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Quality Parenting for Children in Foster Care Act Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act July 31, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Quality Parenting for Children in Foster Care Act Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act July 31, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quality Parenting for Children in Foster Care Act Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act July 31, 2013

2 Normalcy for Children in Foster Care Every day parents make important decisions about their child’s participation in activities and that caregivers for children in out-of-home care are faced with making the same decisions for a child in their care. When a caregiver makes decisions, he or she must consider applicable laws, rules, and regulations to safeguard the health and safety of a child in out-of-home care and that those rules and regulations have commonly been interpreted to prohibit children in out-of home care from participating in extracurricular activities.

3 Normalcy in Foster care participation in these types of activities is important to the child’s well-being, not only emotionally, but in developing valuable life-coping skills. The Legislative intent is to recognize the importance of making every effort to normalize the lives of children in out-of-home care and to empower a caregiver to approve or disapprove a child’s participation in activities based on the caregiver’s own assessment using a reasonable and prudent parent standard, without prior approval of the department, the caseworker, or the court.

4 Normalcy in Foster Care Definitions Age-appropriate” means activities or items that are generally accepted as suitable for children of the same chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacity that is typical for an age or age group. “Reasonable and prudent parent standard” means the standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the child’s health, safety, and best interests while at the same time encouraging the child’s emotional and developmental growth, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in out-of-home care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.

5 Normalcy cont’d Each child is entitled to participate in age appropriate activities Caregivers must use the reasonable and prudent parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a child to participate in extra curricular, enrichment, and social activities

6 Normalcy cont’d Lead Agencies and DCF are required to verify that private agencies providing out of home services to dependent children have policies consistent with this new law, as well as promote and protect the ability of dependent children to participate in extra curricular, enrichment, and social activities. Caregivers are not liable for harm caused to a child in care who participates in an activity approved by the caregiver provided the caregiver has acted as a reasonable and prudent parent.

7 Normalcy prep for Independent Living Responsibility of DCF and Lead Agency to provide opportunities to participate in life skill activities DCF and Lead Agency to develop a list of age appropriate activities and responsibilities to be offered Provide training to foster parents and group home staff Provide opportunities for older children in foster care to interact with mentors Implement a process for older children in foster care to manage their personal allowance

8 QPI changes in statute Caregivers participate in the creation of case plans Advocate for the child with the child welfare system, court, school, child care health providers Participate fully in child's medical, psychological, and dental care Support child's school success by participating in school activities and meetings assisting children with homework, meeting with teachers.

9 QPI changes cont’d Ensure children aged learn and master IL skills Respect and support child's ties to biological family and assist child in maintaining visitation and other communication Enable child to establish and maintain naturally occurring mentoring relationships

10 Independent Living Extends foster care to age 21 Transfers life skills training responsibility to foster parents or group home parents Restructures Road to Independence Program

11 Extends Foster Care from 18 to 21 if certain criteria are met: Completing a secondary education program leading to a high school diploma or equivalent credential Enrolled in a postsecondary or vocational institution Participating in a program or activity designed to promote or eliminate barriers to employment Employed for at least 80 hours per month Unable to participate in any of the activities listed above due to a documented physical, intellectual, emotional, or psychiatric condition Permits young adults who have opted-out of Extended Foster Care to re-enter

12 Old Service Delivery Model for Young Adults 12 Needs assessment/ annual renewals Must be working towards self sufficiency Opt OutTransitional Support RTI Aftercare 3 month program Aftercare Attending secondary /post secondary program full time

13 New Service Delivery Model for Young Adults 13 Post Secondary Campus Coaches Case Management & Judicial Reviews Opt OutExtended Foster Care RTI Post Secondary Education Post Secondary Education High School Diploma/ GED Aftercare

14 Extended Foster Care Requirements Appropriate Supervised Living Arrangements: Foster Home, Group Home, College Dormitory, Shared Housing, or a housing arrangement approved by the community-based care lead agency Bi-Annual Judicial Reviews Regular Case Management Services and Supervision, including Monthly Contact/Visitation

15 Independent Living Redesign All students currently enrolled in the Road-to- Independence (RTI) program who are attending secondary or postsecondary educational programs as of Dec. 31, 2013 will be “grandfathered in.” Students “grandfathered in” who are attending secondary educational programs will have the choice/ opportunity to enter Extended Foster Care beginning Jan. 1, Placement, method of payment, and amount of payment remains the same for any “grandfathered in” student. A ‘Campus Coach Program’ will be created to provide postsecondary support for current or former young adults in foster care.

16 Road-to-Independence Payments Individual RTI payments for students who opt into RTI are fixed at $1,256 per month however, the lead agency has the ability to pay the rent directly to the landlord for a period of time. For students who opt to stay in foster care and reside in a foster home or group home placement, the RTI payment amount will be the equivalent of the foster care board rate or negotiated group home rate. For students who opt to remain in foster care and temporarily reside away from a foster or group home placement, the RTI payment amount is fixed at $1,256 per month. Students are eligible to receive RTI payments for those months for which they are enrolled as a full-time student at a Florida Bright Futures eligible institution (part-time with a documented disability).

17 Aftercare Services Emergency and short-term services for young adults formerly in foster care who opt out of Extended Foster Care include: Emergency rent payments to prevent homelessness Payments for emergency car repairs Employment assistance and training Mental heath and substance abuse services Educational planning, preparation and application supports

18 Services Being Phased Out As of Jan. 1, 2014, the following will be phased out: Pre-independent Living These services will be delivered by foster parents and congregate care staff on an ongoing basis Assessments and curriculum have not yet been identified.

19 Services Being Phased Out As of Jan. 1, 2014, the following will be phased out: Subsidized Independent Living Children under 18 will remain in foster care and if they have a high school diploma or GED at 18 can opt into RTI as long as they maintain eligibility

20 Services Being Phased Out As of Jan. 1, 2014, the following will be phased out: Transitional Support Services This program will not be available, and clients currently receiving these benefits are being staffed to encourage completion of diploma/ GED or attendance in post secondary or employment program.

21 Current activities to support these activities Notification through group trainings such as today Staffings with young adults currently receiving TSS to assist them in gaining eligibility for RTI Local workgroup of has been developed and met twice to address implementation Fast Track program will be stepped up to assist as many year olds as possible pass the GED prior to December 31

22 THANK YOU


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