Representing youth in the dependency system mary k wimsett esq gainesville florida
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Representing Youth in the Dependency System Mary K. Wimsett, Esq. Gainesville, Florida PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Representing Youth in the Dependency System Mary K. Wimsett, Esq. Gainesville, Florida. Levels of Care. Placement with parents, family or other non-relative caretaker Foster Care (family home or group home) Therapeutic Foster Care Specialized Therapeutic Group Care

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Representing Youth in the Dependency System Mary K. Wimsett, Esq. Gainesville, Florida

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Representing youth in the dependency system mary k wimsett esq gainesville florida

Representing Youth in the Dependency SystemMary K. Wimsett, Esq.Gainesville, Florida


Levels of care

Levels of Care

  • Placement with parents, family or other non-relative caretaker

  • Foster Care (family home or group home)

  • Therapeutic Foster Care

  • Specialized Therapeutic Group Care

  • Residential Treatment Center


Levels of care foster care

Levels of Care: Foster Care

  • Family foster home

    • number of children in home will range anywhere from one to six depending on the family

    • Child receives a monthly allowance (ranges from $10-20 per month depending on the CBC)

  • Group home

    • managed by professional staff

    • number of children in home will vary but will typically be bigger than a family foster home


Levels of care therapeutic foster care

Levels of Care: Therapeutic Foster Care

  • 2 levels of Therapeutic Foster Care

    • level will determine the following:

      • frequency of therapy and psychiatric care

      • Medicaid board rate

      • step down staffings required statewide

      • increased training for foster parents


Levels of care specialized therapeutic group care

Levels of Care: Specialized Therapeutic Group Care

  • 24-hour residential program in “homelike” setting with no more than 12 kids

  • Purpose is to provide treatment (vs. living environment as in foster care)

  • Requires the recommendation of a Suitability Assessment, the same procedures & constitutional protections apply of RTC placements, 394.67(21), Fla. Stat.


Levels of care residential treatment centers rtc

Levels of Care: Residential Treatment Centers (RTC)

  • Rule 8.350 & 39.407(6), Fla. Stat.

    • Suitability Assessment required before child can be placed in RTC

    • Motion required for placement

    • GAL always appointed, AAL appointed if child does not agree to placement

    • Status hearing on placement


Levels of care residential treatment centers con t

Levels of Care: Residential Treatment Centers con’t.

  • Evidentiary hearing on placement

  • Voluntary Treatment Individualized Plans

  • Internal Treatment Review

  • Court Review

    • Every 90 days, report must be filed 72 hours

  • GAL may request review of placement at ANY TIME


Levels of care1

Levels of Care

Involuntary Commitment (Baker Act)

  • Baker Act provision in the statute is §39.407(5)

  • Criteria established in §394.467 must be established

  • Difference from residential commitment as a residential commitment is considered a “voluntary commitment”


Issues related to placement

Issues Related to Placement

  • Runaways

  • Pregnant Youth

  • DJJ Involvement

  • Psychotropic Medications

  • Master Trust Accounts


Issues related to placement runaways

Issues Related to Placement: Runaways

  • If a child runs away, the family services counselor is required to notify:

    • local law enforcement (confirm this on FDLE’s website, www.fdle.state.uf.us/missing_children)

    • child’s parents

    • GAL

    • immediate supervisor

    • child’s therapist

    • any other person the counselor deems essential


Issues related to placement runaways con t

Issues Related to Placement: Runaways con’t.

  • FSC is required to make weekly contacts (for the first 3 months) with family, legal custodians, relatives, provider agencies, friends, Missing Children Information Clearinghouse, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and local law enforcement

  • At every Judicial Review, the department is required to inform the court of the child’s status and the efforts of the department to locate the child


Issues related to placement runaways con t1

Issues Related to Placement: Runaways con’t.

  • When the child returns, the advocate should:

    • determine if the department has procured the required evaluation within 24 hours to determine the need for further services including mental health and medical services; and

    • determine if the child’s case plan needs to be amended to include services necessary to remedy issues that led to the child missing


Issues related to placement pregnant youth

Issues Related to Placement: Pregnant Youth

  • Important to work beforehand to secure placement for client and baby

  • F.A.C. 65C-28.010 states that dependent mothers shall be placed with their babies unless there is not a home or facility available to house them both or if the infant’s safety is at a substantial risk

  • If client and baby are placed separately, have nursing schedule ordered as well as transportation for client. If department argues that client can pump/store milk, have court order that the department provide proper equipment for this (an electric pump which can be rented from hospitals).


Issues related to placement pregnant youth con t

Issues Related to Placement: Pregnant Youth con’t.

  • Attend shelter hearing with client to ensure Court has accurate information

  • Must communicate regularly with child’s attorney (if shelter granted and dependency action proceeds)

  • There must be separate grounds for dependency of infant

  • Young mother still entitled to IL services


Issues related to placement djj involvement

Issues Related to Placement: DJJ Involvement

  • Crucial to communicate with child’s public defender/defense attorney and DJJ counselor (Juvenile Probation Office or “JPO”)

    • You can provide the critical link between dependency and delinquency courts

    • Do not assume that DJJ or the delinquency judge is familiar with child’s dependency history

  • If child is committed to DJJ, coordinate release logistics pre-release, especially if child will be released after 18th Birthday


Issues related to placement psychotropic medications

Issues Related to Placement: Psychotropic Medications

  • Children in foster care are 2-3 times more likely to be medicated than those in the community

  • Many children medicated by physicians with incomplete medical history

  • 39.407, Fla. Stat.

    • DCF must obtain consent of parents or file motion with the court in order to medicate child

    • Specific requirements in statute as to what motion and affidavit must include

  • Juvenile Rule of Procedure 8.355

    • Tracks the statute


Issues related to placement master trust accounts

Issues Related to Placement: Master Trust Accounts

  • Children who receive SSI or SSA benefits have a Master Trust Account

  • Important to carefully review accountings to ensure accuracy and that balance does not exceed $2000.00 (if SSI funds)

  • Fee Waivers

  • Complicated issue: consult with GAL staff if child has a Master Trust Account


Maintaining placement

Maintaining Placement

  • Placement Match

  • Extra-Curricular Activities—Normalcy Memo (GAL web site)

  • Sibling Contact

  • Adult Support

  • Positive Reinforcement


Representing youth in the dependency system mary k wimsett esq gainesville florida

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