2020 Florida Statutes
Case plan development.
Case plan development.
39.6011 Case plan development.—
(1) The department shall prepare a draft of the case plan for each child receiving services under this chapter. A parent of a child may not be threatened or coerced with the loss of custody or parental rights for failing to admit in the case plan of abusing, neglecting, or abandoning a child. Participating in the development of a case plan is not an admission to any allegation of abuse, abandonment, or neglect, and it is not a consent to a finding of dependency or termination of parental rights. The case plan shall be developed subject to the following requirements:
(a) The case plan must be developed in a face-to-face conference with the parent of the child, any court-appointed guardian ad litem, and, if appropriate, the child and the temporary custodian of the child.
(b) Notwithstanding s. 39.202, the department may discuss confidential information during the case planning conference in the presence of individuals who participate in the conference. All individuals who participate in the conference shall maintain the confidentiality of all information shared during the case planning conference.
(c) The parent may receive assistance from any person or social service agency in preparing the case plan. The social service agency, the department, and the court, when applicable, shall inform the parent of the right to receive such assistance, including the right to assistance of counsel.
(d) If a parent is unwilling or unable to participate in developing a case plan, the department shall document that unwillingness or inability to participate. The documentation must be provided in writing to the parent when available for the court record, and the department shall prepare a case plan conforming as nearly as possible with the requirements set forth in this section. The unwillingness or inability of the parent to participate in developing a case plan does not preclude the filing of a petition for dependency or for termination of parental rights. The parent, if available, must be provided a copy of the case plan and be advised that he or she may, at any time before the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights, enter into a case plan and that he or she may request judicial review of any provision of the case plan with which he or she disagrees at any court hearing set for the child.
(2) The case plan must be written simply and clearly in English and, if English is not the principal language of the child’s parent, to the extent possible in the parent’s principal language. Each case plan must contain:
(a) A description of the identified problem being addressed, including the parent’s behavior or acts resulting in risk to the child and the reason for the intervention by the department.
(b) The permanency goal.
(c) If concurrent planning is being used, a description of the permanency goal of reunification with the parent or legal custodian in addition to a description of one of the remaining permanency goals described in s. 39.01.
1. If a child has not been removed from a parent, but is found to be dependent, even if adjudication of dependency is withheld, the court may leave the child in the current placement with maintaining and strengthening the placement as a permanency option.
2. If a child has been removed from a parent and is placed with a parent from whom the child was not removed, the court may leave the child in the placement with the parent from whom the child was not removed with maintaining and strengthening the placement as a permanency option.
3. If a child has been removed from a parent and is subsequently reunified with that parent, the court may leave the child with that parent with maintaining and strengthening the placement as a permanency option.
(d) The date the compliance period expires. The case plan must be limited to as short a period as possible for accomplishing its provisions. The plan’s compliance period expires no later than 12 months after the date the child was initially removed from the home, the child was adjudicated dependent, or the date the case plan was accepted by the court, whichever occurs first.
(e) A written notice to the parent that it is the parent’s responsibility to take action to comply with the case plan so permanency with the child may occur within the shortest period of time possible, but no later than 1 year after removal or adjudication of the child; the parent must notify the parties and the court of barriers to completing case plan tasks within a reasonable time after discovering such barriers if the parties are not actively working to overcome them; failure of the parent to substantially comply with the case plan may result in the termination of parental rights; and a material breach of the case plan by the parent’s action or inaction may result in the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights sooner than the compliance period set forth in the case plan.
(3) The case plan must be signed by all parties, except that the signature of a child may be waived if the child is not of an age or capacity to participate in the case-planning process. Signing the case plan constitutes an acknowledgment that the case plan has been developed by the parties and that they are in agreement as to the terms and conditions contained in the case plan. The refusal of a parent to sign the case plan does not prevent the court from accepting the case plan if the case plan is otherwise acceptable to the court. Signing the case plan does not constitute an admission to any allegation of abuse, abandonment, or neglect and does not constitute consent to a finding of dependency or termination of parental rights. Before signing the case plan, the department shall explain the provisions of the plan to all persons involved in its implementation, including, when appropriate, the child.
(4) Before signing the case plan, the department shall explain the provisions of the plan to all persons involved in its implementation, including, when appropriate, the child. The department shall ensure that the parent has contact information for all entities necessary to complete the tasks in the plan. The department shall explain the strategies included in the plan which the parent can use to overcome barriers to case plan compliance and shall explain that if a barrier is discovered and the parties are not actively working to overcome such barrier, the parent must notify the parties and the court within a reasonable time after discovering such barrier.
(5) The case plan must describe all of the following:
(a) The role of the foster parents or caregivers when developing the services that are to be provided to the child, foster parents, or caregivers.
(b) The responsibility of the parents and caregivers to work together when it is safe to do so, which includes:
1. How the parents and caregivers will work together to successfully implement the case plan.
2. How the case manager will assist the parents and caregivers in developing a productive relationship that includes meaningful communication and mutual support.
3. How the parents and caregivers may notify the court or the case manager if ineffective communication takes place that negatively impacts the child.
(c) The responsibility of the case manager to forward a relative’s request to receive notification of all proceedings and hearings submitted under s. 39.301(14)(b) to the attorney for the department.
(d) The minimum number of face-to-face meetings to be held each month between the parents and the case managers to review the progress of the plan and the services provided to the child, to eliminate barriers to progress, and to resolve conflicts or disagreements between parents and caregivers, service providers, or any other professionals assisting the parents in the completion of the case plan.
(e) The parent’s responsibility for financial support of the child, including, but not limited to, health insurance and child support. The case plan must list the costs associated with any services or treatment that the parent and child are expected to receive which are the financial responsibility of the parent. The determination of child support and other financial support shall be made independently of any determination of indigency under s. 39.013.
(6) When the permanency goal for a child is adoption, the case plan must include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangement for the child. At a minimum, the documentation shall include recruitment efforts that are specific to the child, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems.
(7) After the case plan has been developed, the department shall adhere to the following procedural requirements:
(a) If the parent’s substantial compliance with the case plan requires the department to provide services to the parents or the child and the parents agree to begin compliance with the case plan before the case plan’s acceptance by the court, the department shall make the appropriate referrals for services that will allow the parents to begin the agreed-upon tasks and services immediately.
(b) All other referrals for services must be completed as soon as possible, but no later than 7 days after the date of the case plan approval, unless the case plan specifies that a task may not be undertaken until another specified task has been completed or otherwise approved by the court.
(c) After the case plan has been agreed upon and signed by the parties, a copy of the plan must be given immediately to the parties, including the child if appropriate, and to other persons as directed by the court.
1. A case plan must be prepared, but need not be submitted to the court, for a child who will be in care no longer than 30 days unless that child is placed in out-of-home care a second time within a 12-month period.
2. In each case in which a child has been placed in out-of-home care, a case plan must be prepared within 60 days after the department removes the child from the home and shall be submitted to the court before the disposition hearing for the court to review and approve.
3. After jurisdiction attaches, all case plans must be filed with the court, and a copy provided to all the parties whose whereabouts are known, not less than 3 business days before the disposition hearing. The department shall file with the court, and provide copies to the parties, all case plans prepared before jurisdiction of the court attached.
(8) The case plan must be filed with the court and copies provided to all parties, including the child if appropriate, not less than 3 business days before the disposition hearing.
(9) The case plan must describe a process for making available to all physical custodians and case managers the information required by s. 39.6012(2) and for ensuring that this information follows the child until permanency has been achieved.
History.—s. 15, ch. 2006-86; s. 27, ch. 2008-245; s. 11, ch. 2009-43; s. 11, ch. 2012-178; s. 15, ch. 2017-151; s. 7, ch. 2019-128; s. 6, ch. 2020-138.