Florida's Children First

Guidelines for the Release of Children’s Records

The purpose of these guidelines are to provide guidance on the release of child records which was enacted into law July 1, 2009. Section 39.00145, F.S. prescribes the process for releasing case records of children. Key components of the legislation include: • maintenance of complete and accurate records • minimum standards for record content • […]

The Unseen Costs of Foster Care: A Social Return on Investment Study

The foster care system, and more broadly child welfare in the U.S., is a complex and diverse system with wide-ranging factors influencing a child’s well-being, their placement in out-of-home care, and the resulting life outcomes. In recent years, the number of children in foster care has grown, now reaching approximately 670,000 children in 2016. This analysis was […]

Youth Efficacy/Empowerment Scale – Mental Health & Youth Participation in Planning Scale Packet – English & Spanish

This packet contains introductory information about two scales meant to help you measure youth empowerment and participation.  The Youth Efficacy/Empowerment Scale – Mental Health was designed to assess youth perceptions of efficacy with respect to managing their mental health conditions as well as utilizing services and supports.  The Youth Participation in Planning Scale assesses youth […]

US Department of Education: New Foster Care Transition Toolkit Offers Tips for Helping Foster Youth Succeed as Adults

The U.S. Department of Education today released a new toolkit to inspire and support current and former foster youth pursuing college and career opportunities. The Foster Care Transition Toolkit includes tips and resources intended to help foster youth access and navigate social, emotional, educational and skills barriers as they transition into adulthood. Currently, there are […]

HIGHER EDUCATION: Actions Needed to Improve Access to Federal Financial Assistance for Homeless and Foster Youth

Homeless youth and youth in foster care are often unprepared for the transition to adulthood. Given the economic benefits of college, GAO was asked to examine the college experiences of these vulnerable youth. GAO examined (1) college enrollment and completion for foster and homeless youth, (2) the extent to which challenges these youth face affect […]

Out of the Shadows: Supporting LGBTQ Youth in Child Welfare Through Cross System Collaboration

This report highlights the research on the disparities that exist between LGBTQ foster youth and their non-LGBTQ peers, as well as the compounding effects these factors have in relation to other intersecting factors including race, ethnicity, culture and language. It also discusses successful policy strategies and state examples of efforts that are addressing system and practice obstacles. Out of the Shadows: […]

Foster kids aging out of system have more options, but basics like housing still a challenge

Historically, foster youth in Florida who turn 18 have celebrated their milestone birthday with a push out the door and well wishes shortly after they blow out their candles. They could opt for a monthly stipend of around $1,200 if they chose to continue their education full time, but the support of a home and […]

Juvenile Record Expunction Update: Know Your Rights

This law (SB 386) drops the automatic expunction age from 24 to 21. It also allows some young adults to seek expunction of their juvenile records prior to age 21 – if they haven’t committed a crime within the last 5 years. Additionally, it removes the 12-month limitation on seeking expunction of juvenile diversion records. […]

Tuition Exemption: Know Your Rights

In March, 2016, the Board of the Governors of the Florida State University System realized the need to revise its Regulation that limited the use of the tuition exemption to a maximum of 120 credit hours in undergraduate courses – which was not correct according to current law. The revised Regulation will make it clear […]

Stolen Future-Foster Youth Identity Theft

Stolen Future -The foster care system in the United States serves approximately 700,000 youths. Every year over 26,000 of those children age out of foster care. As those youths transition into adulthood, good credit is essential. If a foster youth’s credit has been damaged by identity theft, then that young person may not be able to get a job, apply for student loans, obtain […]

Brief Overview of Children’s Services

Click here to read the entire report

The Miami Child Well-Being Court Model(TM): A Handbook for Clinicians

This technical assistance brief intended to serve as an introductory guide for communities seeking an overview of the Miami CWBC(TM) model and a roadmap of key steps to take in support of implementation, maintenance, and sustainability of the model. Author: Jennifer Goldman Fraser, PhD, Cecilia Casanueva, PhD  

Interagency Agreement to Coordinate Services for Children Served by Multiple Agencies

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Department of Education (DOE), Department of Health (DOH), Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, and Florida’s Office of Early Learning (FOEL), enter into this Interagency Agreement to coordinate services and supports for […]

ILSAC Report 2012

Click here to view the full report

Alphabet Soup – Top Terms You Need to Know

Alphabet Soup – Top Terms You Need to Know

Top Ten Actions Florida Can Take to Eliminate the Unnecessary Use of Psychotropic Medications

Top Ten Actions Florida Can Take to Eliminate the Unnecessary Use of Psychotropic Medications

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in Florida

A Guide for Judges, Lawyers, and Child Advocates. Click for the complete PDF.

For the Welfare of Children: Lessons Learned from Class Action Litigation

This publication of the Center for the Study of Social Policy examines numerous aspects of the use of class action litigation to achieve systemic reform of child welfare systems of care.

Child’s Right to Post-Adoption Communication: Myths That Impede Healthy Relationships -Truths That Hurt

This paper dispels the myths that underlie the harmful practice of cutting off communication between adopted children and their siblings and other relatives.

Psychotropic Medications and Children in Foster Care: Tips for Advocates and Judges

The ABA Center on Children and the Law published this public policy brief to assist advocates and judges who work with children and youth who are prescribed psychotropic medication

The National Crittenton Foundation

The National Crittenton Foundation supports girls, young women, and their families living at the margin of the American dream overcome major obstacles rooted in circumstances not of their own making

Kinship Care Legal Handbook: A Guide for Relative Caregivers

This handbook provides a wealth of information for relatives who are caring for children. Topics include custody, benefits, education.

How to Get Your Child Welfare Records

Children and young adults are entitled to a complete and accurate copy of their child welfare records under Florida Statute 39.00145. This publication explains the law and provides a form to help youth make a formal request for records.

Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association

The Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association (FSFAPA) is a statewide membership group for all foster and adoptive parents in Florida. All foster and adoptive parents in the State of Florida are automatically members of FSFAPA

Adoption and Safe Families Act


National CASA Association

CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA was created to use trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court. Today more than 900 CASA programs are in operation, with 70,000 women and men serving as CASA volunteers.

Technical Assistance Paper on Educational Surrogate Parents

The purpose of this paper is to assist local school districts, agencies and those agencies under contract with the Department of Education (DOE), that provide education services to students with disabilities in the implementation of the surrogate parent rule. (January 2004) Technical Assistance Paper on Educational Surrogate Parents

Interagency Agreements: Improving Educational Outcomes for Florida’s Children in Foster Care

Report on the creation and implementation of local agreements between foster care agencies and school boards. Issued by Florida’s Children First and the University of Miami Children and Youth Law Clinic in July, 2007.

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