;
               –   the relationship between the child victim and the alleged abuser;
               –   the child has undergone previous interviews that were recorded;
               –   the examination would adversely affect the child; or
               –   the manifest best interest of the child require the limitations or restrictions.




                                                                                                                             40
Because the GAL Program will typically share a similar
general position to either the department or the parents,
the Program Attorney should discuss the possibility of
another party setting the deposition and thus covering the
costs.
      Both the department and the court-appointed parent’s
      attorneys have resources for depositions and our funds are
      quite limited — save resources for when you are the only
      person requesting a deposition.
      Requests for any legal expenses must be first approved by
      the Supervising Attorney who will then submit the request to
      the Statewide Office.



                                                                     41
           Interstate Compact on the
          Placement of Children (ICPC)
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
      A full text of the compact can be found at: http://icpc.aphsa.org.
ICPC is the only statutory mechanism the courts have to ensure
   that children who are placed across state lines are protected
   and provided proper service.
The law ensures that:
      The child is placed in a suitable environment and supervised, if
      requested;
      The receiving state has the opportunity to assess proposed
      placements;
      The sending state obtains adequate information so that a placement
      may be evaluated; and
      The appropriate jurisdictional arrangements are made for the care of
      the child, including financial support.




                                                                             42
               Interstate Compact on the
              Placement of Children (ICPC)
An order is required before ICPC can be begun by the department.
Case law in Florida requires a completed ICPC before a child can be placed out of
   state.
         See DCF v. Benway, 745 So.2d 437 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1999) where the court reversed an
         order placing a dependent child with the natural father in Vermont despite Vermont’s
         approval of the placement because the order did not comply with ICPC.
An expedited ICPC typically averages approximately 3 months and a regular ICPC
    averages 6 months. However, recent federal legislation gives financial
    incentives to states that move ICPC’s through more quickly so it is anticipated
    that the length of time will shorten.
ICPC approval is not automatic—some states will not approve nonrelatives until
    they have become licensed foster parents and some states require even
    relatives to become licensed foster parents.
Non-custodial parents
         ICPC home study is required to place with a non-custodial parent.
Visits
         With the receipt of an approved home study, the child may visit out of state for a maximum
         of 30 days. A visit may last longer than 30 days if during a school vacation (i.e. summer
         break) but there must be a definite ending date.
Out-of-State Funding
         Be cautious about out-of-state placements because funding may not transfer with the child.
         ICPC requires the sending state to retain financial responsibility for the child, but Florida
         often will not pay relative caregiver benefits to out-of-state placements.
         The Florida case worker will often have to assist the out-of-state placement with applying
         for Medicaid in their own state (the Program Attorney may want to have court order this).


                                                                                                         43
              ICPC – New Legislation

Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of
  2006
•   The Act will facilitate the adoption of children in foster care in the
    following ways:
         Adds new federal requirements relating to the placement of children in
         foster care across state lines, ensuring that receiving states complete
         required home studies (assessment of the suitability of a possible
         placement) of prospective adoptive families within 60 days of receiving
         the request from the state with responsibility for the child;

        Authorizes payment of incentives of $1,500 per interstate home study
        for home studies completed within 30 days; and

        Requires more frequent visits by caseworkers to children placed
        outside the state with responsibility for the child (i.e., every 6 months
        rather than the current requirement of every 12 months).



                                                                                    44
It is crucial that the Program Attorney identify any
potential out-of-state placements as early in the case as
possible and ICPC is ordered as the process can take a
long time.

Follow-up is mandatory.




                                                            45
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          46
                                     Case Plans
Case Plan Conferencing or Dependency Mediation are useful and
efficient means of resolving contested issues and agreeing on the
disposition of the case.
      In many circuits, a Case Plan Conference, Family Team Conference
      or Dependency Mediation is scheduled at the inception of the case.
      The case plan must be developed in a face-to-face conference with
      the parent of the child, the GAL, the custodian and if appropriate, the
      child.
The Case Plan
      The case plan is a plan to address the parents’ behavior that created the risk to the child.
      The services in the case plan must be designed to achieve permanency within the
      applicable time frames.
      The services must be the least intrusive possible, must focus on clearly defined objectives
      and must provide the most efficient path to quick reunification or permanent placement.
      The case plan must be signed by all parties and adopted by the court.
      The case plan must include a description of the tasks with which the parent must comply
      and the services to be provided as well as:
        • the type of services or treatment;
        • frequency of services or treatment;
        • location of the delivery of services; and
        • the accountable department staff or service provider. § 39.6012(1)(b).


                                                                                        CASE
                                                                                        LAW
                                                                                                     47
                               Case Plans

The case plan must also include:
       the permanency goal and type of placement for the child;
       any concurrent planning goals;
       the type of home or institution in which the child is placed;
       the financial support obligation to the child;
       the visitation rights and obligations of the parents;
       the safety and appropriateness of the child’s placement;
       the efforts to be undertaken to maintain the stability of the child’s educational
       placement;
       the plan to ensure that appropriate services are provide to the parents, the child
       and the caretakers; and
       written notice to the parent that the failure of the parent to comply with the case
       plan may result in TPR, and that a material failure to substantially comply may
       result in the filing of a TPR petition sooner than the compliance periods in the
       case plan. §§ 39.6011, 39.6012.
The case plan must be limited to as short a period as possible for the
  accomplishment of its provisions and in any case, expires 12 months
  after the date the child was initially removed from the home or the date
  the case plan was accepted by the court, whichever was first. §
  39.6011(2)(d).


                                                                                             48
                               Case Plans

                        Amending the case plan
The case plan can be amended by the court or motion of any party
   with a showing of the preponderance of the evidence to:
   change the goal; use concurrent planning; or add or remove
   tasks for the parents. § 39.6013(4).
To amend services for the child, party must show competent
   evidence showing need for amendment. § 39.6013(5).
The need to amend the case plan may be based on information
   discovered or circumstances arising after approval of the case
   plan:
       a previously unaddressed condition;
       the child’s need for permanency;
       the failure of a party to substantially comply with a task in the original case plan,
        including the ineffectiveness of a previously offered service; or
       an error or oversight in the case plan. § 39.6013(4).




                                                                                                49
                          Case Plans

            Concurrent Planning
Concurrent case plans
   A concurrent case plan establishes a permanency goal that uses
    reasonable efforts to reunify the child with the parent, while at the
    same time establishing another permanency goal such as
    permanent guardianship or adoption. §39.01(18).
6 Month Judicial Review
   At this Judicial Review, the court must review the permanency goal
    and make findings regarding the likelihood of reunification within 12
    months after removal.
   If the court makes findings that reunification is not likely, the
    department must file a motion to amend the case plan and declare
    that it will use concurrent planning.
   The department’s motion must be filed no later than 10 business
    days after receiving the written finding of the court. § 39.701(9)(e).


                                                                             50
Program Attorneys must review the case plan to make sure that
it is legally sufficient and will support future action, such as TPR.
        Services to parents must be offered continuously, or the TPR may fail
        strict scrutiny and reasonable efforts analysis.
        Material Breach of case plan may lead to earlier filing of a TPR
        petition sooner than the compliance period in case plan.
        Substantial Noncompliance may result in TPR.
        In addition, Program Attorneys must make sure that the services
        reflected in the case plan are being provided.
The Program Attorney should be prepared to file the necessary
motions to amend the case plan as needed as new issues
regularly arise throughout the course of the case and must be
addressed in an amended case plan.
        Preponderance of the evidence demonstrating need for amendment:
        goal change, use of concurrent planning, or adding / removing tasks
        for parents.
        Competent evidence demonstrating need for amendment: services
        for the child. 39.6013(5).


                                                                                51
             Case Plan Conferencing &
              Dependency Mediation
An informal meeting where the parents, department (attorney and
   case worker) and GAL (Program Attorney and Case
   Coordinator or volunteer) meet to discuss proposed case plan
   tasks.
Mediation
      Many circuits have dependency mediation programs.
      Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third person, a mediator, acts
      to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or
      more parties.
      If an agreement is reached, a formal agreement is reduced to writing
      and submitted to the court.
      All information revealed during the course of mediation is confidential,
      unlike case plan conferencing, except for new reports of abuse or
      neglect.
      The parents may mediate their cases together but certain types of
      cases, such as those involving domestic violence, should be mediated
      separately.

                                                                                 52
It is essential that the Program Attorney carefully review
     the case plan at the case plan conference to ensure
     that all issues are addressed in the case plan.
•   Be sure to have internal staffing to know all facts -- do your own
    investigation.
•   Advocate for appropriate tasks & services for parents and child.
•   Be sure case plan requirements are met.
•   Continually advocate for case plan amendments if appropriate:
        Preponderance of the evidence demonstrating need for
        amendment: goal change, use of concurrent planning, or
        adding / removing tasks for parents.
        Competent evidence demonstrating need for amendment:
        services for the child. 39.6013(5).
        See Checklist


                                                                         53
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          54
Arraignment Hearing




                      55
                Arraignment Hearing

Summary and Purpose
       At the arraignment hearing the parents/legal custodians will enter pleas in
       response to the Petition for Dependency. § 39.506(1). This hearing is similar to
       arraignment in criminal court, except the court also reviews issues related to
       the child such as shelter placement and visitation.
A paternity inquiry should be conducted if paternity has not been
    established.
The court will conduct a shelter review at this time to address issues of
    placement, visitation, and whether the department has made
    reasonable efforts to prevent removal or the need for removal.
If counsel not appointed at shelter, one will be appointed at the
    arraignment hearing.
As at the shelter hearing, the court may order substance abuse
    assessments for anyone with custody or seeking custody of the child
    (including the parents).
The court shall also remind the parents of the requirement to notify the
    court of any suitable relative placements.



                                                                                          56
                     Arraignment Hearing

Time Frames
          Must be held within 28 days of shelter for a child sheltered out of the home. §
          39.506(1).
          Must be held within a reasonable time for a child not sheltered. § 39.506(2).
Other Time Frames
          The court is required to hold a status hearing within 60 days of the petition and
          every 30 days thereafter until an adjudicatory or disposition hearing begins.
          Rule 8.315(d).
          If there is a violation of the time requirements for filing a petition the court shall
          make a written determination regarding the child’s continued placement in
          shelter within 24 hours of such violation. § 39.506(8).
          If a continuance is requested after a parent/legal custodian consents, delaying
          the date of disposition hearing past 15 days, the court shall make a written
          determination of the child’s continued placement in shelter before granting any
          such continuances. § 39.506(8).
Service
          The Petitioner, typically the department, is responsible for serving the parent at
          least 72 hours before the arraignment hearing. § 39.501(4).
          Personal appearance eliminates the need for service. § 39.502(2).
          If the parent is served but fails to appear, this constitutes a consent to the
          dependency petition. § 39.506(3).

                                                                                                   57
                   Arraignment Hearing
Diligent Search
       If a parent’s/prospective parent’s location is unknown, ask the court to order
       diligent search.
       At a minimum, section 39.503(5),(6) requires inquiries of:
         •   all relatives of parent;
         •   all program offices of the department likely to have information regarding the parent;
         •   other state and federal agencies;
         •   utility and postal providers; and
         •   law enforcement.
       If there is no affidavit of diligent search, or the search is not satisfactory, then
       the department must continue its efforts to complete a successful search.
Parent’s Plea
       The parent may admit, consent or deny the dependency petition.
       If the parent enters an admission or consent, the court must make a finding that
       the plea is made knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently and that the
       parent/custodian has a full understanding of the nature of the allegations and
       the possible consequences as well as his or her right to counsel.
       If the parent enters an admission/consent, disposition should be set within 15
       days. § 39.506(1).
       If the parent enters a denial, the adjudicatory hearing should occur within 30
       days. § 39.507(1).

                                                                                                      58
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          59
Adjudicatory Hearing




                       60
               Adjudicatory Hearing

If the parent enters a denial to the dependency petition, an
    adjudicatory hearing must be conducted by the court.

Summary and Purpose
       The petitioner must prove the allegations of the petition for
       dependency by a preponderance of evidence. § 39.507(1)(b). The
       court may enter an order stating that the allegations were sustained by
       clear and convincing evidence. Rule 8.330(a).
       The hearing must be held as soon as practicable after the petition for
       dependency is filed, but no more than 30 days after arraignment. §
       39.507(1)(a).
       Rules of evidence in use in civil cases apply at the adjudicatory
       hearing. § 39.507(1)(b); Rule 8.330(a).




                                                                                 61
               Adjudicatory Hearing

Adjudication
      If dependency is proved, the court must decide whether to withhold
      adjudication or adjudicate the child dependent.
      To withhold adjudication, the court must find that no other action other
      than supervision in the child’s home is required, i.e., the child must be
      placed in the home with the parent. § 39.507(5).
      If adjudication is withheld and the parents do not comply with the
      conditions of supervision, the court may adjudicate without further
      evidence regarding dependency after a hearing to establish the
      parents’ non-compliance. § 39.507(5).
Continuances
      The court is required to limit continuances to the amount necessary to
      preserve the best interests of the child or the rights of a party, §
      39.0136(3), which limits the cumulative days permitted for
      continuances permitted by ALL parties to 60 days.




                                                                                  62
Relative caregiver monies will not go into effect until the
child has been adjudicated dependent.
       This is another reason for the Program Attorney to be diligent
       about ensuring that the case moves forward as quickly as
       possible.


See the Relative Caregiver Handbook available on
www.flkin.org.
       The relative may be able to receive child-only temporary cash
       assistance benefits until the relative caregiver funds begin.




                                                                        63
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          64
Disposition Hearing




                      65
               Disposition Hearing
Summary and Purpose
     The disposition hearing is a hearing at which the judge considers
     reports, recommendations and other evidence regarding the child’s
     placement while the parents work to correct the problems that led to
     dependency. The judge also reviews the case plan developed by the
     parties to determine if it addresses all of the problems affecting the
     child. § 39.521(1).
     Must occur within 30 days of the adjudicatory hearing. § 39.507(8).
     Both the department and the GAL Program should file pre-disposition
     reports at least 72 hours prior to disposition.




                                                                              66
                   Disposition Hearing
Summary and Purpose (cont’d)
       There are extensive requirements for the department’s pre-disposition report,
       see § 39.521, and the pre-disposition report should be carefully reviewed by
       the Program Attorney to ensure accuracy and to obtain information.
       At the disposition hearing, the court will consider:
        •   placement alternatives;
        •   visitation;
        •   services for the child or parents;
        •   child support;
        •   ICPC; and
        •   any other issues raised by the parties (note: many of these issues will have previously
            been heard by the court and may not be re-heard at disposition).
Non-offending/non-custodial parents
       If the court places with the child with a non-offending/non-custodial parent, the
       court may either:
        •   Order the parent to assume sole custodial responsibilities for the child, provide reasonable
            visitation for the other parent and terminate the court’s jurisdiction over the child; or
        •   Order the parent to assume custody subject to the jurisdiction, giving the other parent the
            opportunity to obtain reunification with the child. § 39.521(3)(b) L.F. v. Department of
            Children and Families, 837 So.2d 1098 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003)




                                                                                                           67
               Disposition Hearing

Evidentiary Issues
      Hearsay is admissible.

      The court may rely upon any relevant and material evidence helpful
      (including oral and written reports) in determining the proper
      disposition to be made—even if this evidence would not be competent
      in an adjudicatory hearing.




                                                                            68
The visitation schedule should not be left to the discretion
of the department or caretakers of the child.
       The Program Attorney should explore this issue before the
       disposition hearing and then make a recommendation as to
       what visitation schedule would be in the best interest of the
       child.
       Remember the possible impact the lack of visitation may have
       on future proceedings.
Practitioners may wish to consider the legislative intent
that children in dependency proceedings have regular
visitation with siblings and parents: at least once a week
with siblings and once a month with parents, unless the
court orders otherwise.

                                                                       69
Q&A


  Which of the following must the GAL Program
  and the department file 72 hours prior to
  disposition?

      a. Motion to Dismiss
      b. Pre-Disposition Report
      c. Diligent Search
      d. Case Plan

      b. Pre-Disposition Report
Q&A


  Hearsay is admissible at the Disposition
  Hearing.

  a. True
  b. False


  a. True
                Case Plan Approval

Summary and Purpose
     Hearing at which the judge reviews the case plan developed by the
     parties to determine if it addresses the parents’ behavior that created
     the risk to the child and is consistent with previous court orders and
     statutory requirements.
       • The court may order changes and court approval of the plan is required.
       • A case plan is required for every child.
     Typically occurs concurrently with disposition.
     If the parent was unwilling or unable to participate in the case planning
     process, the case plan can be accepted by the court over the parent’s
     objection. §39.603.




                                                                                   72
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          73
Judicial Review




                  74
                         Judicial Review
Summary and Purpose
      Evidentiary review by the court to:
        •   determine status of the child;
        •   ensure compliance with case plan; and
        •   review need for changes to case plan and placement, and to maintain focus on safety of the
            child and permanent placement.
      Review is required for both out-of-home and in-home placements.
      Initial judicial review hearing must be held no later than 90 days after the date
      of the disposition hearing or after the date of the hearing at which the court
      approves the case plan, whichever comes first, but in no event shall the review
      be held later than 6 months after the date the child was removed from the
      home. § 39.701 (3)(a).
      Judicial review hearings must occur at least every 6 months.
      The department and the GAL Program must provide (to all parties) a Judicial
      Review Report at least 72 hours prior to the judicial review hearing.
        •   § 39.701 (6)(b) does not require providing parents who have surrendered or whose rights
            have been terminated with a copy of the report.
      39.701 addresses what is required to be in the department’s Judicial Review
      Report.
      Foster parents, legal custodians and pre-adoptive parents must be permitted to
      address the court. § 39.701(7)(d).


                                                                                                         75
                        Judicial Review
Case Plan Compliance
       The court will make a finding regarding case plan compliance by the parents
       (non-compliant, marginally compliant, substantially compliant) and the
       department.
       If the court determines that the parents have failed to substantially comply with
       their case plan to the degree that further reunification efforts are without merit
       and not in the best interests of the child, the court may order the filing of a TPR
       petition before the time period in the case plan for substantial compliance has
       elapsed. § 39.701(9)(d).
Reunification
       If the court finds that the parents have substantially complied with their case
       plan(s) and reunification would not be detrimental to the child’s safety, well-
       being, and physical, mental and emotional health, the court must return the
       child. § 39.701(9)(b).
       If the family is reunified, the court must retain jurisdiction for at least 6 months.
       § 39.701.
Evidentiary Issues
       Hearsay is admissible.
       The court may rely upon any relevant and material evidence helpful in making
       decisions even if this evidence would not be competent in an adjudicatory
       hearing.

                                                                                               76
Program Attorneys should ensure that in addition to
review of the child’s placement, the judicial review
encompasses all aspects of the child’s well being, such
as:
      Medical, psychological and educational needs;
      Visitation with siblings and other relatives; and
      Additional services needed to meet any special needs of the
      child.




                                                                    77
Q&A


  Judicial Review Hearings must occur at least
    every

      a.   3 months
      b.   6 months
      c.   2 months
      d.   Yearly

      b. 6 months
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          79
Permanency Hearing




                     80
               Permanency Hearing
Summary and Purpose
      The purpose of the permanency hearing is to determine when the child
      will achieve the permanency goal or whether modifying the current
      goal is in the best interest of the child. §39.621.
A permanency hearing is required:
      Within 12 months of the child’s removal; or
      Within 30 days of a judicial determination that reasonable efforts to
      reunify are not required. 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(15)(E).
      After the initial permanency hearing, subsequent permanency
      hearings must be held every 12 months while the child is in care.
      §39.621(1).
The court may hold permanency hearings at any time.
      Permanency hearings may be held in conjunction with a judicial review
      hearing provided that all necessary inquiries and findings are made.




                                                                              81
                 Permanency Hearing
Permanency Goals in Order of Priority
        Reunification;
        Adoption;
        Permanent guardianship under §39.6221;
        Permanent placement with a fit and willing relative under §39.6231; or
        Another planned, permanent living arrangement (APPLA) if “compelling
        reason” for the child’s placement in APPLA exists.
Under federal and state law, adoption is the preferred legal option when a
   child cannot safely return home.

At the Permanency Hearing, the court shall determine:
        Whether the permanency goal is appropriate;
        Whether the child will achieve one of the permanency goals; and
        Whether the department has made reasonable efforts to finalize the
        permanency plan currently in effect. §39.621(4).

The best interest of the child is the primary consideration in determining
   the permanency goal for the child.
        The court must also consider the preference of the child if appropriate; and
        The recommendation of the GAL. §39.621(5).


                                                                                       82
     Permanency Options Other than
        Reunification or Adoption

Permanent Guardianship, §39.6221
 Requires placement for preceding 6 months.
 The court must find that it is unlikely that the child or guardian will need further
services or supervision from the department.
 Jurisdiction is retained but no further court reviews are required.
 The parents retain the right to consent to the child’s adoption and the responsibility to
provide financial, medical and other support to the child.
 The court order must:
          State why adoption is not appropriate;
          Establish visitation between parents, siblings and grandparents;
          Prohibit the permanent guardian from returning the child to the person from who
          the child was removed without the approval of the court; and
          Transfer parental rights with respect to the child relating to protection,
          education, care and control of the person, custody of the person and decision
          making on behalf of the child.




                                                                                              83
     Permanency Options Other than
        Reunification or Adoption
Permanent placement with a fit and willing relative, §39.6231
   Requires placement for preceding 6 months.
   The court retains jurisdiction and the department continues to supervise the
    placement with court reviews at least once every 6 months to reevaluate
    the possibility of adoption or permanent guardianship of the child.
   The GAL must provide the court with a recommended list and description
    of services needed by the child and the family in order to ensure the
    permanency of the placement.
   The court order must:
        List the reasons why reunification is not possible;
        State why adoption is not appropriate;
        Establish visitation for the parents, siblings and grandparents; and
        Prohibit the relative from returning the child to the person from whom the child
        was removed.




                                                                                           84
     Permanency Options Other than
        Reunification or Adoption
Another planned permanent living arrangement, §39.6241
   Children should not be placed in APPLAs unless the department has documented
    and the court has approved a compelling reason to show that such a placement is
    the most appropriate permanency goal.
   Requires the court to make a finding that a more permanent placement, such as
    adoption, permanent guardianship or placement with a relative, is not in the best
    interests of the child and that the child’s safety will not be jeopardized by the
    placement.
   The department must document why the placement will endure and how the
    proposed arrangement is more stable than ordinary foster care.
   The court retains jurisdiction and continues to review the placement every 6 months.
   The department and the GAL must provide the court with a list of recommended
    services such as:
       Independent living services;
       Medical, dental, educational or psychological referrals; and
       Services needed by the child’s caregiver.




                                                                                           85
Program Attorneys should be aware that if the Guardian
ad Litem Program is going to recommend Permanent
Guardianship, placement with a relative or another
planned permanent living arrangement, the GAL must be
prepared to give reasons why reunification or adoption is
not in the best interests of the child.




                                                            86
                 Independent Living

The goals of independent living transition services are to assist older
children in foster care and young adults who were formerly in foster
care to obtain life skills and education for independent living and
employment, to have a quality of life appropriate for their age, and to
assume personal responsibility for becoming self-sufficient adults. §
409.1451(1)(a).
       Florida’s Independent Living requirements can generally be found in §
       409.1451 Fla. Stat. (2006), and Florida Administrative Code Chapters
       65C-28, 65C-29, 65C-30.
       Normalcy: The case worker, foster parent and child must develop a
       plan to achieve normalcy – meaning all foster children should be able
       to participate in age appropriate activities. The plan is to be reviewed
       quarterly. Rule 65C-30.007(10) F.A.C.
       Independent living is not an alternative to adoption. It is not a
       permanency plan but instead describes services available to teenagers
       in the dependency system.



                                                                                  87
                     Independent Living
Section 409.1451 Fla. Stat. (2006) Provides Independent Living Requirements
Requires the department to administer a system of independent living
transition services to enable older children in foster care and young adults who
exit foster care at age 18 to make the transition to self-sufficiency as adults.

Age 13. The child must choose educational goal and a career path based on interests
    and goals. The department must also identify an academic advocate or mentor for
    the child. The plan is developed by the service worker, foster parents and the child
    and at least one of the child’s teachers. § 409.1451(3)(b).

Age 13 but not yet 15. There must be annual staffings at 13 and 14. A pre-
    independent living skills assessment (Casey Skills Assessment, file review,
    interviews, review of evaluations) must be done by the department to asses services
    needed and evaluation of progress. These skills include, but are not limited to, life
    skills training, educational field trips and conferences.

Age 15 – 18. The department must conduct staffings every 6 months in order to
    provide Life Skills Services (banking, budgeting, interviewing, parenting and
    employment training. Information regarding SSI and public assistance must also be
    provided). Staffing must be reduced to writing, signed by child and attached to JR
    report.


                                                                                            88
                   Independent Living

Age 17. Special Requirements: 17th Birthday. § 409.1451(4)(b)4.
        The department must conduct an IL assessment to determine youth’s
        skills and progress.
        Special Judicial Review within 90 days of the youth’s 17th birthday. An
        updated case plan to address youth’s unmet needs. § 39.701(6)(a).
        Removal of disability of non-age for purposes of securing housing.
Ages 16-18. Eligible for Subsidized Independent Living (SIL).
        SIL is a living arrangement in which youth are permitted to live semi-
        independently of the department while receiving a caseworker and
        judicial oversight.
        Requirements: Youth aged 16-18, dependent, living in licensed out-of
        –home care for at least 6 months, permanency goal of adoption, or
        another planned permanent living arrangement, attends school full
        time, demonstrates IL skills necessary.
Extension of Jurisdiction. Upon youth’s motion, the court may extend
   jurisdiction until the youth is 19. See Form 8.974, Fla.R.Juv.Pro.



                                                                                  89
                   Independent Living
Age 18-23. Eligible for three types of services:
       Aftercare Support Services- Program available to assist young adults who
       were in care at 18 in their efforts to continue to develop the skills and abilities
       necessary for independent living. The aftercare support services available
       include, but are not limited to, mentoring, tutoring, job skills training and
       temporary cash assistance to prevent homelessness. Amount based on
       needs of youth.
       Road to Independence Program- A program is available to dependent foster
       children who are at least 18 and who have spent 6 months or more in foster
       care; who have been a Florida resident for more than 1 year; who have either
       earned a high school diploma or GED and have been admitted full time to a
       college or postsecondary educational institution, are full time in high school
       within 2 years of graduation, or are full time in a GED program. Under the
       program, the young adult may receive up to $892 per month, Medicaid
       coverage until 21 years of age, and a tuition waiver to postsecondary programs,
       community colleges and universities. May be renewed up to youths 23rd
       birthday. § 409.1451(5)(b).
       Transitional Support Services- A young adult formerly in foster care may
       receive Transitional Support Services, which may include financial (up to
       $5,000 per year), housing, counseling, employment, education, mental health,
       disability, and other services. Amount of benefit determined by “needs
       assessment”. This is a maximum 3 month benefit, but can be renewed
       indefinitely up to the youths 23rd birthday. Rule 65C-31.005, F.A.C.



                                                                                             90
Once an older child’s needs are determined through either
the Casey Skills Assessment (to be given to children
under 16) or the Daniel Memorial Assessment (for children
16 or older), the GAL should move the court to amend the
case plan to include the recommended services.

Remember that the court can extend jurisdiction one year
beyond the child’s 18th birthday to ensure that
independent living services are in place.

Check the forms bank for a sample motion to extend
jurisdiction.


                                                            91
                              Path of a Case
                                  Placed in                                                    Mediation or
         Abuse Report                                               Shelter Hearing
                                Shelter or with                                                 Case Plan
         & Investigation                                            (within 24 hours)
                                  Relative                                                     Conference




                                                                                               Adjudicatory
           Dependency          Arraignment &
                                                                      Pretrial                   Hearing
           Petition Filed      Shelter Review
                                                                     Conference                (within 30 days
           (within 21 days)     (within 28 days)
                                                                                              after arraignment)




                                                                           Concurrent Case
     Disposition                  Initial Judicial Review                  Planning. 39.621
(15 days after                (90 days after disposition hearing,
Arraignment if consent        or date court approved case plan,
                                                                                                        Reunification
or admit, within 30            or 6 months after child’s removal
days from last day of                    from home)
adj. hearing)
Case Plan Approval
(Approve at time of
                                                                                                          Adoption
disposition or within 30                                                                                 (If TPR filed)
                                                     Judicial Review
days after disposition)


                                                                                                        Permanent
                                                                                                       Guardianship
                                              Judicial Permanency Review
                                                Determine Permanency Goal
                                                (12 months placed in shelter)
                                                                                                          Relative
                                                                                                         Placement
                                                                                                                          92
Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings-
             Advisory Hearing




                                              93
   Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings-
                Advisory Hearing

Hearing where the court takes pleas on the TPR petition and
orders parents to be present at the TPR adjudicatory hearing
      Parents must be served with the petition and notice of the advisory
      hearing by the petitioner.
      If the parent is properly served and does not personally appear, this
      failure to appear shall constitute a consent for TPR.
      Counsel for a parent may not appear in lieu of the parent, See In the
      Interest of W.C., et al., 797 So.2d 1273 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001).
      The GAL Program must be appointed in TPR proceedings. §
      39.807(2)(a).




                                                                              94
Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings-
           Adjudicatory Hearing




                                              95
   Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings-
              Adjudicatory Hearing

Must be held within 45 days after the advisory hearing. §
   39.809(2).
The elements required for TPR must be proved by clear and
   convincing evidence. § 39.809(1).
Rules of evidence and civil procedure apply.
The TPR Petition must contain facts supporting the following
   allegations:
      at least one of the grounds for TPR has been met;
      the parents were informed of their right to counsel at all hearings they
      attended;
      a dispositional order adjudicating the child dependent was entered in
      any prior dependency proceeding relied upon in offering a parent a
      case plan (not required in expedited TPRs); and
      the manifest best interests of the child would be served by the granting
      of the petition. § 39.802(4) and Rule 8.500(b).



                                                                                 96
Program Attorneys cannot and should not assume that
the department’s petition is adequate or that it will present
sufficient evidence at trial.
       Program Attorneys should consider joining the department’s
       petition.
       When the department’s petition is legally insufficient, Program
       Attorneys must file a legally sufficient petition on behalf of the
       Program (assuming the Program supports TPR).
       Similarly, the Program Attorneys must make an independent
       assessment of the exhibits and witnesses necessary for TPR
       and make sure that both are present at trial.




                                                                            97
  Expedited Termination of Parental
               Rights
“Expedited TPR” is a proceeding wherein a case plan with the
   goal of reunification is not being offered. § 39.01(27).
Reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify families are not
   required if a court has determined that any of the events
   described in section 39.806(1)(e)-(i) have occurred. § 39.806(2).
When an expedited TPR petition is filed, reasonable efforts shall
   be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance
   with the permanency plan, and to complete whatever steps are
   necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
   § 39.806(4).
Expedited TPR petitions are typically seen in extreme physical or
   sexual abuse cases or where parent has had rights to other
   children terminated.



                                                          CASE
                                                          LAW
                                                                       98
   Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings

Grounds for TPR § 39.806
      When a parent has voluntarily signed a written surrender;
      When an abandonment has occurred see § 39.01(1);
      When the parent engaged in conduct toward the child or other children
      that demonstrates the continuing involvement of the parent in the
      parent-child relationship threatens the life, safety, well-being, or
      physical, mental or emotional health of the child, even with the
      provision of services;
      When a parent is incarcerated in a state or federal correctional
      institution AND
       •   the expected period of incarceration will constitute a substantial portion of
           the period of time before the child will turn 18; or
       •   the incarcerated parent has been determined to be a violent career
           criminal, a habitual violent felony offender, a sexual predator, convicted of
           first or second degree murder or a sexual battery that constitutes a
           capital, life or first degree felony or convicted of an offense in another
           jurisdiction which is similar to one of the listed offenses; or
       •   the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that continuing the
           parental relationship with the incarcerated parent would be harmful to the
           child and, for this reason, that TPR is in the best interests of the child.


                                                                                           99
   Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings

Grounds for TPR
      When a child has been adjudicated dependent, a case plan has been
      filed with the court, and the child continues to be abused, neglected or
      abandoned by the parents;
      When a parent engaged in egregious conduct or had the opportunity
      and capability to prevent and knowingly failed to prevent egregious
      conduct that threatens the life, safety, or physical, mental or emotional
      health of the child or the child’s sibling;
      When a parent has subjected the child to aggravated child abuse,
      sexual battery or sexual abuse or chronic abuse;
      When a parent has committed murder or voluntary manslaughter
      of another child, or a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury
      to a child, or aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to
      commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter or felony assault;
      When there has been a material breach of the case plan; or
      When the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been
      terminated involuntarily. § 39.806(1).



                                                                                    100
  Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings

                       One-Parent TPR Proceedings

The parental rights of one parent may be severed without
   severing the rights of the other parent only under the following
   circumstances:
       If the child has only one surviving parent;
       If the identity of a prospective parent has been established as unknown after
        sworn testimony;
       If the parent whose rights are being terminated became a parent through a
        single-parent adoption;
       If the protection of the child demands termination of the rights of a single
        parent; or
       If the parent whose rights are being terminated meets any of the criteria
        specified in §39.806(1)(d) and (f)-(i). §39.811(6).



                                                                          CASE
                                                                          LAW


                                                                                        101
   Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings

Manifest Best Interests of the Child
       After the petitioner has established a ground for TPR, the petitioner
       must also show that TPR is in the manifest best interests of the child.
       The court shall consider and evaluate all relevant facts to determine
       the manifest best interests of the child as enumerated in 39.810(1)-
       (11).
       Even if the parents consent by default (don’t appear for the advisory
       hearing), testimony must be taken as to the manifest best interests.
Continuances
       The adjudicatory hearing on the petition for TPR must be held within
       45 days of the advisory hearing. §§ 39.808(3), 39.809(2).
       Reasonable continuances may be granted for investigation, discovery
       or procuring counsel or witnesses. §39.809(2).
Disposition
       If the court grants the TPR, the court shall place the child in the
       custody of the department for the purposes of adoption.

                                                                      CASE
                                                                      LAW
                                                                                 102
Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings

           Requirements for Filing a TPR Petition
The department shall file a petition to terminate parental rights
within 60 days after any of the following:
    At the time of the 12 month JR, a child is not returned to the parents;
    The child has been in out-of-home care for 15 of the most recent 22 months;
    A parent has been convicted of specified crimes; or
    A court determines that reasonable efforts to reunify the child and parent are
     not required. §39.8055(1).
 Exceptions:
    The child is being cared for by a relative; or
    The department has documented a compelling reason that it is not in the best
     interests in the child. Compelling reasons include:
       o Adoption is not the appropriate permanency goal for the child;
       o No grounds to file a TPR petition exists;
       o The child is an unaccompanied refugee minor as defined in 45 C.F.R. 400.111;
       o There are international legal obligations or compelling foreign-policy reasons that
         would preclude TPR; or
       o The department has not provided to the family services necessary for reunification.
         §39.8055(2).

                                                                                               103
Padgett is the genesis of the “least restrictive means”
phraseology.
       The Padgett court discussed least restrictive means in the
       context of strict scrutiny constitutional analysis generally and
       not as an element of TPR specifically.
       The Supreme Court defined least restrictive means to require
       that the state provide services before seeking to terminate
       parental rights; thus, “least restrictive means” under Padgett
       is really just “reasonable efforts.”
       When a parent is arguing that TPR is not the least restrictive
       means, it is important that the Program Attorney has reviewed
       all stock arguments and memorandums of law on the P drive
       so that the Program’s position is consistent with Statewide
       policy.

                                                                          104
Q&A


  Pre-adoptive parents must be permitted to
  address the court during Judicial Review
  Hearings.

  a. True
  b. False
      Foster parents, legal custodians and pre-adoptive
      parents must be permitted to address the court. §
      39.701(7).
Q&A


  At what age may a dependent child be eligible
  for Subsidized Independent Living?

  a. 14
  b. 16
  c. 19
  d. 12
      b. 16. Subsidized Independent Living (SIL)
      permits children to live independently of the
      department while receiving a monthly subsidy
      payment
Q&A


  The GAL Program can file a TPR Petition.

  a. True
  b. False

  a. True
TRAINING AGENDA

     Foundational Issues

     Path of a Case

     Appellate Practice

     Residential Treatment
     Centers and
     Psychotropic
     Medications

     Federal Legislation
                   Appellate Practice

It is essential to create an adequate record for appellate purposes.

In order to make a solid record in the trial court for later use on
    appeal, you must be fully prepared AT ALL TIMES.

Questions about appeals and potential appeals should be
  directed to a member of the statewide appellate team:
       Wendie Cooper, 772.785.5804
       Hillary Kambour, 305.638.6861
       Patty Propheter, 561.433.4689
       Mercedes Scopetta, 305.638.6861
       Tom Young, 407.318.3379




                                                                      109
                    Appellate Practice

Being fully prepared requires that you:
       Communicate regularly with the guardian ad litem volunteer, Case
       Coordinator, Supervising Attorney, and Circuit Director (and when
       necessary, with the Statewide Office).
       Determine your client’s (i.e., the Program’s) objective early in the case
       and then re-evaluate the objective as the case progresses.
       Use the forms bank on the P drive of the Citrix network to make an
       appropriate record consistent with the Program’s overall policy on
       matters of statewide application and significance.
       Map out the case strategy by:
        •   Identifying and thoroughly researching all of the legal issues involved
        •   Using your legal research to determine the facts that must be proven to
            win the legal issues that promote the Program’s objectives
        •   Identifying all witnesses and exhibits that will enable you to establish the
            facts that require the legal conclusion for which you are advocating
        •   Coordinating your case with parties who are advocating for the same
            result



                                                                                           110
                     Appellate Practice

Being fully prepared requires that you:
       Research all possible sources of law and persuasive rules:
         •   U.S. Constitution
         •   Federal statutes
         •   Federal regulations
         •   Federal case law
         •   Florida constitution
         •   Florida statutes
         •   Florida regulations
         •   Florida case law
         •   Court rules
         •   Court-specific rules and administrative orders
         •   Department of Children & Families operating rules and procedures
       Object to ore tenus motions when you are not prepared to make an adequate
       record consistent with Program policies and request an opportunity to submit
       briefs.
       Research means not relying on memory or assumptions:
         •   Review the applicable law every time
         •   Read everything opposing counsel has cited
         •   Know the case law
         •   Build your own personal research bank and update frequently with recent
             developments to expedite research


                                                                                       111
Some issues recur across the state. Before jumping into
the middle of a big issue, speak with your supervising
attorney and call an attorney in the Statewide Office to
determine whether resources exist that will give you a
head start.




                                                           112
                   Appellate Practice
Being fully prepared at the Appellate and Trial level requires that
   you:
       File well-researched and written legal memoranda before contested
       hearings involving significant legal issues that can affect the ability to
       achieve the Program’s objective.
        •   File memoranda early to give the court time to review and digest your
            arguments.
        •   Give required notice to opposing parties to avoid continuances and
            unnecessary delays.
        •   Utilize the forms bank on the P drive to the extent possible.
       Be sure to prepare with the applicable case law, statutes and rules.




                                                                                    113
                  Appellate Practice

You should represent the Program competently and zealously.
If you enter the courtroom unprepared or ill-prepared:
       You are creating an inadequate and vulnerable record on appeal; and
       You are jeopardizing the Program’s objective to protect the best
       interests of the child
If it’s not on the record, odds are you can’t use or argue it on
     appeal. It’s as simple as that.




                                                                             114
                 Appellate Practice

Appeals and original appellate proceedings may not be filed on
  behalf of the Program unless a member of the appellate team
  has reviewed and approved the proposed case.



In most cases, an appellate team member will be primarily
   responsible for drafting all appellate documents.
      In some circumstances, permission may be granted upon request for a
      Program Attorney to draft briefs of petitions under the supervision of
      an appellate team member.
      In no circumstances should a Program Attorney file any document in
      an appellate court without approval of the Statewide Office.




                                                                           115
                  Appellate Practice

Attorneys who believe they may have a matter that is appropriate
   for appellate review (or may be appropriate in the near future)
   and who wish to seek appellate review should call an appellate
   team member at the earliest opportunity.
      The main reason the appellate team declines to approve requested
      appeals and original appellate proceedings is the inadequate record in
      the lower court.
      Consulting with an appellate team member at an early stage allows the
      appellate team an opportunity to assist with the development and
      protection of an adequate record.
      If an attorney wishes to seek review of an issue of law and has not
      filed written motions and thorough memoranda of law in the lower
      court, the odds of having preserved an adequate record are
      substantially reduced.
      The standard of review that governs appellate review of pure questions
      of fact will usually result in affirmation of the lower court’s
      determination of fact unless the party with the burden of proof failed to
      present enough evidence to establish a prima facie case.

                                                                              116
                     Appellate Practice

Appeals by Opposing Parties

       The Program participates in all appeals and original appellate proceedings
       initiated by opposing parties if the Program was a party in the lower court at the
       time of the hearing giving rise to the challenged order.
       Statewide policy precludes the discharge of a local Program until the later of:
           The running of the time for appealing or filing an original petition (generally 30 days
            following the filing of a signed written order); or
           Resolution of the appeal or original proceeding.
       The appellate team represents the Program in all appeals and original
       proceedings initiated by an opposing party.
           Again, upon request, a Program Attorney may be allowed to draft appellate
            documents under the supervision of an appellate team member.
           Attorneys who desire appellate experience are encouraged to participate in appeals.
           The purpose for requiring appellate team oversight is to assure that the Program
            maintains a consistent statewide position on issues of statewide significance and that
            all documents filed in an appellate court satisfy minimum standards and all appellate
            rules of procedure.




                                                                                                      117
                 Appellate Practice

ALL documents relating to an appeal or original appellate
proceeding must be given to the local Program’s appellate
coordinator IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT BY THE PROGRAM
ATTORNEY OR OTHER STAFF MEMBER. The appellate
coordinator is responsible for coordinating all appellate matters
and issues with the appellate team.
      Similarly, if an attorney is aware of an appellate proceeding that we
      filed but notice of which was not served on the Program, the attorney
      must immediately notify the appellate coordinator, who will in turn
      notify the appellate team.


The appellate team welcomes questions, and all appellate team
members will do what they can to enhance the Program’s trial
court practice.




                                                                              118
TRAINING AGENDA

     Foundational Issues

     Path of a Case

     Appellate Practice

     Residential Treatment
     Centers and
     Psychotropic
     Medications

     Federal Legislation
                          Residential
                       Treatment Centers
Residential treatment means placement of the child for
  observation, diagnosis or treatment of an emotional
  disturbance in a licensed residential treatment center or
  hospital.
Qualified Evaluation
       When the department believes a child in its custody is emotionally
       disturbed and may need residential treatment, an examination and
       suitability assessment must be conducted by a qualified evaluator
       before placement of the child. § 39.407(6)(b).
       A qualified evaluator must be
        •   a psychiatrist or a psychologist licensed in Florida;
        •   have at least 3 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of
            serious emotional disturbances in children and adolescents; and
        •   have no actual or perceived conflict of interest with an inpatient facility or
            residential treatment center. § 39.407(6)(b).




                                                                                             120
                      Residential
                   Treatment Centers
GAL Program’s role
      The department must file notice of the child’s assessment and upon the filing of
      such notice, the court shall appoint the GAL Program if not already appointed.
      § 39.407(6), Rule 8.350(a)(3).
      The GAL Program must be represented by an attorney at all proceedings
      conducted pursuant to Rule 8.350.
      The GAL Program shall provide a written report to the court and all parties
      indicating the GALs recommendation as to the child’s placement and the child’s
      wishes. Rule 8.350(a)(3).
Placement
      If the department seeks to place the child in a residential treatment center, the
      department shall immediately file a Motion for Placement.
      Placement may occur prior to the approval of the court if the qualified
      evaluator’s assessment indicates the child requires immediate placement. Rule
      8.350(5).
      A hearing on the Motion for Placement must be set within 48 hours, excluding
      weekends and holidays. Rule 8.350(7).
      No hearing shall occur without the presence of the GAL Program or the child’s
      attorney unless excused for good cause shown. Rule 8.350(8).
      If all parties agree, the motion may be approved by the court at the initial
      hearing.
      If any party disagrees, the motion shall be heard at a full hearing within 10
      days.
                                                                                      121
                     Residential
                  Treatment Centers
Appointment of Attorney for the Child
      If the child does not agree with the Motion for Placement, the court
      shall appoint an attorney, in addition to the GAL Program, to represent
      the child. Rule 8.350(a)(6).
Presence of the Child
      The child shall be present at all hearings unless the court finds that the
      child’s mental or physical condition is such that a court appearance is
      not in the child’s best interests. Rule 8.350(c).
Review of Child’s Placement
      Within 30 days of admission and every 30 days thereafter, the
      department must submit a report concerning the child’s progress.
      No later than 90 days after the child’s admission, the court must
      conduct a hearing to review the status of the child’s residential
      treatment plan.
      After the initial review, the court must conduct a review of the child’s
      placement every 90 days.


                                                                                 122
            Psychotropic Medications

•   The Program has statewide guidelines for handling cases where children
    are prescribed or taking psychotropic medications.

•   Applicable motions are located in the Forms Bank.

•   The full text of the guidelines as well as checklists and practice aids can be
    found on the P drive or on the statewide website at
    www.guardianadlitem.org in the Resources by Topic/Practice Aids section.




                                                                                 123
Q&A

  If the child does not agree with the Motion for
  Placement in a Residential Mental Health
  Facility the court shall appoint which of the
  following:

      a.   A Guardian ad Litem
      b.   Attorney ad Litem
      c.   Public Defender
      d.   Stenographer

      b. Attorney ad Litem
Q&A


  How often must a child’s placement in a
  Residential Mental Health Facility be
  reviewed?

      a.   Every 2 months after admission
      b.   Every 90 days after admission
      c.   Every 30 days after admission
      d.   Never

      b. Every 90 days after admission
TRAINING AGENDA

     Foundational Issues

     Path of a Case

     Appeals & Trial
     Practice
     Residential Treatment
     Centers and
     Psychotropic
     Medications

     Federal Legislation
Timeline of Major Federal Legislation Concerned with Child
          Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption




                                                             127
Timeline of Major Federal Legislation Concerned with Child
          Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption




                                                             128
                 Federal Legislation

The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA)
      ASFA was signed into law on November 19, 1997, and amended
      federal laws to promote safety and permanency. 42 U.S.C. §§ 620-
      679.
      ASFA mandated a more stringent time frame of 12 months to
      permanency.
      ASFA allows states to seek immediate termination of parental rights in
      extreme circumstances, such as the murder of a sibling.
      ASFA requires states to place the safety of the child before the goal of
      family preservation in making placement decisions. 42 U.S.C. §
      671(15)(A).
      A permanency hearing must be held within 12 months of the date the
      child enters foster care.
      Permanency goals include reunification, adoption, legal guardianship
      and permanent relative placement or another planned, permanent
      living arrangement (APPLA).
       •   The department must show “compelling reason” for the child’s placement
           in APPLA.

                                                                                    129
                 Federal Legislation

The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) (cont’d)
       The court must determine if department made “reasonable efforts” to
       prevent the child’s removal from the home within 60 days of actual
       removal. If no finding is made, Title IV-E funding is lost for the child’s
       entire stay in care. 45 C.F.R. § 1356.21(b).
       The court must determine if the department made reasonable efforts
       to achieve the child’s permanency plan within 12 months of the child’s
       removal.
       No reasonable efforts are required to reunify under ASFA if there are
       “aggravated circumstances,” i.e. If a parent has been convicted of
       certain felonies.
       ASFA requires that a TPR petition be filed when a child has been in
       care for 15 of the last 22 months or compelling reasons why a TPR
       petitions should not be filed.
       A TPR petition must also be filed within 60 days of the date the court
       finds a child has been abandoned, or that reasonable efforts are not
       required because a parent has been convicted of an enumerated
       felony. The department is not required to file a TPR if it determines
       there is a “compelling reason” not to file the TPR.


                                                                                    130
                 Federal Legislation

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
      ICWA was enacted in 1978 due to the disproportionate percentage of
      Indian children that were being removed from their homes, and the
      perceived failure of states to recognize tribal relations and the
      prevailing cultural and social standards in Indian communities and
      families. 25 U.S.C. § 1901.
      ICWA governs state court proceedings involving the custody of an
      “Indian child.” 25 U.S.C. § 1902.
       •   “Indian child” is defined to include any person under 18 who is either a
           member of an Indian tribe or is the biological child of a member and is
           eligible for membership. 25 U.S.C. § 1903(4).
       •   Tribal membership or eligibility is determined by the tribe rather than the
           court. See 25 U.S.C. § 1903.




                                                                                         131
                  Federal Legislation

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
      Key Components of ICWA include:
       •   The tribe has exclusive jurisdiction for Indian children who:
             –    reside or are domiciled within a reservation; or
             –    are wards of a tribal court, even if not domiciled within a reservation. See 25 U.S.C.
                 § 1911(a).
             –   In re T.D. and D.D v. Department of Children & Families, 890 So.2d 473 (Fla. 2nd
                 DCA).
       •   The tribe and the state court have concurrent jurisdiction when a child
           does not reside or is not domiciled on a reservation, but the preference is
           for tribal jurisdiction. 25 U.S.C. § 1911(b).
       •   There are specific placement preferences for foster care placements and
           adoptions. 25 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(d).
       •   Strict evidentiary standards must be applied for removal of Indian children
           from their families and termination of parental rights. 25 U.S.C. §§
           1903(1)(i), 1912(e)-(f).
       •   The definition of “best interests” includes consideration of the child’s
           cultural and tribal identity. See 25 U.S.C. § 1901(5).
       •   Additional procedural and substantive protections are afforded to Indian
           families. See 25 U.S.C. § 1912(a). The tribe has the right to intervene as
           a party and to be served with notices of all hearings.



                                                                                                       132
                  Federal Legislation

Multi-Ethnic Placement Act.
       Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was adopted in 1994 and
       modified in 1996. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 622, 671, 1996a, and 1996b.
       MEPA was enacted to:
        •   prohibit discrimination in adoptive parent licensing, foster care licensing
            and child placement on the basis of race, color or national origin;
        •   decrease the length of time that children wait to be adopted; and
        •   facilitate the identification and recruitment of foster and adoptive families
            that can meet children’s needs. See 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(18); 42 U.S.C. §
            622(b).
       Violations. A violation of MEPA occurs when a state:
        •   denies any person the opportunity to become an adoptive or foster parent
            on the basis of the race, color, or national origin of the person, or of the
            child; or
        • delays or denies the placement of a child for adoption or into foster care
            on the basis of race, color, or national origin of the adoptive or foster
            parent, or the child. See 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(18)(A),(B); 42 U.S.C. §
            1996b.
        Violations of MEPA could result in a loss of 2% to 5% of the state’s Title IV-E
            funds. See 42 U.S.C. § 671(b); 45 C.F.R. § 1355.38(f).
                                                                                            133
                Federal Legislation

Multi-Ethnic Placement Act
      Consideration of race and ethnicity prohibited. The 1996 amendments
      removed the statutory language that permitted consideration of the
      cultural, ethnic or racial background of the child and the capacity of
      prospective foster or adoptive parents to meet the child’s needs as
      one of the factors in determining whether a placement is in the child’s
      best interests. See 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(18).
      The state is required to provide for the diligent recruitment of potential
      foster and adoptive families that represent the ethnic and racial
      diversity of children in the state for whom foster and adoptive homes
      are needed. 42 U.S.C. § 622(b)(9).
      It is not a violation of MEPA to give preference to relative placements.
      See 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(19).




                                                                                   134
Q&A

      ASFA requires that a Termination of Parental
      Rights petition be filed when a child has been
      in care for which of the following:

          a.   12 of the last 15 months
          b.   15 of the last 22 months
          c.   ASFA does not require that a TPR be filed
          d.   6 of the last 14 months

      b. 15 of the last 22 months
Q&A


  Multi-Ethnic Placement Act prohibits
  discrimination in adoptive parent licensing,
  foster care licensing and child placement on
  the basis of race, color or national origin.

      a. True
      b. False

      a. True
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                                              140
Discussion and Questions
Appendix
  Case Law                                                                 Return




Jurisdiction:

     B.B. v The Department of Children and Families, 854 So.2d 822 (Fla. 1st DCA
     2003) finding that a dependency court is not divested of jurisdiction after a TPR
     trial simply because subsequent adoption proceedings will be conducted pursuant
     to adoption statutes; the dependency court never loses jurisdiction after a TPR
     trial, and continues to retain exclusive jurisdiction through the adoption process.
  Case Law                                                                     Return




Appointment of a Guardian ad Litem:
     C.M. v. the Department of Children and Families, 854 So.2d 777 (Fla. 4th DCA
     2003) affirming that the right to have a guardian ad litem is a statutory right, not a
     constitutional right. It is the right of the child, not of the parent.
  Case Law                                                               Return




Case Plans – Substantial Compliance:
     H.G. v. the Department of Children and Families, 916 So.2d 1006 (Fla. 4th DCA
     2006) holding that mother’s failure to attend counseling sessions was not
     appropriate matter for consideration in determining whether mother had
     substantially complied with her case plan, regardless of the fact that the court
     ordered her to attend these sessions. The court found that the case plan must be
     amended by court order.
   Case Law                                                                 Return




Continuances:
Several cases have addressed the propriety of continuances when a parent
has a criminal case and a dependency case pending simultaneously. In
such circumstances courts should exercise discretion in balancing the
child’s interest in permanent placement at the earliest possible time with
affording fairness to the parents.
      See A.C. v. DCF, 798 So. 2d 32 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001) (upholding trial court’s denial
      of continuance when mother claimed she would be required to invoke her Fifth
      Amendment privilege at the TPR trial and could not present a viable defense
      because of her pending aggravated child abuse charge).
      See C.J. v. DCF, 756 So.2d 1108 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) (holding that absent
      exceptional circumstances, it would be unreasonable to postpone a determination
      of TPR during the father’s first degree murder trial, which could take one to three
      years).
      But See: D.F. v. Florida Department of Children and Family Services, 877 So.2d
      733 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2004) (reversing final judgment of TPR where trial court denied
      mother’s motion for continuance when mother was incarcerated in federal court
      system and could not be found until the last day of the adjudicatory hearing).
Case Law                                                                     Return




Permanency:
See L.L.C. v. Dep't of Children & Families, 790 So.2d 1239 (Fla. 5th DCA
2001) The parents shall not petition the Court for custody of the children
       Unless there is probable cause to believe that this Long Term Custody is no longer
       in the children's best interest, and
       That the parents have demonstrated a material change in circumstances.
       “Substantial compliance with a case plan or the remedy ... reasons for removal will
       not, standing alone, be sufficient grounds to disturb this Long Term Custody."




                                                                                         148
Case Law                                                                  Return




Expedited TPR:

Padgett v. Dep't of Health and Rehab. Serv'cs, 577 So.2d 565 (Fla. 1991),
Fla. Dep't of Children and Fams v. F.L., 880 So.2d 602 (Fla. 2004) "However,
to support a termination order under section 39.806(1)(i), DCF must prove by
clear and convincing evidence that the parents' rights to a prior child were
terminated involuntarily, that the current child is at substantial risk of significant
harm, and that termination of rights is the least restrictive means of protecting the
child from harm.”




                                                                                         149
Case Law                                                                                                                  Return




Single-Parent Terminations
In re L.C. 908 So.2d 568 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005)
The trial court terminated parental rights (TPR) as to mother’s five children. The children have four fathers. The trial court terminated two
of the fathers’ parental rights to three of the children. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) affirmed the mother’s and
father’s TPR as to one child. However, the Second DCA reversed the termination of mother’s rights to the remaining four children. As a
result, the Second DCA held that the fathers’ terminations must be dealt with as single-parent terminations in accordance with §
39.811(6), Florida Statutes (2002).
The Second DCA held that the trial court properly terminated mother's parental rights as one of the children who had suffered at least
two instances of severe abuse and who required extraordinary care because of his medical condition. One father’s parental rights to one
child were properly terminated based on abandonment.
The Department of Children and Family Services (the Department) failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the mother
posed substantial risk of significant future harm to other four children, as would justify termination of mother's parental rights to
remaining children.
The Second DCA held that because of the reversal of the mother’s parental rights, the termination of the fathers’ parental right must be
justified as single-parent terminations. The Department failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the first father egregiously
abandoned his other child, as would justify termination of father's parental rights. The record did not support termination of either fathers’
parental rights as single-parent terminations under statutory section listing circumstances under which parental rights of one parent
could be terminated without severing rights of the other parent §39.811(6) Florida Statutes. The only ground for termination cited by trial
court, which would have permitted single-parent termination, was section of statute listing incarceration as ground for termination of
parental rights, which had separately been rejected on appeal.

U.A.G. v. Department of Children and Family Services, 2006 WL 197310 (Fla. 2d DCA)
“The failure to address whether one of the circumstances in § 39.811(6), Florida Statutes exists has been the sole basis for reversal in
several termination cases and would have been in this case had the prospective fathers' rights not been terminated. We emphasize to
trial courts, and to all parties participating in termination proceedings, the importance of heeding this statutory provision in cases where
only one parent's rights are terminated. Even in cases in which the rights of both parents are terminated, trial courts may find it
appropriate to address whether any of these circumstances are present as a precaution against the possibility that one parent's
termination is reversed on appeal. See, e.g., J.T. v. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. (In re L.C.), 908 So.2d 568 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005);
N.M. v. Dep't of Children & Family Servs. (In re V.M.), 893 So.2d 595 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005).”T




                                                                                                                                               150
Case Law                                                                                                                                          Return




Single-Parent Terminations (continued):
In re E.D., 884 So.2d 291 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004)
The Department of Children and Families filed a termination petition alleging abandonment and that the continuation of a relationship with the parents threatened the
children’s health irrespective of the provision of services. The father voluntarily surrendered his parental rights to three of the children, but denied paternity of the
child. The parental rights of the child’s father were never terminated. The trial court terminated the mother’s parental rights to all of the children. The mother
appealed the terminations.
The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) held that because the paternal rights of the child’s father were never terminated, the action to terminate the
mother’s rights proceeded as a single parent termination. Section 39.811(6) lists the only circumstances in which terminating one parents parental rights is proper.
Neither the termination petition nor the evidence produced at trial alleged any of the circumstances described in § 39.811(6). The Second DCA reversed the
termination as to the child.
The Second DCA held that the trial court’s finding that the mother had abandoned her children was clearly erroneous. Termination was appropriate pursuant to §
39.806(1)(c). The mother’s breach of two case plans, her incarceration, mental illness and drug use demonstrated that her continuing involvement with the children
would result in harm regardless of the provision of services. The Second DCA affirmed the termination of parental rights order as to the other children.

In re V.M., 893 So.2d 595 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005)
The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed the order terminating parent’s parental rights to their three children. The children had been placed with
the father. The father was making progress on a case plan in 2002 when a bruise was found on one of the children. The children were removed from the father and
a termination of parental rights petition (TPR) was filed.
The TPR petition alleged grounds for termination under § 39.806(1)(c)(e). The Department of Children and Family Services (the department) claimed the children’s
lives, safety or health would be threatened irrespective of services provided. The Second DCA held that the trial court erred in termination the father’s parental
rights. However, even though the evidence supported the termination of the mother’s parental rights, the Second DCA’s reversal of the father’s termination invoked
the requirements of § 39.811(6), Florida Statutes (2003).
The order terminating parental rights was reversed and the case was remanded to determine if there were grounds for a one-parent termination of parental rights
under § 39.811(6), Florida Statutes.

In re D.A.D. II, 903 So.2d 1034 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005)
The father appealed the single-parent termination of his rights (TPR) to two of his children. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) affirmed the
termination order. The TPR petition was based on § 39.806(1)(f), Florida Statutes (2003). To terminate parental rights on the ground of egregious conduct, “there
must be a nexus between the conduct and the abuse, neglect, or specific harm to the child.” C.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 874 So.2d 1246, 1254
(Fla. 4th DCA 2004).
The Second DCA held that the trial court did not find that the fathers murder of someone in the family home while the mother and children were in another state, and
alleged participation in a murder-for-hire plot, was connected to any specific harm to the children. The trial court made only a generalized finding of harm. A
“generalized finding of harm was not enough to establish a sufficient nexus between the conduct and the specific harm to the children to support a finding of
egregious conduct within the meaning of § 39.806(1)(f).” However, the Second DCA did find that the fathers other conduct, which comprised an “unrelenting pattern
of abuse, abandonment, and neglect was egregious conduct sufficient to terminate parental rights.” The trial court found that the father committed chronic abuse
under § 39.806(1)(g). The father's abuse began shortly after child's birth and continued through the next five years, interrupted only by the father's incarcerations,
which only contributed to his abandonment of the children. The Second DCA agreed. The trial court found that the Department proved grounds for termination under
§ 39.806(1)(f) and (g), which fall squarely within the scope of § 39.811(6)(e). Therefore, the trial court's statutory power to terminate as to one parent was evident on
the face of the order. The trial court was not required to make a specific finding under § 39.811(6)(e).
The order terminating the father’s parental rights was affirmed.


                                                                                                                                                                        151
 Case Law                                                                    Return



Department Consent to Adoption:
B.Y. v. Department of Children and Families, 887 So.2d 1253 (Fla. 2004)
      Grandmother sought to finalize adoption of two of her grandchildren. The
      Department of Children and Families refused to consent to the adoption. The trial
      court held that the department unreasonably withheld consent and finalized the
      adoption. On appeal, the Fourth District reversed, holding that the department’s
      consent was mandatory and that, absent the department’s consent, the trial court
      could not finalize the adoption.
      The Florida Supreme Court reversed the Fourth DCA and upheld the trial court’s
      decision to finalize the adoption. The Court held that the department
      unreasonably withheld its consent and that finalizing the adoption advanced the
      best interests of the children.




                                                                                          152
                                                                                                                  Return

              Shelter Hearing Checklist
Case Name:                                                    Date of Hearing: _______________________
    ____________________________
                                                              Visitation
                                                              What are the terms and conditions of visitation between parent
Placement / Alternatives to Shelter
                                                              and child? Within 72 hours of shelter? Weekly visits if
Child’s placement pending adjudication
                                                              appropriate?
__________________________________________
                                                              __________________________________________
__________________________________________
                                                              __________________________________________
Has the department made reasonable efforts to avoid
                                                              What are the terms and conditions of visitation between siblings or
removal and placement outside the home?                              others? Within 72 hours of shelter? Weekly visits if
__________________________________________                           appropriate?
__________________________________________                    __________________________________________
                                                              __________________________________________
Are there relatives or other adults considered for
placement? Home study ordered?                                Other Matters
_________________________________________                     ICPC ordered if suitable out-of-state placement?
_________________________________________                     _________________________________________

Under this placement, will the child have to change schools   Any other court cases pending? Avoid conflicting orders.
and, if so, can this be avoided?                              _________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________                     Missing parent (diligent search ordered) and paternity issues:
Services                                                      __________________________________________
Under this placement, will the child be taken away from       __________________________________________
any regular activities or appointments and, if so, can this
be avoided?                                                   Have parties been served? ___________________
_________________________________________                     Attorney ad Litem Appointed? _________________
_________________________________________
                                                              Hearing
Any medical condition(s), appointments, prescriptions:        Actions taken by GAL: i.e. no contact order?
__________________________________________                    _________________________________________
__________________________________________                    _________________________________________
                                                              _________________________________________
Services to be provided to parent(s):
__________________________________________                    Were there admissions to the court concerning the allegations
__________________________________________                    contained in the petition?
                                                              __________________________________________
Services to be provided to child/ren:                         __________________________________________
__________________________________________
__________________________________________                    Court order: ______________________________
                                                              _________________________________________
                                                              _________________________________________
                                                              Date and time of next hearing:
                                                              _________________________________________
                                                              NOTES:                                                                153
                                                               Return

                  Case Plan Checklist
Definition: Case plan means a document, as described in §39.6011,
   prepared by the department with input from all parties. The case plan
   follows the child from the provision of voluntary services through any
   dependency, foster care, or termination of parental rights proceeding
   or related activity or process.
Case Plan Conference:
 Face-to- face Meeting
 Participants
        Child’s parent
        GAL
        Child, if appropriate
        Temporary custodian of the child
Each Case Plan must contain
 Parent’s problem to be addressed – behavior /act resulting in risk to
   child
 Description of each of the parent’s tasks and services §39.6011(1)(a)
     type of services or treatment
     date the department will provide each service or referral
     date by which the parent must complete each task
     frequency of services or treatment provided (determined by professionals on a
      case-by-case basis)
     location of the delivery of the services
     accountable staff or service provider
     measurable objectives, timeframes

                                                                                      154
                  Case Plan Checklist
 Description of the identified needs of the child while in care
     plan for ensuring that the child receives safe and proper care
     the following records of the child must be attached to the case plan
      and updated throughout the judicial review process
         • The names and addresses of the child's health, mental health, and
           educational providers;
         • The child's grade level performance;
         • The child's school record;
         • Assurances that the child's placement takes into account proximity to the
           school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; A record of
           the child's immunizations;
         • The child's known medical history, including any known problems;
         • The child's medications, if any; and
         • Any other relevant health, mental health, and education information
           concerning the child.

 If the child is in an out-of-home placement
       description of the type of placement
       parent's visitation rights and obligations
       sibling visitation
       if 13 or older must meet Independent Living requirements of §409.1451
       A discussion of the safety and the appropriateness of the child's placement



                                                                                         155
                  Case Plan Checklist
 Permanency Goal is also the Case Plan Goal
     Permanency Goal Defined
            Reunification;
            Adoption when a petition for termination of parental rights has been or will be filed;
            Permanent guardianship of a dependent child;
            Permanent placement with a fit and willing relative; or
            Placement in another planned permanent living arrangement
     If concurrent case planning is being used, reunification may be pursued at the
      same time that another permanency goal is pursued
 Date the compliance period expires: no later than 12 months after the
  child initially removed or date case plan accepted (whichever sooner)
 Notice must be given that:
     Failure to substantially comply with case plan may result in TPR; and
     Material breach of case plan may result in filing for TPR sooner than stated
      compliance period
 Case Plan must describe:
     Role of foster parents; and
     Minimum number of face-to-face meetings to be held each month; and
 Parent’s financial responsibilities
 If goal is adoption then case plan must document steps the
  department is taking to find adoptive or permanent placement
 Case Plan explained to parties
 Signed by all parties


                                                                                                      156

				
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