(1) It is the responsibility of each employing agency to maintain the integrity of the training and certification process, by ensuring employee compliance with this Rule and by establishing agency policies that reflect the fact that timely child protection certification is a condition of employment for those positions requiring certification.
    (2)(a) It is the supervisor’s responsibility to support the evolving capacity of each individual under his or her supervision to effectively and competently carry out his or her job responsibilities.
    (b) On an on-going basis, the supervisor must assess the individual’s level of job-related knowledge, skills, abilities and priorities and must identify, arrange for, or provide additional assistance as necessary to help enhance the individual’s overall development as a proficient Child Protection Professional.
    (3) Absent special circumstances, every Child Protection Professional is required to be certified within one (1) year of the date of hire, or within one year of having successfully completed either the post-test or the waiver test for his or her position classification, whichever is earlier. Unless accommodations are made by the employing agency to address an individual’s special circumstances, certification is valid for a period of no longer than three (3) years.
    (a) Arrangements may be made to accommodate an individual’s special circumstances in those cases in which the individual is unable to assume full or partial responsibility for a caseload, or fulfill the attendance requirements of pre-service or in-service training due to a medical, personal, family, or other emergency situation beyond the individual’s control.
    (b)1. Accommodation includes extending the individual’s pre-service or in-service training period, approving limited additional time within which the individual can become certified or recertified, or effecting such other accommodation as is reasonable based upon the individual’s situation.
    2. Accommodation of an individual’s special circumstances may be restricted to a specified time frame, or may extend until such time as the individual is able to fully resume his or her regular duties; the individual no longer occupies a position requiring certification; the individual is no longer employed by the agency; or the agency can no longer provide the accommodation.
    (c) All individuals whose certification or recertification is or is anticipated to be delayed due to the accommodation of special circumstances shall be required to enter into a Certification Plan.
    1. The agency-designed Certification Plan must identify the roles and responsibilities of all plan participants, and must set forth specific training and other job performance requirements which must be met in order for the Trainee or Child Protection Professional to achieve certification. The plan must address each of the necessary steps, and must include a specific time frame (not to exceed 60 days from one year after the individual’s having successfully completed the post-test or the waiver test) within which the individual must satisfy the training and other job performance requirements in order to achieve certification, or be removed from any position requiring that certification.
    2. It is the responsibility of the employing agency to help ensure that the Trainee or Child Protection Professional has access to the resources and supports necessary for his or her successful completion of the certification process.
    (4) Certification is based upon successful completion of both the pre-service curriculum component and the Performance Assessment element of the State of Florida’s Child Protection Professional Certification Program, as well as additional specific established requirements for each position classification, if any.
    (5) Each type of Child Protection Certification has a different training, testing and certification requirement, all of which are established by the Department.
    (6) There are 11 types of certification designations for Child Protection Professionals:
    (a) Child Protective Investigator;
    (b) Child Protective Investigations Supervisor;
    (c) Child Protective Investigations Specialist;
    (d) Child Protection Case Manager;
    (e) Child Protection Case Management Supervisor;
    (f) Child Protection Case Management Specialist;
    (g) Child Protection Licensing Counselor;
    (h) Child Protection Licensing Supervisor;
    (i) Child Protection Licensing Specialist;
    (j) Child Protection Specialized Services Professional;
    (k) Child Welfare Trainer.
    (7) Certification designations may be modified or additional certification designations may be authorized by the Department of Children and Families through the rulemaking process.
    (8) As determined by the Department, each certification type shall be indicative of core competencies achieved within the job responsibilities of each respective position classification and be so designated.
    (9) Certification is a requirement for individuals in the following positions:
    (a) Child Protective Investigator;
    (b) Child Protective Investigations Supervisor (which includes any individual, regardless of position title, who is primarily responsible for providing direct supervision of Child Protective Investigators);
    (c) Child Protection Case Manager;
    (d) Child Protection Case Management Supervisor (which includes any individual, regardless of position title, who is primarily responsible for providing direct supervision of Child Protection Case Managers);
    (e) Child Protection Licensing Counselor (or any individual, regardless of position title, who conducts parent preparation pre-service training for prospective caregivers, or any individual who conducts home visit assessments for the purpose of completing foster or adoptive home studies of prospective caregivers);
    (f) Child Protection Licensing Supervisor (which includes any individual, regardless of position title, who is primarily responsible for providing direct supervision of Child Protection Licensing Counselors, or who conducts parent preparation pre-service training for prospective caregivers, or who conducts home visit assessments for the purpose of completing foster or adoptive home studies of prospective caregivers, or who approves, by signature, foster or adoptive home studies of prospective caregivers);
    (g) Child Welfare Trainer.
    (10) Certification is optional for individuals in the following non-supervisory positions:
    (a) Child Protective Investigations Specialist (which includes any individual, regardless of position title, who performs the same or substantially similar function as a Program Specialist, Quality Assurance Professional, Field Trainer, Job Coach, or is otherwise responsible for evaluating the job performance of a Child Protective Investigator, or for providing case oversight or review in the program area of Child Protective Investigations);
    (b) Child Protection Case Management Specialist (which includes any individual, regardless of position title, who performs the same or substantially similar function as a Program Specialist, Quality Assurance Professional, Field Trainer, Job Coach, or is otherwise responsible for evaluating the job performance of a Child Protection Case Manager, or for providing case oversight or review in the program area of Child Protection Case Management);
    (c) Child Protection Licensing Specialist (which includes any individual, regardless of position title, who performs the same or substantially similar function as a Program Specialist, Quality Assurance Professional, Field Trainer, Job Coach, or is otherwise responsible for evaluating the job performance of a Child Protection Licensing Counselor, or for providing case oversight or review in the program area of Child Protection Licensing). Certification is optional for individuals in this category unless the individual is primarily responsible for providing direct supervision of Child Protection Licensing Counselors, or conducts parent preparation pre-service training for prospective caregivers; or conducts home visit assessments for the purpose of completing foster or adoptive home studies of prospective caregivers; or approves, by signature, foster or adoptive home studies of prospective caregivers. For individuals performing these functions, certification requirements shall apply.
    (d) Child Protection Specialized Services Professional (which includes any individual, regardless of position title, who performs a very specific activity for the employing agency, such as placements; locating missing children; etc.). Certification is optional for individuals in this category unless the individual is responsible for direct supervision of persons in positions requiring certification.
    (11) The employing agency is responsible for ensuring that all certification requirements are met within the specified time frame for those positions requiring certification.
    (a) To be certified, each Child Protection Professional candidate must meet the training and certification requirements for his or her position classification (Protective Investigations; Case Management; Licensing; Child Welfare Trainer) and certification designation (e.g., Protective Investigator; Supervisor) within one (1) year of the date of hire, or the date of having successfully completed the waiver or post-test for the position, whichever is earlier, absent special circumstances accommodated by the employing agency.
    1. Regardless of an individual’s prior experience or length of time in a position requiring child welfare/child protection certification as a condition of employment, any individual who, prior to the effective date of this rule, has been functioning for any length of time in a position which requires such certification as set forth in this rule, and in which he or she has not achieved certification in that specific position classification (i.e., Protective Investigations; Case Management; Licensing) and in that specific certification designation (e.g., Case Manager; Protective Investigations Supervisor) within one (1) year of the date of hire, or the date of having successfully completed the waiver or post-test for the position, that individual is hereby provided with one (1) year from the effective date of this rule within which he or she shall successfully complete the activities necessary for certification in that specific position classification and certification designation (including both the casework and interpersonal components of the appropriate Performance Assessment for all individuals, in addition to the Office of Family Safety-approved “Supervising for Excellence” training for individuals in supervisory positions), and shall achieve such certification no later than one (1) year from the effective date of this rule, or be removed from any position requiring such certification. For individuals in this situation, a waiver test is not necessary.
    (b) Prior to successfully completing the waiver or post-test, the individual is considered to be a trainee, and, as such, under no circumstances shall he or she carry a caseload, be assigned responsibility for any cases, conduct any unaccompanied or unsupervised home visits, perform any unsupervised home studies or interviews of children or adults, be ultimately responsible for any assessment of risk, or otherwise have primary responsibility for any investigation, child, family or case.
    (12) In those instances in which an individual, by virtue of promotion or other means of transfer into another position is actively, concurrently certified in more than one position classification (Protective Investigations; Case Management; Licensing) or more than one certification designation (e.g., Protective Investigator; Supervisor), the individual may hold two or more such certifications simultaneously.
    (a) Individuals shall not be initially certified in positions which they do not currently occupy, however, they may be eligible for recertification in the positions they held previously, as long as they meet the requirements for recertification.
    (b) There is no limit to the number of position classifications or certification designations in which an individual may be recertified, and no limit to the length of time an individual may hold multiple Child Protection certifications, as long as the individual continues to meet the following recertification requirements:
    1. Achieved initial certification in each of the position classifications or certification designations as indicated by possession of a valid, original Department-issued certificate, and
    2. Is currently employed in a Florida child welfare/child protection position in good standing, and
    3. Has not been decertified for cause in any position requiring certification, and
    4. Participates in and maintains documentation in the SkillNET system (or other Department-approved tracking database) of a minimum of 48 hours of professional development training every three (3) years for recertification in each of the certifications held. Each separate recertification requires 48 hours of professional development training hours, as addressed in Rule 65C-33.008, F.A.C.
    (13) The employing agency is responsible for the internal monitoring of all trainings, certification activities and certification status of every Child Protection Professional employed by the agency.
    (a) The official tracking system that shall be used by the Department, the Training Academy, and all agencies to document training is SkillNET (or other Department-approved tracking database).
    (b) All training, testing and certification information must be current and maintained in SkillNET (or other Department-approved tracking database).
    1. The Training Academy is responsible for entering and maintaining pre-service course and testing information in the SkillNET (or other Department-approved tracking database) system.
    2. The Office of Family Safety is responsible for verifying certification information in the SkillNET (or other Department-approved tracking database) system, prior to certificate issuance.
    (14)(a) Upon any of the following: an individual’s loss of or inability to achieve certification; promotion, demotion or transfer to a position not requiring certification; decertification; termination from the position or agency; or other such status-changing event, the employing agency Training Manager or designee shall notify the Training Academy in writing of the individual’s status within five (5) business days of the effective date of the event.
    (b) Within two (2) business days of same notification, the Training Academy will update the individual’s status in the SkillNET or other Department-approved tracking database system.
Rulemaking Authority 402.40, 402.731(1) FS. Implements Florida Statutes § 402.40, 402.731(1). History-New 10-14-10.