(1) Permanency Goals. Permanency goals, as set forth in Florida Statutes § 39.621(2), shall be selected based on the best interest of the individual child. The primary permanency option is to maintain a child with his or her parents or legal custodian followed by reunification of the child with his or her parents or legal custodian whenever possible.
    (2) Reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency goal shall be made during the first 12 months following the date the child was removed from his or her home.
    (3) The following shall be assessed in determining the best permanency goal for a child in out-of-home care:
    (a) Whether interventions provided will alleviate the causes of removal;
    (b) Current family relationships and other significant relationships that provide the child stability and a sense of connection and provide possible permanent living options. This includes connections with family members from the child’s home of removal;
    (c) Physical, Medical, Emotional, Psychological, Developmental and Educational Needs. The child welfare professional shall give consideration to matching the child with caregivers able to provide for the child’s needs on a long-term basis. The child welfare professional shall ensure that the caregivers are provided the education, training and support necessary to enable them to meet the child’s needs;
    (d) Placement options that provide the most family-like and least restrictive settings. The child welfare professional shall explore the current caregiver’s ability and willingness to provide a permanent home for the child;
    (e) Child’s Preferences. The child welfare professional shall provide youth of sufficient age, maturity, and understanding with information and education regarding permanency goal options to assist the child in making an informed decision as to his or her preference in achieving permanency.
    (4) Permanency Goal Requirements. The particular situation of each child and family shall be considered by the child welfare professional in determining the best permanency goal for a particular child. Youth of sufficient age, maturity, and understanding shall be informed of the availability of long-term caregivers or opportunities for independence. Reunification shall be ruled out as an option prior to changing the permanency goal to any other option. The case documentation shall provide justification that the permanency option recommended to the court is the most appropriate one for the child.
Rulemaking Authority 39.012, 39.0121(12), (13) FS. Law Implemented Florida Statutes § 39.621. History—New 5-4-06, 2-25-16.