DCF Releases Memo on Caregiver Notice for Court Hearings

See the Memo here DCF Memo on Caregiver Notice of Court Hearings (& Info Sheet JPG)

DCF’s Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare released the memo above on May 30.  Below are excerpts from the accompanying email:

Florida completed its Child and Family Service Review (CFSR) in September 2016 and the Children’s Bureau issued the final report on December 28, 2016.  One of the findings in the report was that Florida did not have a systematic method to notify caregivers of court hearings and their right to be heard in court.  Florida has two years to implement the key activities and achieve the sustained level of performance as negotiated with the Children’s Bureau in Florida’s Program Improvement Plan (PIP).  As part of the PIP, a statewide workgroup was created to address a systematic method to ensure that caregivers were notified of court hearings and their right to be heard at those hearings.  The workgroup developed a one-page document that can be posted in offices and distributed to caregivers during ongoing home-visits conducted by case managers or child protective investigators prior to case transfer.  The workgroup also recommended that the case manager or child protective investigator prior to case transfer provide written notice of the next court hearing to caregivers which could be a copy of the home visit form, or on the back of the business card of the child welfare professional providing the notice.

ACTION NEEDED:  In order to effect practice improvement, it is critical for the regions and Community-based Care lead agencies (CBCs) to ensure that each caregiver is notified of court hearings and their right to be heard at those hearings.