CASE PLANNING WITH INCARCERATED PARENTS and other legislative updates Patricia Murphy Propheter Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program TRAINING GOALS Identify and address the new law regarding incarcerated parents and the role of the GAL. Introduce and explain GAL Protocol for cases with incarcerated parents. Encourage a shift in thinking regarding incarcerated parents from Can we TPR the
incarcerated parent to What can we do to help the incarcerated parent successfully complete his/her case plan. Case Planning When Parents are Incarcerated or Become Incarcerated. The new law: Is consistent with existing law, but gives specific direction to engage incarcerated parents. Helps keep cases on track by providing guidance and mandates. Requires that the case plan be updated if a parent enters or leaves incarceration during the case.
39.6021 When parents are incarcerated or become incarcerated, the Department must: Include the incarcerated parent in the development of the case plan or explain parents nonparticipation and Departments efforts to secure participation. Obtain information from the facility to determine how the parent can participate in the preparation and completion of the case plan and receive services. Attach a list of all services available at the facility to the case plan, or note in the case plan that the facility does
not have a list of available services. Provide a copy of the case plan to the parent. The Incarcerated Parents Must be given information about the regulations of the facility where he/she resides and the services available at the facility.* Must comply with the procedures and policies at the facility to access services or maintain contact with children as provided in the case plan. A parents services must be assessed upon release if the case plan has not expired and, if appropriate, the case plan must include tasks and services for the parent upon release.
If a parent becomes incarcerated after a case plan has been developed, the parties must move to amend the case plan if necessary, including, but not limited to: Modification of visitation and contact with the child. Identification of services within the facility. Changing the permanency goal or establishing a concurrent goal. Remember: these provisions only apply in cases where the parent is being offered a case plan and not in cases of expedited termination of
parental rights. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? Having an incarcerated parent is considered an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). Children who are separated from their parents due to incarceration are more likely to have experienced other adverse family experiences such as divorce, domestic violence, adults with mental health issues and/or alcohol or drug problems. Children who have experienced parental incarceration are more likely to experience developmental and learning disabilities than those with no exposure to parental
incarceration. Incarcerated parents are less likely to see the child regularly or be involved in decisions regarding the childs health care, compared to other dependent children whose parents are not incarcerated. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? 15 - 20% of youth entering foster care have a parent who's in jail or prison. Children who age out of foster care without a family
are four times more likely to enter the criminal justice system as adults. They are seventeen times more likely to be homeless at age 21. Best Interest of the Child Law gives a clear path and direction to the parent and let them know there are expectations of them to start the process while incarcerated. Incarcerated parents can participate in programs that will assist with reunification and demonstrate to the court that they are motivated to reunify with their child. All programming completed while in prison is documented in their case plan so
the parent is on their way to safely reunify with their child and dont have to start from the beginning when released, resulting in quicker permanency. If the parent does not take advantage of the services made available to them while incarcerated, may have grounds to terminate parental rights for case plan non-compliance to allow for adoption. Role of the Guardian ad Litem INITIAL STEPS UPON GALP APPOINTMENT: 1. Upon appointment the CAM will send a notification/introduction letter to the parent(s) notifying them of the appointment and the role of the GAL with a copy of the Order of Appointment attached. 2. The CAM will also send a letter to the assigned Correctional
Institution introducing the GALP and our role and asking the Classification Officer to respond via e-mail with their contact information, with a copy of the letter to the parent attached. 3. Before the case plan is developed or approved, the GAL should identify and verify availability of the services and programs offered at the facility. Role of the Guardian ad Litem AT CASE PLAN DEVELOPMENT, the GAL should: Consider the amount of time being given for case plan completion and the services available in making recommendations. Make any necessary recommendations to protect the childs best interest. Set a date certain for the parties to reconvene to modify the case plan if the parent incarcerated parent will be released during the pendency of the case plan.
Ensure that DCF attaches a list of available services to the case plan or notes that such a list is unavailable. Ensure that DCF documents the circumstances and its efforts to include the incarcerated parent if the parent does not participate in the development of the case plan. Communicate to the parent their responsibility to comply with the correctional institutions procedures and policies to access and complete the services as required by their case plan and to maintain contact with their child(ren) as stated in their case plan. Judicial Review Reports and Incarcerated Parents The GALs judicial review report should always include: the parents progress toward completion of each case plan task.
Any information regarding any additional services or classes they have chosen. The parents failure to engage or participate in any case plan tasks. The status of any visitation/contact with the child. TIPS for Judicial Review Reports Under Visitation Section-address contact with the incarcerated parent. What is a happening and what is available as options at the facility if court approved. Under Conditions For Return-address what services the parent can engage in and has engaged in while incarcerated.
Under Home Environment-discuss length of time the parent is going to be incarcerated for and what his/her plan is upon release in regards to housing. (if getting out soon are they moving in with the other parent, a relative, etc? We can start looking at home studies on these individuals or at least internally running through Family Finders with Eva Carbone. Under Permanency Options-address whether this parent is going to be a viable option considering how much time left they have to serve, current relationship with children etc Give the overall picture here when making recommendations on case plan goal. JR Template PROTOCOL TO ENGAGE INCARCERATED PARENTS
Protocol for Incarcerated Parents Other Legislative Updates HB 1079 Case Plans and Parental Accountability Protection of Newborns Extension of Keys to Independence HB-1435 Family Finding and Kinship Navigator Programs Case Plan Requirements for Children Younger Than School Age Rilya Wilson Act, Education Stability and Transition
Case Plans and Parental Accountability Below are new statutory provisions designed to increase parent accountability: Case plan information-as part of the case plan, parents must provide accurate contact information to the Department or CBC, and contact the Department or CBC at least every 14-calendar days to provide information on the status of their case plan task completion, barriers to completion, and plans toward reunification. 39.6012(1)(d), Fla. Stat. 2018 Case plan amendments-When determining whether to amend the case plan, the court must consider the length of time the case has been open, the level of parental engagement to date, the number of case plan tasks completed, the childs type of placement and attachment, and the potential for successful reunification. . 39.6012(6), Fla. Stat. 2018 During permanency hearings, a determination will be made on whether or not the frequency, duration, manner, and level of engagement of the parent or legal guardians visitation with the child meets the case plan requirements. 39.621(5)(d)
During judicial review hearings, courts must consider and make findings of the level of the parents or legal custodians compliance with the case plan, demonstrated change in protective capacities, and level and duration of engagement during visitations. GAL TIP- always address the parents quality of visitation with the child and whether it conforms to the case plan. Protection of Newborns AbuseThe bill amends the definition of abuse in section 39.01(2), Florida Statutes, to include the birth of a new child into a family during the course of an open dependency case when the parent or caregiver has been determined to lack the protective capacity to safely care for the children in the home and has not substantially complied with the case plan towards successful reunification or met the conditions for return of the children into the home.
HarmThe bill renumbers and amends the definition of harm in section 39.01(35)(g)2 to no longer require that the child be demonstrably adversely affected by a parents chronic substance or alcohol abuse to prove harm from substance exposure. Now, harm from exposure to a controlled substance can be established by [e]vidence of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of a controlled substance or alcohol by a parent to the extent that the parents ability to provide supervision and care for the child has been or is likely to be severely compromised. This new definition is in addition to harm established by a positive test at birth. Extension of Keys to Independence Section 322.09(4) expands authorization to sign the childs
application for a learners driver license to all caregivers (not just foster parents) who have custody of a child who is in out-of-home care (not just foster care). The bill amends language to require that before a caseworker, group home representative, or GAL signs the application, that individual shall notify the caregiver. Section 627.746 is broadened to provide that an insurer may not charge an additional premium for coverage of a minor who is under the age of 18 and is in out-of-home care who is added to a policy of a caregiver (relative, nonrelative, or foster parent). Family Finders and Kinship Navigation
Allows for the establishment of family finding programs designed to better identify relatives who may become caregivers for children of family members who are placed in out-of-home care. Family finding may begin as soon as a child is taken into custody and throughout the case to engage as many family members as possible who may help with care or support for the child. The Department or CBC must document strategies to engage relatives such as participating in family team conferencing, attending visitations, assisting in transportation, providing respite care, or providing kinship care. Created new statute- 39.5086 Kinship Navigator Programs to help relative caregivers and fictive kin to navigate the broad range of services available to them and the children from public, private, community, and faith-based organizations.
Case Plan Requirements for Children Younger Than School Age Records and Information Relevant to Child Care-for all children under the age of school entry, all available information relevant to the childs care including any records from a child care program, early education program, or preschool program must be included in the case plan. Documentation of Compliance or Noncompliance with Attendance Requirements-if the child is enrolled in a child care program, early education program, or preschool program, case managers must document compliance and noncompliance with the attendance requirements of all
child care, early education, and preschool programs. Rilya Wilson Act Education Stability and Transition Purpose is to minimize disruptions to secure attachments and stable relationships with supportive caregivers of children from birth to school age and to ensure that these attachments are not disrupted due to placement in out-of-home care subsequent changes in out-of home placement. A child must be allowed to remain in the child care or early education setting that he/she attended before entry into out-of-home care, unless the program is not
in the best interest of the child. Resources USF Center for Child Welfare video 2018 Legislative Guide for Judiciary.docx OCW 2018 legislative job aid.pdf HB 1079 HB 281 HB 1435
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