Effective date: 7/7/2016

    (1) Abuse and neglect history checks must be conducted on all adoptive applicants and other household members 12 years of age and older, pursuant to Sections 39.0138 and 39.521, F.S. The applicants must be informed of this requirement early in the home study process and must provide written consent for the checks to be completed. Abuse and neglect history checks must be current within 30 calendar days of placement of an adoptive child in the home.

Terms Used In Florida Regulations 65C-16.007

  • Allegation: something that someone says happened.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Nolo contendere: No contest-has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any other purpose.
  • Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
    (a) When the adoptive applicant or other adult household member has lived in another state within five (5) years of the request for a home study, a child abuse and neglect registry check of the other state must be requested. In states that do not use a centralized intake or state automated child welfare system (SACWIS), the Florida child welfare professional is required to contact the county administered child protection program to complete the record check. If the other state does not have a local or county child abuse and neglect registry, the counselor must determine whether to approve the applicant based on all other information required by Rules 65C-16.002, 65C-16.004, and 65C-16.005, F.A.C.
    (b) Any request for information from FSFN must be in writing and must include a statement of statutory authorization to receive the information.
    (c) All Department personnel and other agencies and professionals using information from FSFN, or any child abuse case record shall be informed that misuse of such information may cause them to be held personally liable, any person injured or aggrieved by such disclosure may be entitled to damages, and unauthorized release of abuse reports may result in criminal prosecution.
    (2) Local, statewide, and national criminal records checks and juvenile records checks must be conducted on all adoptive applicants and other household members 18 years of age and older. Local, statewide, and juvenile records checks must be conducted on all household members 12 through 17 years of age.
    (a) If the criminal records checks reveal that the applicant has been convicted of a crime specified in Florida Statutes § 39.0138(2), the application must be denied.
    (b) If the criminal records checks reveal that the applicant has been convicted of a crime specified in Florida Statutes § 39.0138(3), the applicant can not be considered for adoption until five (5) years after the date of conviction. After five (5) years have passed, the applicant shall be referred to the Adoption Applicant Review Committee if the applicant submits a new Adoptive Home Application, CF-FSP 5071, incorporated in subsection 65C-16.004(6), F.A.C.
    (c) If the criminal records checks reveal that the applicant has been found guilty or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for crimes other than those listed in Section 39.0138(2) or (3), F.S., the applicant shall be evaluated as to the extent of his or her rehabilitation. Factors to be considered will include the severity of the action resulting in the record, how much time has elapsed since the offense, circumstances surrounding the incident, and whether records indicate single or repeated offenses. Referral of these applicants to the Adoption Applicant Review Committee is not required but they must be submitted to the appropriate entity in the community-based-care (CBC) agency or designee for approval.
    (d) If the juvenile records check reveals a juvenile record, this information must be addressed in the home study and a determination must be made regarding possible impact on the adopted child.
    (3) For foster parents and relative caregivers who are the current caregivers adopting a Department child, federal background checks must be current within five (5) years of the date of adoption placement. For nonrelatives or for potential adoptive parents who are not the current caregivers of the child, federal background checks must be current within one (1) year of the date of adoption placement. All potential adoptive parents must have state and local background checks that are current within 90 days of the date of adoption placement.
    (4) Abuse Reports Involving Adoptive Parents.
    (a) When the Department receives reports of abuse, neglect or abandonment by adoptive parents whose adoptions have been finalized, they will be handled as any other family on whom a report has been received.
    (b) In cases where such reports are received on families whose adoptions are not finalized, the protective investigator will consult with the adoption counselor or supervisor who knows the family and children.
    (c) If an allegation of abuse, neglect or abandonment is made directly to the case manager or adoption counselor, the Florida Abuse Hotline must be notified immediately. The report will be transmitted to the local Protective Investigation unit. Complaints which do not contain allegations of abuse, neglect or abandonment and are made directly to the case manager or adoption counselor shall be investigated by the case manager or adoption counselor.
    (d) If an investigation of an abuse, neglect or abandonment report by protective investigations reveals that the subject of the report is an adoptive parent whose adoption has not been finalized, the case manager or adoption counselor must be notified within 72 hours and must assume responsibilities in the investigation as outlined above.
    (e) If abuse or neglect is established but does not warrant removal of the children, consideration shall be given to providing post adoption services, including a referral to the multidisciplinary team, to the family for a specified period of time. Prior to the expiration of the specified period of time, input from the CBC or subcontractor agency must be sought to assess progress being made and the likelihood that the consent to the adoption will be issued. The CBC or subcontractor agency shall convene a meeting to decide if the placement will be terminated and the child returned to foster care or if a recommendation to issue consent for finalization of the adoption will be given.
    (f) Whether the recommendation is finalization of the adoption or removal of the children, information about the report, services provided to the family, and reasons for the final decision must be documented and provided to the court.
Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121, 63.233 FS. Law Implemented 39.0138, 39.521(1)(b)1., 39.701, 39.811(8), (9), 63.092(3), 63.125 FS. History—New 5-20-91, Formerly 10M-8.00513, Amended 4-28-92, 4-19-94, 8-17-94, 1-8-95, Formerly 10M-8.0053, Amended 12-23-97, 8-19-03, 11-30-08, 7-7-16.