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2021 Florida Statutes (Including 2021B Session)
Continuing care for young adults.
Continuing care for young adults.
39.6251 Continuing care for young adults.—
(1) As used in this section, the term “child” means an individual who has not attained 21 years of age, and the term “young adult” means an individual who has attained 18 years of age but who has not attained 21 years of age.
(2) The primary goal for a child in care is permanency. A child who is living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday and who has not achieved permanency under s. 39.621 is eligible to remain in licensed care under the jurisdiction of the court and in the care of the department. A child is eligible to remain in licensed care if he or she is:
(a) Completing secondary education or a program leading to an equivalent credential;
(b) Enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education;
(c) Participating in a program or activity designed to promote or eliminate barriers to employment;
(d) Employed for at least 80 hours per month; or
(e) Unable to participate in programs or activities listed in paragraphs (a)-(d) full time due to a physical, intellectual, emotional, or psychiatric condition that limits participation. Any such barrier to participation must be supported by documentation in the child’s case file or school or medical records of a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric condition that impairs the child’s ability to perform one or more life activities.
The young adult must furnish documentation to the department or lead agency of his or her participation in one of the programs or activities listed in paragraphs (a)-(d), or his or her inability to participate in one of the programs or activities as provided in paragraph (e), or authorize the release of his or her records to the department or lead agency.
(3) The permanency goal for a young adult who chooses to remain in care past his or her 18th birthday is to transition to independence.
(4)(a) The young adult must reside in a supervised living environment that is approved by the department or a community-based care lead agency. The young adult shall live independently, but in an environment in which he or she is provided supervision, case management, and supportive services by the department or lead agency. Such an environment must offer developmentally appropriate freedom and responsibility to prepare the young adult for adulthood. For the purposes of this subsection, a supervised living arrangement may include a licensed foster home, licensed group home, college dormitory, shared housing, apartment, or another housing arrangement if the arrangement is approved by the community-based care lead agency and is acceptable to the young adult. A young adult may continue to reside with the same licensed foster family or group care provider with whom he or she was residing at the time he or she reached the age of 18 years.
(b) Before approving the residential setting in which the young adult will live, the department or community-based care lead agency must ensure that:
1. The young adult will be provided with a level of supervision consistent with his or her individual education, health care needs, permanency plan, and independent living goals as assessed by the department or lead agency with input from the young adult. Twenty-four hour onsite supervision is not required; however, 24-hour crisis intervention and support must be available.
2. The young adult will live in an independent living environment that offers, at a minimum, life skills instruction, counseling, educational support, employment preparation and placement, and development of support networks. The determination of the type and duration of services shall be based on the young adult’s assessed needs, interests, and input and must be consistent with the goals set in the young adult’s case plan.
(5) Eligibility for a young adult to remain in extended foster care ends on the earliest of the dates that the young adult:
(a) Reaches 21 years of age or, in the case of a young adult with a disability, reaches 22 years of age;
(b) Leaves care to live in a permanent home consistent with his or her permanency plan; or
(c) Knowingly and voluntarily withdraws his or her consent to participate in extended care. Withdrawal of consent to participate in extended care shall be verified by the court pursuant to s. 39.701, unless the young adult refuses to participate in any further court proceeding.
(6) A young adult who is between the ages of 18 and 21 and who has left care may return to care by applying to the community-based care lead agency for readmission through the execution of a voluntary placement agreement. The community-based care lead agency shall readmit the young adult if he or she continues to meet the eligibility requirements in this section.
(a) The department shall develop a standard procedure and application packet for readmission to care to be used by all community-based care lead agencies.
(b) Within 30 days after the young adult has been readmitted to care, the community-based care lead agency shall assign a case manager to update the case plan and the transition plan and to arrange for the required services. Updates to the case plan and the transition plan and arrangements for the required services shall be undertaken in consultation with the young adult. The department shall petition the court to reinstate jurisdiction over the young adult. Notwithstanding s. 39.013(2), the court shall resume jurisdiction over the young adult if the department establishes that he or she continues to meet the eligibility requirements in this section.
(7) During each period of time that a young adult is in care, the community-based lead agency shall provide regular case management reviews that must include at least monthly face-to-face meetings with the case manager.
(8) During the time that a young adult is in care, the court shall maintain jurisdiction to ensure that the department and the lead agencies are providing services and coordinate with, and maintain oversight of, other agencies involved in implementing the young adult’s case plan, individual education plan, and transition plan. The court shall review the status of the young adult at least every 6 months and hold a permanency review hearing at least annually. If the young adult is appointed a guardian under chapter 744 or a guardian advocate under s. 393.12, at the permanency review hearing the court shall review the necessity of continuing the guardianship and whether restoration of guardianship proceedings are needed when the young adult reaches 22 years of age. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem or continue the appointment of a guardian ad litem with the young adult’s consent. The young adult or any other party to the dependency case may request an additional hearing or review.
(9) The department shall establish a procedure by which a young adult may appeal a determination of eligibility to remain in care that was made by a community-based care lead agency. The procedure must be readily accessible to young adults, must provide for timely decisions, and must provide for an appeal to the department. The decision of the department constitutes final agency action and is reviewable by the court as provided in s. 120.68.
(10) The department shall adopt rules to administer this section.
History.—s. 5, ch. 2013-178; s. 2, ch. 2015-112; ss. 26, 28, 89, ch. 2018-10; s. 11, ch. 2018-103; s. 9, ch. 2019-142.