Effective date: 7/7/2016
(1) This rule applies when:
(a) The child is in the custody of the Department;
Terms Used In Florida Regulations 65C-16.019
- Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
(b) Parental rights have not been terminated;
(c) A parent executes a consent for the child’s placement with an adoption entity; and,
(d) An adoption entity files a petition to intervene in the dependency case.
(2) Intervention. An adoption entity’s intervention does not relieve the Department of its responsibility to assess whether the best interest of the child is met. At the time of the intervention hearing, the Department shall inform the court as to whether it opposes or supports the motion for intervention. The Department shall oppose the adoption entity’s intervention if the adoption entity fails to provide the Department with the intervention preliminary home study.
(3) The intervention preliminary home study shall be completed by the private adoption entity and shall include the following:
(a) When a prospective adoptive family is identified, the home study must document that the family and medical history of the child’s family and the current and projected needs of the specific child were discussed.
(b) When a prospective adoptive family is identified, the preliminary home study must be updated to include a determination that the family has the strengths to meet the identified current and projected needs of the specific child including the adoptive parents’ willingness to access needed services.
(4) The Department shall evaluate the intervention preliminary home study of the adoption entity’s prospective adoptive parent and any other relevant information available to the Department to determine whether the placement will be in the child’s best interest based on the following factors:
(a) Each parent’s compliance with the case plan at the time of consent;
(b) Any concerns about the parent’s reason for executing the consent;
(c) Any reservations about the mental capacity of the parent who executed the consent;
(d) The status of notification of relatives that adoption is the new permanency goal;
(e) The status of notification of the adoptive parents of siblings that adoption is the new permanency goal;
(f) The quality and length of the child’s relationship with the child’s current caregiver;
(g) The quality and length of the child’s relationship with any prospective adoptive parents;
(h) The current placement and status of other siblings;
(i) The wishes of the child, if the child is of the appropriate age and maturity to express a preference;
(j) The length of time the child has been in his or her current placement;
(k) All special needs of the child, including the child’s physical health, mental health, educational needs, and attachment concerns;
(l) The Department or community-based care agency (CBC) shall check the child abuse and neglect registries of all states where the prospective adoptive parents and other adults living in the prospective adoptive home resided in the previous five (5) years.
(5) If the court grants the intervention, the CBC or subcontractor shall terminate their supervision and end the removal episode of the child in FSFN with a discharge reason of transferred to another agency. The CBC or subcontractor shall not close the case in FSFN until finalization of the adoption.
(6) If the court grants the intervention, the adoption entity shall prepare a transition plan in conjunction with the CBC or subcontractor, the current caregiver, and prospective adoptive parents. The transition must respect the child’s developmental stage and psychological needs, ensure the child has all of his or her belongings, and allow for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s home.
(7) If the court grants the intervention, the adoption entity shall provide monthly supervision reports to the Department through Children’s Legal Services until the finalization of the adoption. The adoption entity’s monthly supervision reports shall contain:
(a) Date and location of each face-to-face contact with the child;
(b) A summary of the child’s academic performance, if the child attends school;
(c) A summary of the child’s current health status, including mental health, the dates of any health related appointments in the previous month, the identity of any health providers seen, and a list of the child’s current medications, if any;
(d) The type and frequency of the child’s interactions with his or her siblings;
(e) A description of any unmet needs and recommendations for meeting the identified needs; and,
(f) A description of how the child is attaching with the prospective adoptive parent.
(8) Until the child’s adoption is finalized, the Department shall continue to report the child’s status to the court and shall continue to collect the information necessary for its dependency case and for its efforts to ensure a permanent placement for the child. This information shall be contained in documents the adoption entity provides to the Department, CBC or its subcontractor, including the adoption entity’s monthly supervision reports and the intervention preliminary home study of the prospective adoptive parents.
(9) After the child is placed with the adoption entity’s prospective adoptive parent, the Department, through an attorney for the Department, shall schedule regular status reviews with the court to monitor the child’s progress with the prospective adoptive placement until the adoption finalization. CLS or the OAG shall file the adoption entity’s monthly supervision reports with the court for these status reviews and shall provide a copy of all monthly supervision reports to the CBC agency or its subcontractor for its case record.
(10) Department’s Case Record. When an adoption entity intervenes in a dependency court case, the Department, CBC agency, or its subcontractor shall maintain an open inactive case record on the child until the adoption is finalized. For this case record, the Department, CBC agency, or its subcontractor shall collect and maintain the following:
(a) The intervention preliminary home study;
(b) Other documentation relating to the placement with the prospective adoptive parents; and,
(c) A copy of all monthly supervision reports provided to an attorney for the Department.
(11) If the adoptive family requests subsidy and the child is determined eligible for maintenance adoption subsidy, all required documentation supporting the request must be provided to the CBC or subcontractor and the private adoption screen in FSFN must be completed if the subsidy is approved.
(12) Department’s Legal Case File. When an adoption entity intervenes in a dependency court case, the Department, through an attorney for the Department, shall maintain a legal case file until the adoption is finalized. For this file, the Department shall collect and maintain the following:
(a) The intervention preliminary home study;
(b) Any other evidence presented during the intervention hearing relating to the placement with the prospective adoptive parents;
(c) Monthly supervision reports from the adoption entity until the adoption is finalized;
(d) The final home study; and,
(e) The final order of adoption.
(13) Final Home Study. The intervening adoption entity shall provide the court and the Department with a final home study before a final order of adoption is granted. The final home study shall meet the following requirements:
(a) The final home study must be performed by a licensed child-placing agency, a child-caring agency registered under Florida Statutes § 409.176, a licensed professional, or an agency as described in Florida Statutes § 61.20(2), unless the petitioner is a stepparent or relative.
(b) The final home study shall contain:
1. The information from the intervention preliminary home study.
2. Documentation of a minimum of two (2) scheduled visits with the child and the child’s adoptive parent after the child is placed in the prospective adoptive home to determine the safety and well-being of the child. One of the visits must be in the home.
3. Relevant information about the child’s needs and the services accessed by the adoptive parents to meet those needs; and,
4. Any other information relevant to the prospective adoptive family.
(14) A determination of eligibility for maintenance adoption subsidy and, if eligible, the signing of the Adoption Assistance Agreement, CF-FSP 5079, incorporated in subsection 65C-16.013(2), F.A.C., shall be completed prior to finalization of the adoption. The adoption entity with custody of the child shall provide all documentation regarding eligibility to the CBC. See Rule 65C-16.013, F.A.C., for more information of determination of maintenance adoption subsidy payments.
(15) The Department must be given notice of the adoption finalization hearing.
(16) The intervening adoption entity shall file the final order of adoption in the child’s dependency case for purposes of case closure.
(17) If at any time the child is returned to the custody of the Department, the intervening adoption entity shall provide the Department will all legal filings from the adoption case.
Rulemaking authorized by Florida Statutes § 63.233. Law Implemented 63.082(6), 63.092 FS. History”‘New 7-7-16.