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Report

DependencyRolesWorkgroup
April2016

MikeCarroll
Secretary

RickScott
Governor

Mission:WorkinPartnershipwithLocalCommunitiestoProtecttheVulnerable,PromoteStrongand
EconomicallySelfSufficientFamilies,andAdvancePersonalandFamilyRecoveryandResiliency

TableofContents
Introduction..................................................................................................................................................3
WorkgroupMembers....................................................................................................................................3
WorkgroupMethodology.............................................................................................................................5
Findings.........................................................................................................................................................6
Background.................................................................................................................................................10
StatutoryFramework..............................................................................................................................10
StagesoftheDependencyProcess.........................................................................................................11
Investigation:......................................................................................................................................12
Adjudication:.......................................................................................................................................12
Disposition:.........................................................................................................................................13
Appeal:................................................................................................................................................13
ChildrensLegalServices.............................................................................................................................13
History:....................................................................................................................................................13
TwoModelsofRepresentationinChildDependencyCases:.................................................................15
TheRoleandResponsibilitiesoftheAgencyLawyer:.............................................................................16
AreasofConfusionIdentified:................................................................................................................17
NewPracticeModel....................................................................................................................................18
TurnoverandRetentionofChildWelfareProfessionals............................................................................19
OtherFindings.............................................................................................................................................20
Conclusion...................................................................................................................................................20

AppendixA2015AnnualCriticalIncidentRapidResponseTeamAdvisoryCommittee
AppendixBSurveyRespondentDemographics
AppendixCWorkgroupAgendasandMinutes
AppendixDFocusGroupAssignments,QuestionsandSummaryofResults
AppendixETimelineHRSDCF19652015
AppendixFReportoftheDepartmentofChildrenandFamiliesLegalWorkgroup,September17,2007
AppendixGOrganizationalCharts
AppendixHChildProtectiveInvestigatorandChildProtectiveInvestigatorEducationalQualifications,
Turnover,andWorkingConditionsStatusReport,October1,2015
AppendixISupportingData

Introduction
InNovember2015,SecretaryMikeCarrolloftheFloridaDepartmentofChildrenandFamilies(DCFor
theDepartment)establishedaworkgroupdesignedtoidentifytheoperationalroleofthreeprimary
professionalgroupsinthedependencyprocess:ChildrensLegalServices,CaseManagementandChild
ProtectiveInvestigations.ThischargeoriginatedasafocusonChildrensLegalServicesonlyinthe
SouthernRegionduetofeedbackfromlocalstakeholdersaboutthelackofacommonunderstandingof
therolesandresponsibilitiesofthethreeprofessionalgroups.Shortlythereafter,itbecamemore
apparentthattherecouldbeabroaderissueofroleconfusionamongallthreeprofessionalgroupsand
morewidespreadthanjusttheSouthernRegion.Inresponse,SecretaryCarrollaskedforastatewide
assessmentoftherolesandhowtheyareoperationalizedineachregionandjudicialcircuitacrossthe
State.Thefocusoftheworkgroupconcentratedontherolesandresponsibilitiesasprescribedinthe
applicablestatutesincomparisonwithhowthesethreeprofessionalgroupswereactuallyperformingin
theverycomplexchildwelfaresystemestablishedinFlorida.SecretaryCarrollschargesetforththe
needanddesiretoclarifytherolesofallthreeprofessionalgroupsinordertoimprovethecritical
decisionmakingopportunitiesforeachgroupandtoprovidebetteroutcomesforFloridaschildren.
InanefforttomeettheSecretaryscharge,theworkgroupexaminedtheDepartmentsinitiativesthat
affecttheworkofthechildwelfareprofessionals,thestatutoryframeworkandrulesthatgovernhow
theworkistobeperformed,andthebusinessandlegalrelationshipswithstakeholders.Additionally,
theworkgrouplookedatexistingmaterialssuchasCriticalIncidentRapidResponseTeam(CIRRT)
reports1,LegislativeOfficeofProgramPolicyandPlanning(OPPAGA)reports,internaldata,andreports
relatingtotheworkforce.
TheDepartmenthasundertakentwolargeinitiativesalmostsimultaneously:first,arestructuringofthe
legalunitin2008inanefforttoprofessionalizetheworkforceandbringmorecredibilitytothe
Departmentwhenappearingbeforethejudiciary.
Secondly,in2011whilethelegalrestructurewasstillongoing,theDepartmentoperationalizedanew
practicemodelforchildprotectiveinvestigationsandcasemanagement.Thechangesembodiedinthis
newpracticemodelarefarreachingandambitious.Whilethispracticemodel,uniquetoFlorida,
incorporatesthebestinformationavailableaboutchildwelfarepracticefromaroundthecountry,asa
hybridmodel,itisstillbeingdevelopedandrefinedevenasitsbeingimplemented.
Incollectinginformationforthisreport,itwascleartotheworkgroupthatwhilethesetwoinitiatives
haveprovidedbenefitstotheDepartmentandthefamiliesitserves,theyhavealsoproducedsome
unintendedconsequencesaffectingtherelationshipsamongtheChildWelfareProfessionals,aswillbe
discussedbelow.

WorkgroupMembers
PeggySanford,Chair
MemberoftheFloridaBarsince1981;retiredfromtheFloridaSenate.AmongthefirstCWLS
lawyerstopractice.FormerstaffdirectorfortheFloridaHouseSelectCommitteeonChildAbuse
andNeglectandformerSeniorAttorneyfortheDCFOfficeofGeneralCounsel.
VickiAbrams

See2015AnnualReport,CriticalIncidentRapidResponseTeamAdvisoryCommittee,October2015,AppendixA.

AssistantSecretaryforOperations,DCF.Morethan36yearsofexperienceinthehealthand
humanservicesfield.Hasadministeredchildwelfare,adultprotection,substanceabuseand
mentalhealthservicesandeconomicselfsufficiencyprogramsthroughoutFlorida.
SandyBohrer
Partner,Holland&Knight.Boardmemberandformerboardchair,OurKidsofMiami
Dade/Monroe.SpecialcounseltoDCFSecretaryGeorgeSheldon.AdjunctProfessor,University
ofMiami,ChildrenandtheLaw.Advisor,AmericanLawInstituteproject,Childrenandthe
Law.
KarenHill
ChildrensLegalServices.DivisionDirector/AssistantStateAttorney,6thJudicialCircuit.Child
WelfareLegalServices/ChildrensLegalServicessince1992;AssistantStateAttorneysinceMay
2000,DivisionDirectorsinceMay2012.
RebeccaKapusta
GeneralCounsel,DCF.TenyearsofservicewithDCF;hasservedinseveralrolesbeginningwith
CWLSin2001.HasservedasAssistantGeneralCounsel,AssistantRegionalCounsel,andmost
recentlyasRegionLegalCounselintheDCFSunCoastRegion.
BillyKent
NortheastRegionFamilyandCommunityServicesDirector.Nineteenyearsofpublicservice;
withDCFsince2006.HasbeenaChildProtectiveInvestigator,aChildProtectiveInvestigator
Supervisor,aChildProtectiveInvestigatorSpecialist,aRegionPlanner,andDirectorofStrategic
Planning(KidsCentralInc.),andaFamilySafetyOperationsManagerfortheDCFCentralRegion.
TraciLeavine
DirectorofChildWelfarePractice,DCF.Hasworkedsince1999invariouscapacitieswithinDCF
andcommunitybasedcareorganizations,includingchildprotectiveinvestigations,case
management,supervision,training,dataspecialistandProgramManager.Spentsevenyearsas
theOperationsManagerincircuits2and14priortojoiningtheOfficeofChildWelfarein2014.
GrainneOSullivan
StatewideDirector,CLS.JoinedtheOfficeoftheAttorneyGeneral(OAG)in2001asatrial
attorneyintheChildrensLegalServicesBureau.PromotedtoDivisionChief.JoinedDCFinMay
2013asCLSSoutheastRegionalDirector.PromotedtoStatewideDirectorDecember2013.
StephenPennypacker
President/CEO,PartnershipforStrongFamilies,Inc.Hasworkedinchildwelfaresince1998,
servingasaCWLSmanagingattorneyandaCLSRegionalDirector.Hasalsoservedasstatewide
InterstateCompact(ICPC)Administrator,StatewideCLSDeputyDirector,andAssistantSecretary
forProgramsforDCF.FormerGeneralMagistrate.AdjunctProfessor,UFCollegeofLaw.Author,
ICPCChapterintheFloridaJuvenileLawandPracticeManualfortheFloridaBar.
JimSewell

RetiredasAssistantCommissioneroftheFloridaDepartmentofLawEnforcementinFebruary
2005,followinga32yearcareerwithuniversity,municipal,andstatelawenforcementagencies
inFlorida.Sincehisretirementfromactivelawenforcement,hehasprovidedtrainingand
managementconsultingservicestoanumberoflawenforcementandsocialservicesagencies,
notforprofitorganizations,andprofessionalassociations.FromJanuary2007throughJanuary
2011,heservedasanadvisortoSecretariesBobButterworthandGeorgeSheldonofFloridas
DepartmentofChildrenandFamilies.Dr.SewellreceivedhisB.S.,M.S.andPh.D.inCriminology
fromFloridaStateUniversity.2
CharlesScherer
RegionalOperationalManagerforChildProtectiveInvestigationsforDCFSouthernRegion.
SixteenyearsofpublicserviceandelevenandahalfyearswiththeFloridaDepartmentof
ChildrenandFamilies.ServedasaChildProtectiveInvestigator,ChildProtectiveInvestigator
Supervisor,ActingProgramAdministratorforChildProtectiveInvestigations,Government
AnalystIIintheOfficeoftheDCFAssistantSecretaryforOperations,OperationsManagerinthe
OfficeoftheDCFAssistantSecretaryforOperations/DeputySecretary,andDeputyDirectorof
theFloridaAbuseHotline.
DavidSilverstein
AttorneySupervisorandTrainingDirector,OfficeoftheAttorneyGeneral,ChildrensLegal
Services,HillsboroughCounty.AdmittedtoFloridaBar1991.Former,DCFCWLSSeniorAttorney
andManagingAttorney.FormerChairoftheJuvenileRulesCommitteeoftheFloridaBar.Has
authoredseveralrulerevisionsandformstoimprovethedependencyprocess.Hasauthored
PreliminaryDependencyProceedings,FloridaJuvenileLawandPractice,since2005.
BronwynStanford
RegionalManagingDirector,SouthernRegion,DCF.FormerlyCLSStatewideDeputyDirectorand
ChiefLegalCounsel.
Staff:CristinaBatista
GubernatorialFellow,20152016.CandidateforMastersinSocialWork,FSU,April2016.Along
withcompletingcoursework,hasworkedoncompletingFellowshiprequirementswhileassigned
toDCF.Theseincludestaffingthisworkgroupaswellasprovidingdataanalysisandperformance
improvementrecommendationsforDCFprogramoffices,regions,andstatehospitalfacilities.

WorkgroupMethodology
TheDependencyRolesReviewWorkgroupwasestablishedinNovember2015,andteammemberswere
finalizedinDecember.TheDependencyRolesReviewSurveywasavailableontheDepartmentof
ChildrenandFamiliesintranetwebsitefromDecember14throughDecember17,2015.Thesurveywas
reopenedfromJanuary4throughJanuary6,2016toallowforadditionalresponsesfromunderreporting
counties.Thesurveyreceivedatotalof1,670responses[1],yieldingaresponserateof29%acrossall
categoriesofpotentialrespondents.1623individualsidentifiedaRegionofemployment.

AlthoughscheduleconflictspreventedDr.Sewellfromfullparticipationintheworkgroup,hisadviceandcounsel
wereextremelyvaluableandappreciated.
[1]
SeeAppendixBforthequestionsaskedinthesurveyanddemographicsregardingthesurveyrespondents.


ThefirstworkgroupmeetingoftheDependencyRolesReviewWorkgroupwasheldJanuary6,2016at
theDCFSouthernRegionoffice3.
Aftertheworkgroupmeeting,regionalmeetingswereconductedwithleadershipinthesixregions.
Thesemeetingsoccurredasfollows:SouthernandSoutheastRegionsonJanuary7,2016;Centraland
SunCoastRegionsonJanuary13,2016;NorthwestRegiononJanuary19,2016;andNortheastRegionon
January21,2016.ThesemeetingswereledbyVickiAbrams,RebeccaKapusta4,GrainneOSullivan,and
PeggySanford.Focusgroupfacilitatorsforeachregionattendedwhenavailable.Themeetingswere
heldeitheratlocalDCFlocationsorcommunitybasedcareleadagencylocations.Thepurposeofthese
meetingswastoexplainthereviewtoregionalleadershipandtofinalizeplansforthefocusgroupsin
eachregion.
Facilitatorsbeganfocusgroupsaftertheregionalmeetingswerecompleted.

SouthernRegionfocusgroupswereconductedJanuary19and20,2016.
SoutheastRegionfocusgroupswereconductedJanuary20and21,2016.
NorthwestRegionfocusgroupswereconductedJanuary20and21,2016.
NortheastRegionfocusgroupswereconductedJanuary25and26,2016.
SunCoastRegionfocusgroupswereconductedFebruary1and2,2016.
CentralRegionfocusgroupswereconductedFebruary2and3,2016.

Focusgroupscoveringsevenfocusgroupsessionswereheldovertwoconsecutivedays.5Thesesessions
separatedgroupsbyroles:ChildProtectiveInvestigators,includingrepresentativesforsheriffsoffices
wherethoseofficeshaveresponsibilityforchildprotectiveinvestigations,(CPI),CPISupervisors,Case
Managers(CM),CaseManagerSupervisors,ChildrensLegalServices(CLS)attorneys,andCLS
Supervisors.Thecompositionoftheseventhgroupwasleftopenforassignmentbyregionalleadership.
TwofocusgroupfacilitatorswerechosenfromtheDependencyRolesReviewworkgroup.These
facilitatorsdidnot,however,holdfocusgroupsintheircurrentregionofemployment.Inaddition,each
focusgroupteamwasprovidedwitharecordertotranscribeascloselyaspossiblethecommentsmade
duringthefocusgroups.
ThesecondworkgroupmeetingwasheldFebruary4,2016attheDCFSunCoastRegionoffice.Atthat
meeting,focusgroupleadersinformedtheworkgroupofthemajorpointslearnedfromthegroups.The
workgroupalsoreviewedslidesshowingsomepreliminaryresultsfromthesurveys.
ThethirdworkgroupmeetingwasheldFebruary23,2016,inDCFheadquartersofficeinTallahassee.At
thismeeting,membersreviewedadraftoutlineofthefinalreportandprovidedcommentsfordrafting
thereport.
ThefinalmeetingoftheworkgroupoccurredbyVideoTeleconferenceonMarch9,2016.

Findings
1. StatutoryandRuleFramework

SeeAppendixCforworkgroupagendasandminutes.
UnabletoattendNortheastmeeting.
5
SeeAppendixDforFocusGroupAssignments,QuestionsandSummaryofResults.
4

1.1. ThemissionoftheDepartmentofChildrenandFamiliesissetforthats.20.19(1)(a),Florida
Statutes:

ThemissionoftheDepartmentofChildrenandFamiliesistoworkinpartnershipwithlocal
communitiestoprotectthevulnerable,promotestrongandeconomicallyselfsufficient
families,andadvancepersonalandfamilyrecoveryandresiliency.

1.2. TherolesassignedtocarryoutthismissionintheChildWelfarearenaaretheChildWelfare
Professionals:ChildProtectiveInvestigators,CaseManagers,andChildrensLegalServices
Attorneys.Throughoutthisreport,thesethreeactorsarereferredtoasChildWelfare
Professionals.
1.3. AlltheauthorityandresponsibilityforactionsinthedependencysystembyalltheChild
WelfareProfessionalsflowfromthelegislativegrantofauthoritytoDCF.NoneoftheChild
WelfareProfessionalshaveindependentauthoritytoactcontrarytothemissionandposition
oftheDepartment.
1.4. TheLegislaturehasdirectedthattheCPIfunctionbeperformedbygrantstolocalsheriffsin
fourcounties(Broward,Manatee,Pasco,Pinellas),andauthorizedDCFtoenterintosimilar
grantagreementswithsheriffsofothercountiestoprovidechildprotectiveservices.DCF
enteredintograntagreementswithSeminoleandHillsboroughCountysheriffsunderthis
provision.TheLegislaturehasfurtherdirectedthatallcasemanagementfunctionsbe
performedthroughcontractwithcommunitybasedcare(CBC)leadagencies,whichareprivate
nonprofitagencies.CBCshaveforthemostpartsubcontractedthecasemanagementfunction
tocasemanagementagencies,whicharealsoprivatenonprofitagencies.Inthe6thJudicial
Circuit(PinellasandPascoCounties),CLSservicesareperformedundercontractwiththeOffice
oftheStateAttorney,andinthe13thJudicialCircuit(HillsboroughCounty)andthe17thJudicial
Circuit(BrowardCounty),CLSservicesareperformedundercontractwiththeOfficeofthe
AttorneyGeneral.
1.5. AsaresultoftheoutsourcingdirectedorauthorizedbytheLegislature,noneoftheChild
WelfareProfessionalsinPinellas,Pasco,Hillsborough,orBrowardcountiesareDCFemployees.
ChildwelfareservicesintheremainingcountiesareperformedbyacombinationofDCF
employees(CPIsandCLS)andCBCorcasemanagementorganizationemployees.
1.6. ThelegislatureandtheFloridaAdministrativeCodehavedefinedtherolesoftheChildWelfare
Professionals:
1.6.1.TheChildProtectiveInvestigator(CPI)respondstoreportsofchildabuse,abandonment,
orneglectreceivedfromthepublicandreferredtothelocalCPIunitfromtheFloridaChild
Abusehotline;gathersinformation;andperformssafetyassessmentsofchildren.Ifachild
isfoundtobeunsafe,theCPIcreatesandimplementssafetyplans,takesnecessarysteps
toensurethesafetyofchildren,includingrequestingcourtaction,ifneeded.TheCPIalso
refersfamiliestoCaseManagersforongoingservices.TheCPIprovidesnecessary
documentationandtestimonyindependencycourt.
1.6.2.TheCMmonitorsthesafetyplanandthesafetyofthechild;createsacaseplanfor
servicesforthefamily;refersfamilieswithunsafechildrentoservices;takesnecessary
actionstoensurethesafetyofchildren,includingrequestingcourtactionwhenneeded;
andprovidesnecessarytestimonyanddocumentationindependencycourt.
1.6.3.ChildrensLegalServices(CLS)representstheDepartmentinitsmissiontoprotectchildren
inallcourtproceedingsandcoordinatesthenecessarydocumentationandtestimonyas
neededindependencycourt.Asanofficerofthecourt,CLSactsasadvisor,advocate,
negotiator,andevaluatorforitsclient,theDepartmentofChildrenofFamilies.
7

1.7. TheChildWelfareProfessionalrolesareinterdependent.Eachservesthestatutorymissionof
theDepartmenttoprotectvulnerablechildren,promotestrongandeconomicallyselfsufficient
families,andadvancepersonalandfamilyrecoveryandresiliency.Noneismoreimportantthan
theothers,andappropriatedecisionmakinginthedependencyprocessrequirestheexpertise
ofall.
1.8. ThelegislativelymandatedoutsourcingofCMand,insomeareas,CPIandCLSfunctionshas
increasedthecomplexityofthesystembuthasnotchangedthebasicresponsibilitiesofeach
role.
2. ThechildwelfaresysteminFlorida,recognizedasoneofthemostcomplexinthenation,hasbeen
subjecttothreemajorstressorsthathaveintensifiedroleconfusion.Thesethreestressorsare:the
restructuringoftheChildrensLegalServicescomponent;theimplementationoftheNewPractice
Model;andveryhighturnoverratesforChildWelfareProfessionals,particularlyamongCPIs.The
turnoverissueisbeingaddressedextensivelyinotherreportsandwillnotbeexaminedinthis
report.
3. ChildrensLegalServices(CLS)
3.1. TheLegislaturehasrequiredthatDCFberepresentedbycounselindependencyproceedings.
CLS,thegroupselectedbytheDepartmenttoperformthisrole,includesattorneysunder
contracttorepresenttheDepartmentthrougharrangementswiththeOfficeoftheAttorney
GeneralandtheStateAttorneysOfficeinthe6thJudicialCircuit.
3.2. In2008,theDepartmentbeganimplementingamodelofrepresentationsometimesreferredto
astheprosecutorialmodel,whichemphasizedtheroleoftheattorneyindependency
decisionmaking.Inthismodel,attorneyshavedescribedtheirallegianceprimarilytotheState
ofFlorida,ratherthantoDCF.Inthisview,ratherthanbeingcontractedrepresentativesof
DCF,CMsandCPIsareviewedasexpertwitnesses,theeyesandearsoftheattorney.Insome
areasofthestate,theprosecutorialmodelhasbeenmisinterpretedtoauthorizeCLStomake
independentdecisionsregardingallcourtissues,includingwhethertotakeorcontinueexisting
courtaction.
3.3. Thisattempttoimplementaprosecutorialmodelwithintheagencycontexthascompounded
analreadycomplexdependencysystem,furtherconfusingtheroleofCLSanditsrelationship
withotherchildwelfareprofessionals.Thisconfusionisabarriertothecooperationand
communicationthatisrequiredamongtheseprofessionalstobestservetheDepartments
statutorymissiontoprotectFloridaschildren.
3.4. CPIsandCMshavecontributedtotheconfusionofrolesrelatingtoCLSbyinvitingCLStoactas
CPIandCMsupervisorsandtomakedecisionsthatmoreproperlybelongtotheCPIorCM.
4. NewPracticeModel
4.1. TheNewPracticeModelisasignificantchangetoDCFspriorfocusandtheDepartmentisstill
inthemidstofimplementingit.Thisprocesshasnotoccurredseamlessly,andprofessionals
havevaryinglevelsofunderstandingofthemodelanditsimplicationsfortheirroles.
4.2. Acrossregionsandacrossroles,keyconceptsarecomplexandnotconsistentwithprior
practiceandareinterpretedwithoutconsistency.Inotherwords,fidelitytothenewmodelisa
challenge.
4.3. CPIsstrugglewiththedefinitionoftheirrole,especiallyasrequirementschangeundertheNew
PracticeModel.Manyexpressedfrustrationwithbeingforcedtobesocialworkerswhenthey
believetheirappropriateroletobeinvestigativeinnatureonly.
4.4. Becausetraininghasofnecessitybeendoneamidstongoingcaseassignmentresponsibilities,
thistraininghasnotbeenconsistentacrossregionsorevenwithinregionsasthemodelhas
beenimplemented.Traininghasbeenlargelyprofessionspecific,withlittletonotraining
occurringwiththethreeprofessionalssimultaneouslyasateam.Thisstyleoftraininghas
8

resultedinroleconfusionaseachoftheprofessionsinterpretsitsroleslightlydifferently,and
thereisnoopportunityduringtrainingforteamstoworkoutforthemselvesacoherent
approachforimplementingthemodel.
4.5. Thenewmodelrequiresadditionalassessmentanddifferentdataentryfrompriorpractice.
Respondentsreportthatoncethenewrequirementsareimplemented,betterdecisionmaking
occurs.
4.6. TherelationshipbetweencurrentstatuteandtheNewPracticeModelisnotfullyunderstood
bymanyoftheChildWelfareProfessionalsortheirsupervisors.Thisinabilitytoarticulatethe
coordinationbetweencurrentstatuteandtheNewPracticeModelhasledtoconfusionasto
applicationofthemodelatvariousstagesofthedependencyprocess.Aswellastoconfusion
astohowtoapplytheprovisionsofthestatutetothenewmodel.Thisconfusionhascaused
frustrationinsomeinstancesonthepartoftheChildWelfareProfessionalsthemselvesaswell
astheGuardianadLitem(GAL).
5. OtherFindings
5.1. Childwelfareprofessionalsreportthattheyelecttodothisworkforthemostpartbecauseofa
desiretoprotectchildren.Theysaytheyleavebecausetheyareunabletocarveouttimefor
theirownfamiliesandbecausetheyfeelunsupportedintheirjobs.Theyalsoreportedfeeling
overwhelmedbythepaperworkrequiredintheirjobs.
5.2. Specificareasofroleconfusionoccurwhenachildisremovedfromthehome,whenanin
homesafetyplanisnotfunctionaloradequate,andattheappellatestageofthedependency
process.
5.3. Accordingtosurveyrespondents,CLSmakesvirtuallyalldecisionsregardingtheappealofcases
inthedependencysystem.ThelevelofconsultationwithanyoftheotherChildWelfare
ProfessionalsorwithDCFadministrationinfilingappealsisreportedtobelowasisthesharing
ofinformationaboutthestatusoftheappealsortheimplicationsofthedecisionsinthe
appeals.
5.4. CPIsareperformingdutiesthatcouldbedelegatedtolesshighlytrainedindividualsifpositions
stillexistedintheDepartmenttoperformthoseduties.
5.5. Thelackofteamwork,whenitoccurs,leadseachprofessionaltofeelboththatheorshedoes
notownthecaseandthatheorsheisdoingadisproportionateamountofworkonthecase.
5.6. Outsideplayerssuchasthejudiciary,theGALandthemediaexertsignificantpressureonthe
professionals,contributingtoroleconfusionandstaffturnover.
5.7. Someregionshaveidentifiedstrategiestoincreasethesupportfeltbytheteammembers.
TheseeffortsincludedecisionsupportteamcallswhenCPIsidentifypresentdanger,co
location,jointtrainingsessions,andrecognitionofteamratherthanindividual
accomplishments.
5.8. Barrierstoteambuildingcitedwererequirementsforcompletionoflegalstaffingrequest
formspriortotalkingwithalawyer,professionalsnotrespondingtocallsoremails,offices
physicallyseparated,andcaseassignmentsystemsthatinvolvecourtliaisons.
5.9. Mostparticipantsinthefocusgroupsandsurveysaidtheywereawareoftheproceduresin
placeforresolvingdisagreementsamongthevariousrolesbuttherewasawidespreadbelief
thattheprocesswasgenerallynoteffective.Whileleadershipreportedthattheresolution
processworkedwell,thelinestaffwerelesssupportive,insomeinstancesreportingtheywere
sodefeatedbyittheynolongereventriedtouseit.
5.10.
TheDepartmenthasnotkeptanyorganizedhistoryofitssuccessesandfailuresover
time.Thisfailuretohaveeitherahardcopyoranelectroniclibraryofeffortsforimprovement

overtheyearsmakeslearningfrompasteffortsverydifficult6.Otheragenciesmaintain
historiesontheirwebsites,aversionofwhichwouldhavebeenveryhelpfulinpreparingthis
report.Seeforexample,theDepartmentofCorrectionswebsite,
http://www.dc.state.fl.us/oth/timeline/index.html.

Background
StatutoryFramework
TheFloridaConstitutioncontemplatestheseparationofpowersamongthelegislative,executive,and
judicialbranchesofthegovernment.Theexecutivebranchhasthepurposeofexecutingtheprograms
andpoliciesadoptedbytheLegislatureandofmakingpolicyrecommendationstotheLegislature.7
Theheadof(eachexecutive)departmentmayrecommendtheestablishmentofadditionaldivisions,
bureaus,sections,andsubsectionsofthedepartmenttopromoteefficientandeffectiveoperationof
thedepartment.However,additionaldivisions,orofficesintheDepartmentofChildrenandFamilies
maybeestablishedonlybyspecificstatutoryenactment.Newbureaus,sections,andsubsectionsof
departmentsmaybeinitiatedbyadepartmentandestablishedasrecommendedbytheDepartmentof
ManagementServicesandapprovedbytheExecutiveOfficeoftheGovernor,ormaybeestablishedby
specificstatutoryenactment.8
TheDepartmentiscreatedinsection20.19,FloridaStatutes:
ThemissionoftheDepartmentofChildrenandFamiliesistoworkinpartnershipwithlocal
communitiestoprotectthevulnerable,promotestrongandeconomicallyselfsufficientfamilies,
andadvancepersonalandfamilyrecoveryandresiliency.9
ThissectionoflawoutlinestheservicestheDepartmentistoprovideanddescribesthestructureofthe
Departmenttodelivertheseservices,asfollows:
TheDepartment,throughoffices,shallprovideservicesrelatingto:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

Adultprotection.
Childcareregulation.
Childwelfare.
Domesticviolence.
Economicselfsufficiency.
Homelessness.
Mentalhealth.
Refugees.
Substanceabuse.10

6
ThepartialtimelineatAppendixEwasdevelopedforthepurposeofthisreportandisincludedforanyvalueit
mighthaveindevelopingamorecomprehensivehistoryoftheDepartmentinthefuture.
7

Section20.02(1),F.S.
Section20.04(7)(b).F.S.
9
Section20.19(1)(a),F.S.
10
Section20.19(4)(a),F.S.
8

10

TheSecretaryoftheDepartmentisauthorizedtoconsolidate,restructure,orrearrangetheofficesof
thedepartmentinconsultationwiththeExecutiveOfficeoftheGovernor,providedanysuch
consolidation,restructuring,orrearrangingiscapableofmeetingfunctionsandactivitiesandachieving
outcomesasdelineatedinstateandfederallaws,rules,andregulations.TheSecretaryisalsoauthorized
toappointadditionalmanagersandadministratorsasheorshedeterminesarenecessaryforthe
effectivemanagementoftheDepartment.11
Totheextentallowedbylawandwithinspecificappropriations,theDepartmentmustdeliverservices
bycontractthroughprivateproviders.12
TheDepartmentsstatutoryresponsibilityforchildwelfareincludesthedependencyprocessfromthe
calltothemandatedstatewidehotline13throughthejudicialandnonjudicialdecisionsrelatedto
dependency,totheclosingofthedependencycaseeitherjudiciallyornonjudicially.Theservicesare
deliveredbychildwelfareprofessionalsemployedbytheDepartment,itscontractors,orits
subcontractorsor,inthecaseofsheriffsofficesperformingprotectiveinvestigations,bygrant
agreements.
ThelawrequiresthattheDepartmentberepresentedbycounselateachdependencyproceeding.
Throughitsattorneys,theDepartmentisrequiredtomakerecommendationstothecourtonissues
beforethecourtandmaysupportitsrecommendationsthroughtestimonyandotherevidencebyits
ownemployees,employeesofsheriffsofficesprovidingchildprotectionservices,employeesofits
contractors,employeesofitscontractorssubcontractors,orfromanyotherrelevantsource.14
Allproceduresunderchapter39aretobeconductedaccordingtotheFloridaRulesofJuvenile
Procedureunlessotherwiseprovidedbylaw.15Additionally,DCFhasbeengrantedrulemakingauthority
fortheefficientandeffectivemanagementofallprograms,services,facilities,andfunctionsnecessary
forimplementingtheprovisionsofchapter39,solongasthoserulesdonotconflictwiththeFlorida
RulesofJuvenileProcedure.16
StagesoftheDependencyProcess
Therearefourmajorstagesofthedependencyprocess:investigation,adjudication,disposition,and
appeal.Therearethreemajorchildwelfareprofessionalsresponsibleforthedeliveryofservicesforthe
Departmentateachlevel:investigators(CPIs),casemanagers(CMs)andlawyers(CLS)17.18Eachofthese
hasaroleateachstageoftheprocess.

11

Section20.19(4)(b),F.S.
Section20.19(1)(c),F.S.
13
Section39.201(2),F.S.
14
Section39.013(12),F.S.
15
Section39.013(1),F.S.
16
Section39.012,F.S.
17
Inadditiontothesechildwelfareprofessionals,manyotherindividualsandgroupsareinvolvedinthe
dependencyprocess.Theseincludethejudiciary,theGAL,parentsattorneys,childrensattorneys,law
enforcement,andothers.Forthepurposeofthisreport,thefocuswillbeonlyonthoseprofessionalshiredbyor
contractedtotheDepartment.Contractedtoincludesemployeesofsubcontractorsandemployeesofsheriffs
departmentsperformingchildprotectiveservices.Theseotherindividualsandgroupswillbereferencedonlyin
conjunctionwiththeirimpactontheprocessandtheDCFchildwelfareprofessionals.
18
TheDepartmenthasinitsrulesdefinedchildwelfareprofessionaltoincludeonlyCPIsandCMs,65C
30.001(22)and(23),FAC.ThisdefinitionitselfsetsCLSapartfromtheotherprofessionalsandwillnotbefollowed
inthisreport.
12

11

Investigation:
Broadlyspeaking,theinitiationofachildprotectioncasebeginswhenacallisacceptedbytheFlorida
ChildAbuseHotlineandreferredforprotectiveinvestigation.19ACPI20isassignedtoinvestigatethe
report.ThedutiesoftheCPIincludemakinganinitialsafetyassessmentandperceivedneedsforthe
childandhisorherfamily.21Thespecificactivitiesrequiredtodeterminechildsafetyarestatutorily
outlined.22Thesedutiesincludeutilizingastandardizedsafetyassessmentinstrumenttodeterminethe
presentandimpendingdangerspresentforeachchild.Ifpresentorimpendingdangerisidentified,the
CPImusteitherimplementasafetyplanortakethechildintocustody.Ifasafetyplanisrequired,the
CPImustcollaboratewiththecommunitybasedcareleadagencyinitsdevelopment.23
IftheCPIdeterminesthatthechildisinneedofprotectionandsupervision,theDepartmentmayfilea
petitionfordependency.IftheCPIdeterminesthattheinterestsofthechildandthepublicwillbebest
servedbyprovidingchildcareorothertreatmentvoluntarilyandtheservicesofferedareacceptedby
thechildscaretakers,thefamilymaybereferredforvoluntaryservices.24
CPIsareauthorizedtotakechildrenintocustodywhentheCPIhasprobablecausetosupportafinding:
1. thatthechildhasbeenabused,neglected,orabandoned,orissufferingfromoris
imminentdangerofillnessorinjuryasaresultofabuse,neglect,orabandonment;
2. thattheparentorlegalcustodianofthechildhasmateriallyviolatedaconditionof
placementimposedbythecourt;or
3. thatthechildhasnoparent,legalcustodian,orresponsibleadultrelative
immediatelyknownandavailabletoprovidesupervisionandcare.25
CMsarenotpermittedtotakeachildintocustodywithoutapriorcourtorderauthorizingtheremoval
orchangeofplacement.IfthechildistakenintocustodybyaCPI,theCPIisrequiredtoreviewthefacts
supportingtheremovalwithanattorneyrepresentingtheDepartment.Thepurposeofthisreviewisto
determinewhetherthereisprobablecauseforthefilingofashelterpetition.26Ifthefactsaresufficient
andthechildhasnotbeenreturnedtothecustodyoftheparentorlegalcustodian,theDepartmentis
requiredtofilethepetitionandtheattorneyrepresentingtheDepartmentisrequiredtorequestthata
shelterhearingbeheldwithin24hoursaftertheremovalofthechild.27
Adjudication:
Theprocessforadjudicatingachilddependentbeginswithfilingadependencypetitioninthecircuit
court.ThepetitionmaybefiledwhetherornotthechildisinthecustodyoftheDepartment.This
petitionmustbefiledbyanattorneyfortheDepartmentorbyanyotherpersonwhohasknowledgeof
thefactsallegedorisinformedofthemandbelievesthemtobetrue.28Thefilingofthepetitionis

19

Section39.301(1),F.S.Whilespecialcircumstancesrequiringotherinvestigationsarestatutorilydescribed,they
arenotrelevanttothisoverview.See,forexample,s.39.301(2),F.S.
20
ACPImaybeadepartmentemployeeormaybeanemployeeofoneofthesixsheriffsofficesprovidingchild
protectiveservices,s.39.3065,FS.
21
Section39.301(7),F.S.
22
Section39.301(9),F.S.
23
Section39.301(9)(6),F.S.
24
Section39.301(9)(b),F.S.
25
Section39.401(1)(a),F.S.
26
Section39.401(3)(a),F.S.
27
Section39.401(3)(b),F.S.
28
Section39.501(1),F.S.

12

followedbyanarraignmenthearing29and,ifnecessary,byanadjudicationhearing.30Ifachildis
adjudicateddependent,thecourtconductsadispositionhearing.31
Ifacontestedadjudicatoryhearingisheld,theattorneyfortheDepartmentwillpresentwitnessesto
supporttheadjudicationofdependency.ThesewitnessesmayincludetheCPIinvestigatingthecaseand
theCMwhohasprovidedservicesduringthependencyofthecase.
Disposition:
Ifachildisadjudicateddependent,thecourtreviewsandacceptsthecaseplanwhichcontainsthetasks
andservicestheparentsarerequiredtocomplete.Thecourtretainsjurisdictionoverthecaseandis
requiredtoconductjudicialreviewseverysixmonthstomonitorthefamilysprogressuntilthechild
achievespermanency.32Oneoftheoptionsforpermanency,adoption,requirestheterminationof
parentalrights.AllpetitionsseekinganadjudicationtoterminateparentalrightspursuanttoChapter39,
FloridaStatutes,mustbeinitiatedbythefilingofapetitionbytheDepartment,theGAL,oranyother
personwhohasknowledgeofthefactsallegedorisinformedofthemandbelievesthemtobetrue.33
Atthejudicialreviewhearings,theattorneyfortheDepartmentwillpresentdocumentsandmay
presenttestimonyfromtheCMassignedtothecase.TheroleoftheCPIislesssignificantatthisstage
thaneitheroftheothers,butmaybecomeimportantifachangeofplacementissought.TheCPIs
testimonymayalsobenecessaryinestablishingthegroundsforterminationofparentalrights.
Appeal:
Thepartiesinadependencycasehavearighttoappealordersgrantingordenyingadependency
adjudicationorterminationofparentalrights.CLShastheresponsibilitytopursueappealsandtoinform
theotherChildWelfareProfessionalsofthestatusoftheappealaswellastheimplicationsofany
rulingsbytheCourtontheappeal.

ChildrensLegalServices
History:
Theevolvingroleofdepartmentlawyershaspresentedchallengestothedependencysystem.Priorto
1990,DCFhadnolawyersemployedspecificallytorepresentChildWelfareProfessionalsindependency
court.In1988,thefirstrequestevermadetotheFloridaSupremeCourtforanadvisoryopinionwas
madebytheDepartmentofHealthandRehabilitativeServices(HRS),thepredecessoragencytoDCF.
ThisrequestaskedtheCourttodeterminewhetheritsnonlawyercounselors(atthattimeallemployed
byDCF)couldprepareandfilepleadingsandappearincourtonbehalfofHRSinuncontested
dependencycases.TheCourtissuedtwoopinions,bothholdingthatthesenonlawyercounselorswere

29

Section39.506,F.S.
Section39.507,F.S.
31
Section39.521,F.S.
32
Section39.701(1),F.S.
33
Section39.802,F.S.
30

13

engagedintheunauthorizedpracticeoflaw.ThefinalopinionorderedHRStoendthepracticeoflawby
itslaycounselorsbyJanuary1,1990.34
Inresponsetotheseopinions,thelegislatureappropriatedfundsforHRStohirelawyers,andChild
WelfareLegalServices(CWLS)wasestablishedwithinHRS.Whiletherewasneveranyspecific
substantivelegislationoutsideoftheappropriationsbilldescribingtheprogram,therewasneverany
doubtthatthepositionswereestablishedtorepresenttheagency(thenHRS,nowDCF)independency
hearings.Thereportingstructureforthelawyersvariedslightlyovertime,butuntil2008always
involvedboththeOfficeofGeneralCounselandtheregionaladministrationoftheDepartment.
In2004,proposalsweremadetotransfertheCWLSfunctionfromDCF.Fouroptionswereexploredby
theLegislaturesOfficeofProgramPolicyAnalysisandGovernmentAccountability(OPPAGA).These
were:contractingwithothergovernmentalentities,forprofitlawfirms,ornotforprofitentities,or
retainingtheservicewithinDCF.OPPAGAconcludedthattransferringthefunctiontostateattorneysor
theAttorneyGeneralwasnotfeasiblebecausetheseentitiesdidnotwishtoexpandtheirinvolvement
inthefunctionandthatcontractingwith(communitybasedcare)leadagencieswasnotfeasibleasit
wouldcreatepotentialconflictsofinterest.Thereportpointedouttheuncertaincostimpactsof
contractingwithprivatelawfirmsandrecommendedthat,ifthefunctionwastoberetainedwithinDCF,
theDepartmentshouldtakestepstoimprovestaffprofessionaldevelopmentandaccountability.The
reportrecommendedthatthelegislatureshouldconsiderclarifyingwhoseinterestsarerepresentedby
CWLSattorneysindependencyproceedings.35
InSeptember2005,inafollowupreporttothe2004SpecialReport,OPPAGAreportedthatCWLSwas
makingsomeimprovementsbutcontinuedprogresswasneeded.36Specifically,OPPAGArecommended
thatCWLSadoptacasetrackingsystemandaqualityassurancesystem,whilerecognizingthatstepshad
beentakentoreducecaseloads,enhanceprofessionaldevelopment,andimprovetheaccountability
systemforCWLSattorneys.
InMay2007,thenSecretaryRobertButterworthconvenedaworkgrouptoexaminethedeliveryof
servicesbyboththeGeneralCounselsOfficeandChildWelfareLegalServices.TheSecretaryschargeto
theworkgroupwastodeveloprecommendationstoresultin:

OrganizationandreportingstructureoftheGeneralCounselandDistrictLegalCounseloffices,
reflectiveoftheproposedregionalandcircuitbasedstructureoftheDepartment;
Organization,management,andreportingstructureofChildWelfareLegalServices,including
theattorneyclientrelationship,therelationshipwithcommunitybasedproviders,andthe
decisionmakingprocesses;
TheinteractionbetweenGeneralCounselstaffandChildWelfareLegalServicesattorneysin
representingtheDepartment,incarryingouttheirroutineresponsibilities,andwithrespectto
appellatepracticeandcasesofstatewideconcern;
Staffsupport,legalresourcesandtoolsavailabletotheDepartmentsattorneys;
Thelegalbudgetprocess,withemphasisonlitigationexpense,expertwitnesses,andtheuseof
outsidecounsel;
ThedocketingandcasetrackingsystemcurrentlyusedbytheDepartmentsOfficeofGeneral
CounselandChildWelfareLegalServices;

34

TheFloridaBarRe:AdvisoryOpinionHRSNonlawyerCounselor,518So.2d1270(Fla.1988),andTheFloridaBar
Re:AdvisoryOpinionHRSNonlawyerCounselor,547So.2d909(Fla.1989).
35
SpecialReport,OfficeofProgramPolicyAnalysisandGovernmentAccountability(OPPAGA),January2004.
36
ChildWelfareLegalServicesMakesSomeImprovements,ButOtherChangesNeeded,OPPAGA,September2005.

14

Theprocessandsubstanceofinitialtraining,capacityforongoingcontinuingeducation,and
professionaldevelopmentofDepartmentalattorneys;and
Theprocessesforrecruitment,selection,andretentionofDepartmentalattorneys.37

Thisreportcontained123recommendations,themostpertinentofwhichwereforreorganizationofthe
CWLSfunctionintoanautonomousunitreportingtotheStateCWLSDirector,apartfromtheGeneral
CounselandRegionalLegalCounseloffices.ThenewstatewidelawfirmnameshouldbeChildrens
LegalServices.ThisreportrecognizedthatallCWLSlawyers,whetheremployedbytheDepartment,the
OfficeoftheAttorneyGeneral,orastateattorney,representthelegalinterestsoftheDepartmentas
theclient.Laterinthereport,theclientofCWLSattorneysisdescribedastheStateofFlorida,
DepartmentofChildrenandFamilies.ColocationwithCPIsandCMswasrecommendedwhenever
feasible,aswasbetterroledefinition,professionalism,andbudgetcontrol.Thereportdidnotmake
specificrecommendationsastoeitheranagencymodeloraprosecutorialmodeltobeadoptedby
theagencyforitslegalrepresentation.
ByJanuary16,2008,manyofthestructuralchangesrecommendedbythereporthadbeenmade.Atthe
sametime,theDepartmentbegantoanalogizeitsattorneystoprosecutorsincriminalcasesandto
characterizeCPIsandCMsasexpertwitnesses,thecriticaleyesandearsoftheattorneyinthefield.38
UsingtheresourcesnowunderthebudgetarycontroloftheCLSStatewideDirector,atrainingeffortfor
lawyerswasundertakenwiththegoalofincreasingtheprofessionalismofthelawyersandconveying
thevisionoftheirroleastheprosecutionarmofthedependencysystem.39Thatefforthasculminated
inayearroundtrainingcurriculumdevelopedandledbyathreememberCLSStatewideTrainingTeam.
TheTrainingTeamconductsanintensemultidayNewAttorneyTrainingeveryquarter,abiannual
multidayAdvancedLitigationAcademy,bimonthlyhottopicwebinars,monthlycaselawconference
calls,practicepointers,andonsitelivetrainingforattorneys,CPIs,andcasemanagement.40
By2015,thevisionoftheCLSlawyerasaprosecutorwhoseclientistheStateofFloridahadevolvedto
thepointwheretheDepartmentwasnotevenrecognizedintheoverviewpostedontheCLSwebsite.
Thisoverviewspecificallyrejectedtheagencymodelofrepresentation,sayinginpartthattheCLS
modelcanbeanalogizedtothatoftheprosecutorwhichallowsCLSattorneystofurthertheStates
positionregardingachildsbestinterestasopposedtodefendingtheDepartment.41
TwoModelsofRepresentationinChildDependencyCases:
Itisimportanttounderstandthetwodifferingmodelsofattorneyrepresentationindependency
cases.42

37

ReportoftheDepartmentofChildrenandFamiliesLegalWorkgroup,September17,2007,pageii.NOTE:this
documentisunpaginated,andrecommendationsareunnumbered,soexactreferencestorecommendationsare
difficult.ThefulltextofthereportisincludedinAppendixFofthisreport.
38
Thepurposeofdependencyproceedingsistheprotectionofthechildandnotthepunishmentoftheperson
creatingtheconditionofdependency,s.39.501(2),F.S.Oneoftheconcernsaboutusingaprosecutorialmodelin
thedependencyprocessisthepotentialforlosingthiscriticaldistinctionfromcriminallaw.
39
http://eww.dcf.state.fl.us/cls/docs/CLSmodel.pdf
40
Theincreasedemphasisonlegaltrainingandprofessionalismhasbeenamajorbenefitoftheprosecutorial
modelasimplementedinDCF.
41
http://eww.dcf.state.fl.us/cls/
42
ThisdiscussionisexcerptedfromStandardsofPracticeforLawyersRepresentingChildWelfareAgencies,
AmericanBarAssociation,2004.

15

Intheagencyrepresentationmodel,theagencyattorneyrepresentstheagencyasalegalentity,much
thesameasinhousecounselsroleinrepresentingacorporation.AccordingtotheAmericanBar
Association(ABA),thebenefitsofthismodelinclude:

Relianceonagencysfamiliaritywithachildandfamilyindecisionmaking;
Valueplacedontheagencysexpertiseinmakingdecisionsregardingthesafety,permanency
andwellbeingofchildrenandonthelawyerslegalexpertiseonlegalmatters;
Consistentdecisionmakingandinterpretationoflaws;
Legalactionsupportedbycaseworkeropinion,thusboostingcaseworkercredibilityincourt,for
exampleindecidingwhentofileaninitialpetition;and
Theattorneyisveryfamiliarwiththeagencyanditspracticesandpolicies.

TheonlydrawbacktothismodelcitedbytheABAisthepotentialforcaseworkerstobelievethatthe
attorneyrepresentsthempersonallyratherthantheagencyasawhole.InFloridasdecentralized
system,thisconfusioncouldalsomeanthatleadagenciesortheirsubcontractorsbelievethatthe
attorneysrepresentthemortheiragenciesratherthanrepresentingtheDepartment.
Intheprosecutorialmodel,anelectedorappointedattorneyoremployeeofthatelectedorappointed
attorneyfilespetitionsandappearsincourtonbehalfoftheagencyandrepresentsthestateorthe
peopleofthejurisdiction.Thismaymeantheelectedattorneymayoverridetheviewsoftheagencyin
court.TheonepositiveaspectofthismodelcitedbytheABAisthattheattorneymaybemoreintune
withthewishesandbeliefsofthecommunityandhowthecommunityfeelsabouthandlingchild
welfarecases.Concernswiththemodelinclude:

Thecaseworkerisoftentheonlypartyincourtwithoutanattorneyspeakingforhimorher;
Thecaseworkersexpertisemaybeignored,astheattorneyhastheultimatesay;
Theattorneymaybehandlingallthebusinessforthecommunityandthereforenotbeableto
specializeinchildwelfarelaw;
Politicalagendasmayplayalargeroleindecisionmaking;
Theagencyasawholemaynotbegettinglegaladviceonpolicyissues;
Theattorneyspersonalbeliefsaboutissuessuchaspermanencyratherthancaseworker
expertisedictatewhatwillhappenforachild;andpotentialconflictsofinterestmayarise,such
aswhentheprosecutorispursuingadelinquencypetitionagainstachildwhoisintheagencys
custody.

TheABAcommitteedraftingthestandardsofpracticerecommendedtheagencyrepresentationmodel,
butrecognizedthatstatelegislationmaydictatewhatmodeleachattorneymustfollow(emphasis
added).Further,thereportrecommendedagainstdevelopinghybridmodelsincorporatingelementsof
theagencymodelandtheprosecutorialmodelbecauseoftheinherentriskscreatedbysuchhybrid
models.
TheRoleandResponsibilitiesoftheAgencyLawyer:
SinceDCFistheclientoftheCLSlawyer,certainobligationsareimposedonthelawyerbytheFlorida
BarCodeofProfessionalResponsibility.AlawyersresponsibilitiesareoutlinedinthePreambletothe
Codeasfollows:
Alawyer,asamemberofthelegalprofession,isarepresentativeofclients,anofficerofthe
legalsystem,andapubliccitizenhavingspecialresponsibilityforthequalityofjustice.

16

Asarepresentativeofclients,alawyerperformsvariousfunctions.Asanadviser,alawyer
providesaclientwithaninformedunderstandingoftheclientslegalrightsandobligationsand
explainstheirpracticalimplications.Asanadvocate,alawyerzealouslyassertstheclients
positionundertherulesoftheadversarysystem.Asanegotiator,alawyerseeksaresult
advantageoustotheclientbutconsistentwithrequirementsofhonestdealingwithothers.As
anevaluator,alawyeractsbyexaminingaclientslegalaffairsandreportingaboutthemtothe
clientortoothers.43
TheRulesofProfessionalConductapplytolawyersrepresentingorganizations,andlawyersrepresenting
governmentalagenciesareasubclassofthiscategoryoflawyers.44Governmentallawyersmayhavea
specialresponsibilitytothepublicinbalancingconfidentialityrequirementsandthepublicinterest,but
areotherwiseheldtothesamestandardsaslawyersrepresentinganyorganization.45
AreasofConfusionIdentified:
Applyingtheseprinciplestothedependencyprocess,theCLSlawyerisrequiredtoinformDCFofits
legalrightsandobligationsandtoexplaintheirpracticalimplications.ItisalsoincumbentonCLSto
educatetheotherprofessionalsabouttheimportanceofcaselawininterpretingstatutes,especiallyin
areasthatmaylimittheabilityoftheDepartmenttoacttoprotectchildren,suchasdomesticviolence
andsubstanceabusecases.ThelawyerisrequiredtozealouslyrepresentDCFspositionconsistentwith
theDepartmentsmissionundertherulesoftheadversarysystemasestablishedbystatute,rule,and
caselaw.CLSisrequiredtoseekresultsadvantageoustoDCFbutconsistentwithhonestdealingwith
others.Finally,CLSisrequiredtoacttoexamineDCFslegalaffairsandreportaboutthemtotheclient
orothers.
Threespecificareasofconfusionwereidentified.Thefirstisintheareaoffindingsofprobablecause.46
TheCPIsdiscussionwithCLSaboutprobablecausetoremoveachildfromthechildshomeisnotfor
thepurposeofdeterminingwhetherprobablecauseexists,sincethisisafunctionofthecourt.The
purposeofthediscussionistodeterminewhetheracrediblecasecanbemadeforprobablecause
basedonthefactssotheDepartmentandtheCLSattorneywillnotfacesanctionsforpursuingfrivolous
claims.TherehasbeenconfusionwiththeprosecutorialmodelwhichhasledsomeChildWelfare
ProfessionalstobelievethatCLShastheauthoritytomakethedecisionastowhetherprobablecause
existstoremoveachild.ThisconfusionledtotheprofessionalsbelievingthatCLSisthefinaldecision
makeronhowandwhethertoproceedwiththedependencycaseasitmovesthroughthecourt
process.
Secondly,adeterminationoflegalsufficiency,anotherphraseusedbyCLStoguideotherchildwelfare
professionals,isnotadeterminationofthelikelihoodofprevailingonanissue,orevenadetermination
ofthewisdomofthepathproposed,butmerelyadeterminationastowhetheracrediblecasecanbe

43

PreambletotheRulesofProfessionalConduct,RulesRegulatingtheFloridaBar.
Rule41.13,FLRulesofProfessionalConduct
45
Commentary,Rule41.13,FLRulesofProfessionalConduct.
46
Probablecauseisnotdefinedinchapter39.Itisatermmostcommonlyusedincriminalcasesandisa
requirementoftheFourthAmendmentoftheUnitedStatesConstitution.Itisusuallyrequiredbeforepolicemake
anarrest,conductasearch,orexecuteawarrant.Courtshaveattemptedtoclarifythetermonseveraloccasions,
whilerecognizingthatprobablecauseisaconceptthatisimprecise,fluid,andverydependentoncontext.TheU.S.
SupremeCourt,inIllinoisv.Gates462U.S.213,232(1983),inacriminalcase,favoredaflexibleapproach,viewing
probablecauseasapractical,nontechnicalstandardthatcallsuponthefactualandpracticalconsiderationsof
everydaylifeonwhichreasonableandprudentmenact.CornellUniversityLawSchool,
www.law.cornell.edu/wex/probablecause.
44

17

made,onthefactsavailable,applyingcurrentstatutoryandcaselaw,thatthefilingisnotmade
frivolously.47
AnotherareaofroleconfusionariseswhenCPIsandCMsturntoCLSforanswerstoquestionsbetter
directedtotheirownsupervisors.ThispracticemayresultfromthefactthatCLShasalowerturnover
rate,highereducationrequirements,andmoresophisticatedtrainingthantheotherprofessionals.Inan
efforttobehelpful,itiseasyforCLStooverstepitsareaofexpertiseintodecisionmakingmore
appropriatelydonebytheotherprofessionals.
Finally,theorganizationalstructureoftheDepartmentandofCLSdonotsupportinteractionand
communicationbetweenCLSandtheotherChildWelfareProfessionals.InthemostcurrentDCF
organizationalchart,CLSoperatesasasilo,reportingdirectlytotheSecretary,withoutanystructured
interactionwiththeOfficeofChildWelfare(wheretheotherprofessionalsarehoused),theOfficeofthe
GeneralCounsel,orRegionalAdministrators.48

NewPracticeModel
AnotherDepartmentinitiativetobringthebestinterestofthechildtotheforefrontofpracticebegan
afterthetragicdeathofNubiaBarahonainFebruary2011.TheDepartmentassembledaspecialreview
paneltoexaminethehistoryofthecaseandproviderecommendationstoimproveFloridaschild
welfaresystem.49Thepanelrecommendedareengineeringofchildprotectiveinvestigationsthat
encompassedrecruitment,selectionandtraining,aswellastechnologyenhancements,reviewof
investigativeprocessesandpractices,andcollaborationwithlawenforcementandexternalpartners.
ThisNewPracticeModel,uniquetoFlorida,incorporatesthebestinformationavailableaboutchild
welfarepracticefromaroundthecountry.Themodelisdesignedtoestablishastandardizedteamwork
approachtoassessingchildsafetyandrisk,utilizinginternalandexternalexpertise.Thevisionwasto
transformtheroleofthehotline,investigationsandcasemanagement,sothateachcomponentofthe
systemworksasanintegratedandhighlyinterdependentunit,equippedto:

gatherbetterinformation;

relayinformationfaster;

conductbetterqualityinvestigationsthroughanassessmentprocessthatfocusesona
setofnewsafetyconstructstoprovideacompletepictureofthechildandfamily;and

offeramoreeffectiveengagementstrategytoensurethechildandfamilyssafetyand
independence.

Thisholisticapproachassessesthechildandfamilysstrengthsandneedsanddeterminesthesafetyof
thechild.Theevaluationofthefamilyassistschildwelfareprofessionalsindeterminingtheunderlying
conditionsthatarecreatingthethreatorrisktothechild.Informedbytheevaluation,thechildwelfare
professionalworkswiththefamilytoovercomethoseunderlyingissueswhilemaintainingchildsafety.

47

SeeRule43.1,FLRulesofProfessionalConduct.
TheDCFOrganizationalChart,updated3/11/16,andtheCLSLeadershipOrganizationalChartareattachedas
AppendixG.
49
TheNubiaReport,March10,2011
48

18

ImplementationplansweredevelopedattheregionalandcircuitlevelthroughRegionalChampions,
whobecameinstrumentalinmovingthevisionandpracticeforward,despitemultiplechangesin
leadershipandprojectleads.
Floridanowhaswhatmanyexpertsdescribeasoneofthenationsmostcomprehensiveandcomplex
childwelfarepracticemodels.TheDepartmenthasembarkedonamonumentalshiftinhowcasesare
handled,movingawayfrombeingincidentfocusedtoassessmentfocused.50Developingand
maintainingahighlyskilledworkforceisessentialforbothinvestigationsandcasemanagement.Key
skillsworkersmusthavetoeffectivelyapplythepracticemodelandappropriatelyinterveneinclude
criticalthinking,interviewingandtheabilitytoengagefamilies.
OperationalizingtheNewPracticeModelhasinvolvedchallenges,includingverylimitedresourcesata
headquartersandregionalleveltoprovidehandsonsupporttofrontlinestaffandalackofalignmentof
policy,ruleandstatutewiththenewpractice,whichinturncreatedconflictamongchildprotective
investigators,casemanagers,ChildrensLegalServices,andthejudiciary.
Additionalchallengeswerefacedintrainingtheworkforce.Becauseworkershadtobetrainedwhile
continuingtocarrytheirfullcaseloadsandresponsibilities,astaggeredimplementationtothenew
practicewasdeployed.Limitedresourcesfortrainingfrontlinestaffinthemandatoryeightdaytraining
forcedtraininginsingleprofessionalgroupsinmanyareas.Currently,skilllevelvariesthroughoutthe
systemofcare,rangingfromathoroughlevelofunderstandingtheNewPracticeModeltoverylittle
understanding.ThereisaperceptionamongtheChildWelfareProfessionalsinterviewedthatothersin
theirlocalsystemsofcaredonotunderstandthemodelaswellastheydo.Thisperceptionhas
contributedtoroleconfusionaseachoftheprofessionalsinterpretsitsrole(andtherolesoftheothers)
differently.
Manystaffinterviewedreportedfeelingillequippedtopracticethemodelwithfidelity,ashighand
constantturnoverhaveledtolittleopportunitytoattendavailabletrainings.Highcaseloadsand
pressuretoclosecasesinatimelyfashionhaveresultedinalargeportionoftheworkforcethat,despite
havinglessthantwoyearsonthejob,reportedfeelingburntoutandnotsupported.
JudgesandGuardiansadLitemvaryintheirunderstandingandacceptanceoftheNewPracticeModel,
andCLSvariesinitsabilitytoarticulatetheconnectionsbetweensubstantialcompliancecontainedin
thestatuteandconditionsforreturncontainedinthenewpracticemodel.Theexplanationanduseof
thenewterminology,suchaspresentdangerandimpendingdanger,aswellastheredefinitionof
existingtermssuchasriskandsafety,havenotbeenunderstoodbythejudiciary,Guardiansat
Litem,orotherkeystakeholderssuchasChildProtectionTeams.
TheworkgrouprecognizesthatmanyofthechallengesandstressesoftheimplementationoftheNew
PracticeModelareinherentinmakingsuchawiderangingandsignificantchangeinphilosophyforthe
Department.Thesechallengeswerenotunexpectedandcanbepredictedtolessenovertimeasthe
modelbecomesmorewidelyunderstoodandaccepted.

TurnoverandRetentionofChildWelfareProfessionals
WhileitisclearthattheunacceptablyhighrateofturnoveramongChildWelfareProfessionals,withits
impactontrainingandcaseloadsandcommunicationingeneral,isamajorcontributortorole

50

SourcesincludeActionforChildProtectionandtheNationalCapacityBuildingCenter

19

confusion,thereasonsandremediesforthisissuearebeyondthescopeofthisreportandprovidemore
thanadequategroundsforseparateexploration.51

OtherFindings
Findingsinthereportnotspecificallyaddressedinthebackgroundinformationwerebasedon
informationgatheredfromthesurveyandthefocusgroups,withtheexceptionofthefinalfinding,
whichwasbasedonattemptstogatherDCFhistoryforthepreparationofthisreport.52

Conclusion
TheDepartmenthasmadegreatstridesinmeetingitsmissionstatementbyrestructuringthelegalarm
oftheorganizationwhileatthesametimedeployingaNewPracticeModelforitsoperationalteam.The
initiativeshavethecommonthreadofdrivingthebestinterestsofchildrentotheforefrontofdecision
makingwhileprofessionalizingtheworkforce.Bothrequiredaveryrobusttrainingprocesstobe
implementedwithinthelimitationsofresourcesandworkforceneeds.Theimplementationprocessfor
thenewpracticemodelandtheshifttoamoreprosecutorialmodelforCLS,havecreatedanimbalance
towardownershipofdecisionmakingincasesbyCLS,ratherthantotheidealofeachprofessional
havingequalandinteractivedecisionmakingresponsibility.TheimbalanceofpoweramongtheChild
WelfareProfessionalshascompoundedtheunderlyingroleconfusionresultingfromhighturnoverand
trainingnotcoordinatedamongtheprofessionals.Someregionsandcircuitshavetakenstepsto
improvecommunicationsandtosupportfrontlineworkers.Colocationisessential,asissupported
decisionmakingandrealistictimeexpectationfortheprofessionals.Coordinatedtrainingefforts,in
whichteamsconsistingoftheprofessionalswhowillworktogetheroncasesaretrainedtogether,have
beentriedonalimitedbasisandshowthepotentialforabetterunderstandingofrolesonthepartofall
theprofessionals.

51

See,forexample,ChildProtectiveInvestigatorandChildProtectiveInvestigatorEducationalQualifications,
Turnover,andWorkingConditionsStatusReport,AnnualReport,DCFOfficeofChildWelfare,October1,2015.This
reportisattachedinitsentiretyatAppendixH.
52
Apresentationofthedatareceivedfromseveralofthesurveyquestionsandthefocusgroupsisincludedat
AppendixI.

20

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix A:
2015 Annual Critical Incident Rapid Response Team Advisory
Committee

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Appendix A

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix B:
Survey Respondent Demographics

Appendix B

Dependency Roles Review Survey Questions, December 2015.


1. Please rate: I am able to get legal advice from the attorney assigned to a case when I need it.
2. I feel like a member of a team acting to protect children.
3. It is the responsibility of the lawyers to teach caseworkers and investigators about court
procedures.
4. I understand what is expected of me in court appearances.
5. It is the responsibility of the lawyers to review JRSSRS and case plans.
6. Communication with lawyers is a strength of the dependency system in my area.
7. Communication with caseworkers and investigators is a strength of the dependency system in
my area.
8. Communication with DCF administrators and policy advisors is a strength of the dependency
system.
9. The CLS attorneys in my circuit listen to my concerns and opinions.
10. DCF administrators are involved members of the dependency team.
11. I am able to get in touch with case managers when I need them for legal issues or court
preparation.
12. I am able to get in touch with investigators when I need them for legal issues or court
preparation.
13. I use a staffing form to provide information to CLS.
14. CLS elicits testimony from CPIs during shelter hearings.
15. CPI participates in the preparation of dependency petitions.
16. Who decides whether a dependency petition should be filed in a non-judicial case?
17. How long before a hearing does CLS receive proposed case plans?
18. Case Management ensures case plan tasks and services are provided timely in accordance with
court orders.
19. CLS elicits testimony from CM in dependency trials.
20. Do you attend staffings when cases are transferred from investigations to services?
21. How long before a hearing does CLS receive proposed JRSSRs?

Appendix B

22. Do you get a copy of orders after each dependency hearing?


23. Do you get a copy of Orders to Show Cause?
24. Do you get a copy of Orders that are believed to be improper?
25. Do you attend staffings for case closure in non-judicial cases?
26. Do you attend staffings for case closure in judicial cases?
27. Does CLS participate in the decision to change the placement of children in licensed care?
28. Does CLS participate in the decision to change the placement of children in relative placements?
29. Do you have cases where one child has been removed from the home and others remain in the
home?
30. Do you attend permanency staffings?
31. Do you receive adequate preparation from CLS for hearings?
32. Who decides when a TPR petition should be filed?
33. Do you know which cases are going to be heard in enough time to prepare for court?
34. CLS meets face to face with me to staff cases prior to court?
35. When a child needs to be removed from a pre-adoptive home, CM notifies CLS and requests an
order to modify placement of the child.
36. CLS is a participant in Adoption Review Committee decisions.
37. CLS represents the decision of the Regional Managing Director in court hearings related to
Adoption Review Committee cases.
38. I know what to do if I disagree with CLS about how a case should be managed.
39. I know what to do if I disagree with CPI or CM or department administration about how a case
should be managed.
40. I know what to do if there is a disagreement between CPI and Case Management.
41. In a dependency case, who is your client?
42. In a dependency case, who has final authority to decide the best interest of the child?
43. In your circuit, who decides whether to appeal a court order?
44. I have a working knowledge of Florida's new practice model and how it relates to Chapter 39
dependency proceedings.

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix C:
Workgroup Agendas and Minutes

Appendix C

AgendaInitialWorkgroupMeeting
January6,2016

401NW2ndAve
SuiteN1007VisionaryRoom
MiamiFL33128

Begin1:00pm

Welcome/OverviewofProject/Introductions

RebeccaKapusta

10minutes

OpeningRemarks/History/Workgroupmeetingschedule

PeggySanford

15minutes

OutlineofMaterialsalreadyprovidedandhowtoaccess

CristinaBatista

5minutes

CIRRTSummary

TraciLeavine

20minutes

SummaryofSurveyResults

PeggySanford

30minutes

TraciLeavine

BREAK

(2:302:45)

ScheduleandPurposeofFocusGroups

15minutes

PeggySanford
CristinaBatista

5minutes

ReviewofFocusGroupAssignments

PeggySanford

10minutes

ReviewofFocusGroupQuestions

PeggySanford

20minutes

FocusGroupTeamBreakouts

All

20minutes

QuestionsandComments

All

20minutes

Thanksandclose

PeggySanford

5minutes

ClearDates
Reviewregionspecificsurveyresults

Endby5pm

Appendix C

January7SouthernandSoutheastregionalmeetings
January13CentralandSuncoastregionalmeetings
January19Northwestregionalmeeting
January21Northeastregionalmeeting
February4TeammeetinginTampaDCFOffice,9am4pm
February23FinalteammeetinginTallahasseeDCFOffice,12pm4pm
CristinaBatistainformedteamofDropboxonlinerepositoryforhistoricalandrelevant
documentstobeaccessedbyteammembers.
TraciLeavinepresentedanoverviewoftheCriticalIncidentRapidResponseTeams(CIRRT)
processandimportanttrends.ShespoketothethemesoftheCIRRTsandhowthereports
revealedconcernsofdependencyprocessasitrelatestoroleandfunctionofemployees.
PeggySanfordandTraciLeavinepresentedapreliminarysummaryofsurveyresults,
acknowledgingthattwolargecountiesdidnotparticipateinthesurvey.
GrainneOSullivanandPeggySanfordpresentedtheteamwithareviewoffocusgroup
assignments.Theteammembersweregivenadraftfocusgroupguidewiththeinitial
statementandquestionsbrokendownbyrole.PeggySanfordreviewedthefocusgroup
questionswiththeteamandrequestedinputfromallattendees.
Teammemberswereinformedoftheirassignedpartnersandregion(s)andselecteddatesfor
focusgroupmeetings.
Actions
Reopensurveytoobtainresponsesfromcountiesthatdidnotparticipateinthesurvey.
TeammemberswillprovidefeedbackforfocusgroupquestionsandguidestatementbyFriday
January8,2016.
Teammembersmaydecidetobringanotherindividualfromtheirregiontotakenotesduring
thefocusgroupsessions,andwillinformCristinaBatistaofdecision.
CristinaBatistawilladdcontinuetoadddocumentstotheDropboxandwillinformregion
contactsofdatesforfocusgroupsessionsasteamsdecide.

End:4:30PM

Appendix C

Agenda
DependencyRolesWorkgroupMeeting
February4,2016
Tampa

Welcome

RebeccaKapusta

MinutesofJanuaryMeeting

CristinaBatista

SurveyResults(draft)

PeggySanford/CristinaBatista

ProcessOutlineforFocusGrouppresentation

PeggySanford

SouthernRegionFocusGroup

Pennypacker/Hill

SoutheastRegionFocusGroup

Stanford/Kent

Lunch

NorthwestRegionFocusGroup

Borher/Sherer

NortheastRegionFocusGroup

Kent/Leavine

SuncoastRegionFocusGroup

Bohrer/Sherer

CentralRegionFocusGroup

Stanford/Silverstein

Discussion/NextSteps

PeggySanford

Appendix C

rolegroup,circuitorregionspecificresponses,andcriticalinformationtobeshared(ifnotalready
covered).Teammemberspresentedasfollows:
KarenHillandStephenPennypackerSouthernRegion
BillyKentandBronwynStanfordSoutheastRegion
SandyBorherandCharlesSchererNorthwestRegion
SandyBorherandCharlesSchererSunCoastRegion
BillyKentandTraciLeavineNortheastRegion
DavidSilversteinandBronwynStanfordCentralRegion
Actions
TeammemberswereaskedtoprovideasummaryofeachregioninwrittenformbyThursdayFebruary
11,2016.
Teammemberswereaskedtoprovidecategorizationforsurveyquestionsbasedonfocusgroupresults
byeitherreport,Tableaupresentation,orirrelevant.

End:4:00PM

Appendix C

Agenda
DependencyRolesWorkgroup
1317WinewoodBoulevard
TallahasseeFL
February23,2015
124pm

Begin12:00pm
Welcomeandthanks

SecretaryCarroll

5minutes

Administrativeissues(traveletc)

PeggySanford

5minutes

ApprovalofMinutesofFebruary4meeting

PeggySanford

5minutes

Planforgivingfeedbacktoregionalleadership

PeggySanford

15minutes

Feedback:Whathavewelearned?

PeggySanford

30minutes

Reviewofproposedfirstfinding

PeggySanford

30minutes

Discussionre:additionalfindings

All

1hour

Nextsteps

PeggySanford

15minutes

Additionalquestionsorremarks

All

15minutes

Thanksandclose

RebeccaKapusta

5minutes

Endby4pm

Appendix C

Therewasahighlevelofparticipationanditwasclearthatindividualsfeelpassionatelyaboutthis
processandwantedtocontributetheirconcernsandperspectives.Individualsareexpectingandexcited
tohavechangethatwouldclarifytherolesfortheminthisdependencyprocess.Thereneedstobe
engagementwithCPIandCMwiththefamiliesweserve.WithmostofthecasesthattheDepartment
goesthroughgoodoutcomesareachieved,butwhenthereisntcommunication,theconsequencesare
toohigh.
DebriefingofRegions
Theteammemberswillpresentahighlevelsummaryofthefocusgroupsessionstoregionalleadership.
ProposedFirstFinding
Theteammembersreviewedthefirstproposedfindingandprovidedinputandrevisions.
Actions
TeammemberswillgiveCristinaBatistadatesofavailabilitytomeetwithregionsfordebriefing
meetings.
PeggySanford,RebeccaKapustaandGrainneOSullivanwillmeettodecideuponareasonableamount
offindingsanddistributealisttotheteam.
TheteamwillmeetoverVTConWednesdayMarch9thtodiscussthefinallistoffindings.
End:4:00PM

Appendix C

Agenda
DependencyRolesWorkgroup
VTC
March9,2016
35pm

Welcome
ReviewofMinutesforFebruary24meeting
ReportfromFocusGroupLeaders

Northwest

Bohrer/Sherer

Northeast

Kent/Leavine

Suncoast

Bohrer/Sherer

Southern

Pennypacker/Hill

ReviewofDraftFindings
NextSteps

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix D:
Focus Group Assignments, Questions, and Summary of Results

Appendix D

Team Assignments Focus Group Meetings


Team
Members
Stephen
Pennypacker

Dates

Times

Region

Location

Jan 19 & 20

January 19
CPIs and Intake Group, CPI Sup, CM
CM Sup
9-10:30, 11-12:30, 1:30-3, 3:30-5pm
January 20
CLS Attorneys, CLS Supervisors, Lead
CBC and Admins
9-10:30, 11-12:30, 1:30-3pm
January 20 CPI, CPI Sup, CM, CM Sup
9-10:30, 11-12:30, 1-2:30, 3-4:30pm

Southern
Region

Brickell Room

Southeast
Region

ChildNet Palm Beach


4100 Okeechobee Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33409

Central
Region

4001 Pelee Street, Orlando,


FL 32817 (CBCCFL) Dream
Conference Room

Suncoast
Region

Sarasota DCF Office

Northwest
Region

Panama City

Karen Hill

Bronwyn
Stanford

Jan 20 & 21

Billy Kent
Bronwyn
Stanford

January 21 CLS, CLS Sup, Admins


9-10:30am, 11-12:30pm, 1-2:30pm
Feb 2 & 3

David
Silverstein
Sandy Bohrer

Feb 1 & 2

Charles
Scherer

Sandy Bohrer

Jan 20th
and 21st

Charles
Scherer

Traci Leavine
Billy Kent

Jan 26 & 27

February 2 CPI, CPI Sup, CM, CM Sup


9-10:30am, 11-12:30pm, 1:30-3pm,
3:30-5pm
February 3 CLS, CLS Sup, Other TBD
9-1030am, 11-1230pm, 1:30-3:00pm
February 1 CPI, CPI Sup, CM, CM Sup
9-10:30am, 11-12:30pm, 1:30-3pm,
3:30-5pm
February 2 CLS, CLS Sup,
Administration
9-1030am, 11-1230pm, 1:30-3:00pm
January 20 CPI, CPI Sup, CM, CM Sup
9-10:30am, 11-12:30pm, 1:30-3pm,
3:30-5pm
January 21 CLS, CLS Sup, Management
9-1030am, 11-1230pm, 1:30-3:00pm
January 26 CPI, CPI Sup, CM, CM Sup
9-10:30am, 11-12:30pm, 1:30-3pm,
3:30-5pm
January 27 CLS, CLS Sup,
Intake/Transport
9-1030am, 11-1230pm, 1:30-3:00pm

DCF Office
2505 West 15th St, Panama
City, Florida, 32401
Northeast
Region

St. Augustine

Appendix D

Focus Group Questions, January-February 2016.


1.

Who do you consider to be members of the team working in your circuit to


protect children? Do you feel that CPIs, CMs, CLS, and DCF administration
work together as a team? If so, how well do they work together? What do you
consider your role to be in the dependency process?

2.

When do CPIs and CLS communicate? When do CMs and CLS communicate?
When do CPIs and CMs communicate? When do any of these communicate
with DCF administration? Is the communication professional and helpful? Is the
communication usually face to face, by email, telephone, or other? Are there
barriers to effective communication? What could made the communication
better?

3.

Who makes the decision to remove a child, CPI, CM, CLS, DCF? Is this answer
different for different circumstances? Describe.

4.

How have the changes to the DCF practice methodology enhanced or


challenged working with the legal system, including the judiciary? In what
important ways does the new practice model differ from previous practice?

5.

What happens when there is disagreement between CLS and either CPI or
CM? For example, if the CM believes a motion should be filed in a case and
CLS disagrees? Or if a CPI believes a dependency petition should be filed and
CLS disagrees?

6.

What are the important outside influences that affect the workers in the
dependency system? For example, the judiciary, the Guardian ad Litem, the
press, parents attorneys, etc. What impact do these have on the way the
system works?

7.

What is the most important thing that needs to be changed in the dependency
system today to improve our ability to keep children safe?

8.

What are some best practices and/or strengths in your area?

9.

Do you feel that your area is unique to the rest of the region? In what way?

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix E:
Timeline HRS-DCF 1965-2015

Appendix E

Time Line: HRS/DCF, 1965-2015

Year
1969

1973
1978
1989

1990
1991
1992
1994
1994
1996
1996

1998

2002
2004
2006
2006
2007
2009

2011

2015
2015

Action
Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS) created by the Florida
Legislature. Consolidated sixteen separate agencies, councils, and programs into seven
divisions of one department: Corrections, Family Services, Health, Mental Health,
Retardation, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Youth Services.
Two new divisions added to HRS: Aging and Childrens Medical Services.
Department of Corrections created.
Florida Supreme Court issues advisory opinions invalidating portions of chapter 39 and
ruling that by January 1, 1990, HRS must end the practice of law by its lay counselors
under these statutes.518 So.2d 1270 (FL 1988); 547 So.2d 909 (FL 1989).
Child Welfare Legal Services (CWLS) lawyers begin practice, using agency model.
Department of Elder Affairs created
Agency for Health Care Administration created
Department of Juvenile Justice created.
Legislature enacts s. 409.1671, directing the outsourcing of the provision of foster care
and related services statewide.
HRS divided into two entities: Department of Children and Families and Department of
Health
Legislature authorized, in the general appropriations act, pilots for legal services to be
delivered for DCF by the Office of the State Attorney in the 8th and 16th Judicial Circuits
and by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in the 17th Judicial Circuit. Currently, the
Office of the State Attorney provides legal services in the 6th Judicial Circuit and the OAG
provides the services in circuit 13 in addition to circuit 17. The state attorney offices in
the 8th and 16th circuits no longer provide these services.
Legislature grants authority for child protective investigations to sheriffs in Pinellas,
Manatee, Broward, and Pasco counties. Later extended to Seminole (2000), Hillsborough
(2005), and Citrus (2007) counties. Citrus County SO ended its CPI program in 2012.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation moved to Department of Education
Agency for Persons with Disabilities created
Transfer of transfer of family preservation, emergency shelter, foster care, and adoption
services to community based care (CBC) agencies complete
Pilot project outsourcing quality assurance (QA) activities to CBC agencies for 3-years
DCF Legal Workgroup convened; CWLS renamed CLS; prosecutorial model adopted.
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA)
recommends not continuing or expanding the QA pilots due to distancing the
department from the lead agencies and reduc(ing) its firsthand knowledge about the
quality of child welfare services.
43 QA FTEs converted to dollars and shifted to CBCs for Quality Assurance activities
within the CBC. 49 positions remained in DCF. These were later reduced by 19, leaving 30
FTEs statewide, most of whom are in the regions. There is no longer any requirement for
joint QA activities between DCF and CBCs.
CIRRT teams fully operational
CIRTT data and Annual Report available on DCF website

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix F:
Report of the Department of Children and Families Legal
Workgroup, September 17, 2007

Appendix F

Report of the
Department of Children and Families
Legal Workgroup

September 17, 2007

Appendix F

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction ............................................................................................................ i
Charge from the Secretary ................................................................................... ii
Executive Summary ..............................................................................................1
General Counsel Organizational Structure ............................................................2
Child Welfare Legal Services ...............................................................................7
Overview and Organizational Structure .........................................................7
Practice Standards ......................................................................................11
Relations with Community-Based Care Providers .......................................11
Support Staff .......................................................................................................14
Legal Resources .................................................................................................15
Case Tracking and Quality Assurance ................................................................15
Budget and Financial Management .....................................................................18
Training and Professional Development..............................................................19
Recruitment and Retention..................................................................................20
Funding ...............................................................................................................21
Future Tasks .......................................................................................................23
Conclusion ..........................................................................................................24

Appendices
Appendix A. Organizational Charts...................................................................25
Appendix B. Statewide CWLS General Counsel Crossover Practice .............27
Appendix C. General Counsel Position Descriptions ........................................29
Appendix D. Legal Counsel Role in Contracts ..................................................34
Appendix E. Comparative Matrix of Recommendations ...................................37
Appendix F. Child Welfare Legal Services Attorney Caseloads .......................57
Appendix G. Child Welfare Legal Services Position Descriptions ....................58
Appendix H. Child Welfare Legal Services Appeals Policy...............................67
Appendix I. Total Statewide Legal Budget .......................................................69
FY06-07 and FY07-08 Budget and Expenditures .....................................69
Master List of all attorney and legal support positions ..............................75
Preliminary legal services positions count ................................................88
Appendix J. Statewide In-service Training Plan ...............................................91
Appendix K. Child Welfare Legal Services Training Curriculum .......................92
Appendix L. General Counsel Legislative Budget Requests ............................97
Appendix M. Child Welfare Training Legislative Budget Request ...................107

Appendix F

Introduction
On May 7, 2007, Secretary Robert A. Butterworth established a Legal Review Workgroup
(Workgroup) to examine the two units within the Department providing legal services: the
Office of General Counsel (GC) and Child Welfare Legal Services (CWLS), and develop
recommendations to enhance the methods by which these units provide such services.
The Workgroup evaluated prior studies, reviewed current operations in the light of best
practices, and convened a series of meetings to take testimony that led to the
development of this Report. This Report is offered as a recommended blueprint to reorganize and re-engineer the delivery of the Departments legal services, to improve the
quality of legal representation, and to promote effective communication, coordination, and
collaboration both within the Department and between the Department and its communitybased lead agencies and service providers (Community Partners).

Charge from Secretary Butterworth


In establishing this Workgroup, Secretary Butterworth charged the Workgroup with
developing recommendations to result in:

Organization and reporting structure of the General Counsel and District Legal
Counsel offices, reflective of the proposed Regional and circuit-based structure of
the Department;
Organization, management, and reporting structure of Child Welfare Legal
Services, including the attorney-client relationship, the relationship with
community-based providers, and the decision-making processes;
The interaction between General Counsel staff and Child Welfare Legal Services
attorneys in representing the Department, in carrying out their routine responsibilities,
and with respect to appellate practice and cases of statewide concern;
Staff support, legal resources and tools available to the Departments attorneys;
The legal budget process, with emphasis on litigation expenses, expert witnesses,
and the use of outside counsel;
The docketing and case tracking system currently used by the Departments Office
of General Counsel and Child Welfare Legal Services;
The process and substance of initial training, capacity for ongoing continuing legal
education, and professional development of Departmental attorneys; and
The processes for recruitment, selection, and retention of Departmental attorneys.

Workgroup Members

Nancy Barshter, Special Counsel, Facilitator


Pat Badland, Director of Family Safety (former Director, Supreme Court Office of
Court Improvement), Department of Children & Families
Nick Cox, Regional Director, SunCoast Region, Department of Children & Families
John Slye, Deputy General Counsel, Department of Children & Families
Paul Rowell, District Legal Counsel, District 2, Department of Children & Families
Laurel Hopper, District Legal Counsel, District 15, Department of Children & Families
Stephen Pennypacker, Managing Attorney, Child Welfare Legal Services, District
3, Department of Children & Families
Carol Licko, Partner, Hogan & Hartson LLP, Board Members, Our Kids, Inc.
Mary Cagle, CEO, CHARLEE Homes for Children
Deborah Schroth, Senior Staff Attorney, Florida Legal Services

Appendix F

Judge Nikki Ann Clark, Circuit Court, 2nd Judicial Circuit, Chair of the Florida
Supreme Court Committee on Children and Families in the Court
Murray Greenberg, former County Attorney, Miami-Dade County

Legal Review Workgroup Guest Participants


To assure a broad view of the Department and representation of outside Community
Partners, the following individuals participated at meetings of the Workgroup:

John Copelan, General Counsel, Department of Children & Families


Peggy Sanford, Assistant General Counsel, Department of Children & Families
Gregory Venz, Assistant General Counsel, Department of Children & Families
John Traphofner, Assistant General Counsel, Department of Children & Families
Jason Dimitris, Chief of Staff, Department of Children & Families
Jacob Jackson, District Legal Counsel, District 10, Department of Children & Families
Colleen Farnsworth, District Legal Counsel, District 9, Department of Children & Families
Walter Sachs, Director of Contracted Client Services, Department of Children & Families
Marjorie Desporte, Senior Attorney, Southeast Zone, Contract Resource Team,
Department of Children & Families
Jack Moss, District Administrator, District 10, Department of Children & Families
Sandy Bohrer, Partner, Holland & Knight
Nakeitha Hodrick, Child Welfare Legal Services Managing Attorney, District 11,
Department of Children & Families
Lori Fehr, Child Welfare Legal Services Managing Attorney, Northwest Region, Circuit
1, Department of Children & Families
Linda Spector, Child Welfare Legal Services Managing Attorney, District 9,
Department of Children & Families
Fran Allegra, Chief Executive Officer, Our Kids Inc.
Lee Johnson, Executive Vice President, Sarasota YMCA
Jim Adams, Executive Director, Family Support Services of North Florida
Steven Blumenthal and Fawn Moore, Protective Investigations Unit, Pasco County
Sheriff's Office
Tammy Flushe, Protective Investigations Supervisor, Circuit 20, Department of
Children & Families
Angel Trejo, Circuits 2 and 14 Administrator, Department of Children & Families
Melissa Jaacks, Assistant Secretary for Administration, Department of Children &
Families
Barney Ray, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, Department of Children &
Families
Dennise Parker, Director, Office of Budget Services, Department of Children &
Families
Christie Moore, Office of Budget Services, Department of Children & Families
Tim Graves, Office of Budget Services, Department of Children & Families
Judge Lee E. Haworth, Chief Judge Designate, 12th Judicial Circuit
David Silverstein, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General

Appendix F

Executive Summary
Throughout Workgroup meetings, several issues regularly surfaced and guided both
discussions and recommendations. First, the Workgroup strongly believes the success
of any legal organizational structure requires a professional, business-like approach to
planning and implementation, driven by Secretary Butterworths Six Guiding Principles:
Integrity, Leadership, Transparency, Accountability, Community Partnerships and an
Orientation to Action.
Second, the effective improvement of the Departments legal services requires
deliberate and institutionalized cultural change within the Department. There must be
acceptance of the administrations commitment to accountability for direct services in
cooperation with Community Partners, and that acceptance must permeate throughout
the Department. The Departments employees, and its leadership at all levels, must
recognize the critical importance of high quality legal services in achieving the
Departments mission, and must ensure that anything less than first rate legal
representation cannot be accepted as an attitude or practice. Instead, the culture of the
Department must be one which demands and receives excellence in attorneys
performance of their legal and ethical duties.
Third, Department attorneys must be committed to providing ethical and effective legal
representation, particularly with respect to protecting the legal rights and needs of
vulnerable citizens. Legal decisions must be made after careful consideration of
complete and accurate information derived from all available sources, and all legal
actions must respect the dignity of the parties and the fairness of the legal process as
well as all statutory requirements. The Department must embrace best legal practices
and examine all relevant models and potential pilot projects designed to heighten the
level of professionalism. Fundamental to implementation of these principles is a
comprehensive training component that establishes expectations from pre-service
through professional development. The Department must continuously evaluate and
refine its legal procedures, and keep pace with the evolution of the applicable laws and
policies.
Fourth, the effectiveness of the Departments legal services is directly related to the
Departments interaction and involvement with its Community Partners. As the
Department has shifted from a provider of direct services to a purchaser of services
environment, the Departments legal services have not kept pace with the shift. In this
culture of shared roles and responsibilities among and between the Department and its
Community Partners, quality legal services can only be achieved with the full
participation of those Community Partners, and the success of the work provided by
Community Partners rests upon the cooperative exchange of information and effort with
Department attorneys.
Fifth, legal policies and procedural guidance should come from the upper levels of the
Department to be most effective and to ensure consistency, and then should be
operationalized at the lowest appropriate level, closest to those whom the Department
serves. The Departments legal decision-making processes should recognize the
inherent need for timeliness, accuracy, consistency, and ethical rigor.
Sixth, accountability is critical to accomplishing the Departments mission of achieving
safety and permanency for children. To this end, the roles, responsibilities, authority, and

Appendix F

operating relationships of Department attorneys, other Department employees and


Community Partners must be clearly defined and articulated. The Department and its
Community Partners must resolve disputes, clarify ambiguities that exist, and respond in
a coordinated, timely and decisive manner. Meaningful communication, feedback, and
quality assurance on the part of the Departments attorneys and Community Partners
must be seen as essential to reaching appropriate legal outcomes.
Seventh, in this time of budget cuts and limited resources, the Department faces a
significant challenge in maximizing the use of all existing legal resources while trying to
improve the quality of legal services. The Workgroup recommends that Child Welfare
Legal Services and the General Counsel functions be reorganized and operated as two
separate units. However, the Workgroup finds cooperation and collaboration between
both functions is absolutely necessary.
Finally, historically inadequate funding has contributed to many of the significant
shortcomings in the Departments ability to provide quality legal services. Lack of
adequate funding for quality legal services continues to directly and adversely impact the
safety of and permanency for our states children. For these reasons, the Workgroup
respectfully urges the recommendations in this Report be adopted, even where an
investment of additional funding may be necessary.

Challenges to this Review of the Departments Legal Services


In undertaking this review, the Workgroup was faced with several significant challenges.
First, the Workgroup had difficulty obtaining a statewide aggregate of the actual cost of
legal services and an accurate, complete inventory showing the number and location of
all legal positions. Additionally, the Workgroup was challenged by the crisis orientation
of the current delivery of legal services and the strained relations between Department
attorneys and Community Partners, which inhibited a comprehensive statewide analysis
of the systems strengths and weaknesses. The Workgroup urges that accurate
compilation of financial information, and an ongoing systematic, thoughtful statewide
approach are both crucial to future planning and necessary to the administration of the
Departments legal services.
The Workgroups initial task of reviewing Department legal services in light of
regionalization was repeatedly overshadowed by the urgency of the need to
substantively review legal services in the context of privatization. On a daily basis the
Departments legal decisions and contractual relationships come under fire. Stark
examples of the direct consequences of legal decisions on children and families reveal
that the quality of legal representation must become an integrated goal of the
Departments efforts in quality assurance.
Finally, as noted in the Executive Summary, the Workgroup has been challenged by the
task of developing a plan for improvement in the context of impending budget cuts,
particularly when an investment of additional dollars is necessary to accomplish
meaningful change.

Overview & Organization of the General Counsel & District Legal Counsel
Offices

Appendix F

The Office of General Counsel is a statewide service unit of the Department within the
Office of the Secretary. The General Counsel reports directly to the Secretary.
Organization within General Counsel and Central Office. Currently, the General Counsel
directly supervises these attorneys in the central office: two chief legal counsels, two
senior attorneys, an agency clerk and a senior contracts attorney. The General Counsel
also supervises an Operations and Management Consultant I (office manager), a vacant
position.
Although precise figures were not provided to the Workgroup, approximately 12 more
attorneys are assigned to the central office (including contracted and OPS positions).
Three are outposted to institutional settings, one is co-located in the Office of
Communications (for public records and open government work), and others are
outposted to program offices. While these attorneys work in the central office, they are
not shown on the organizational chart because they are funded from specific program
budgets. Most of these attorneys report to a Chief Legal Counsel. The Department also
continues to fund an attorney housed within the General Counsel Office of the Agency
for Persons with Disabilities (Agency). A second Chief Legal Counsel supervises one
attorney and provides assistance in the areas of CWLS and Adult Protective Services.
The General Counsel has no budget control. The Office of the Secretary manages the
General Counsels budget, and that operating budget has a deficit for the current year.
Districts / Regions. The General Counsel also supervises the 14 District Legal
Counsels.
These District Legal Counsels report to the General Counsel, with an
advisory relationship to the District / Zone administrators. One or more Assistant District
Legal Counsels and support staff positions are assigned to each District. Currently, each
District Legal Counsel supervises the CWLS Managing Attorney in that District.
The General Counsels Office and the 14 District Legal Counsels are loosely organized
to resemble a statewide law firm, with the General Counsel serving as managing
partner. The total statewide law firm operation consists of approximately 25 full-time
attorneys and 16 full-time support staff positions, along with some contracted and OPS
positions. The General Counsel and Chief Legal Counsel Offices enjoy a relatively low
turnover rate.
The General Counsel has no budgetary control over and no authority to hire and fire
personnel in the District Legal Offices. Instead, each District Legal Office is separately
funded as an arm of its respective District Administration office. Funding levels and
position assignments are not evenly or equitably distributed among the District Legal
Offices.
Legal Services of the General Counsels Office and District Legal Counsels. The
General Counsels central office provides legal advice to the Secretary, Deputy
Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, as well as the administrative offices for budget and
finance, employment and human resources, information technology, general services,
communications, contract administration/management, quality assurance and quality
management, and to all programs, including without limitation: Licensing, Background
Screening, Foster homes, Child Care, Public and private Substance Abuse facilities,
economic assistance and public benefits, and Designation of Baker Act receiving

Appendix F

facilities. The General Counsel Office is also responsible for providing legal services to
the Agency under an interagency agreement required by statute.
The District Legal Counsels serve a parallel function to that of the General Counsels
Office, providing legal representation at the District level and to all District-level program
offices.
Specific areas of law practice handled by the General Counsel and District Legal
Counsels include (without limitation), administrative law and hearings; appeals;
bankruptcy; contracts; real property transactions; liens; fair hearings; labor and
employment; false reporting; garnishment; PERC hearings; rule-making, legislative, and
federal practice; public records law; mediation; trusts; litigation and litigation
management, and risk management.
The Department annually spends approximately $1.5 billion on contracted services,
representing one-half of the entire Department budget. There are approximately 1,100
annual contracts with 700 to 800 individual contracting entities. The 22 Community
Based Care / foster care contracts have a value of $700 million and the Departments
600 substance abuse and mental health contracts total $570 million annually.
The Workgroup finds the Departments shift to a purchaser of services culture to be
particularly noteworthy, as Floridas procurement laws and the Departments contracting
practice have not fully caught up with the shift. General Counsel and District Legal
Counsels are not presently involved in procurement and negotiations of most contracts.
Attorneys review contracts usually only after they have been finalized, as part of the
standard routing process. The Departments procedures require the same depth of legal
review for all contracts, regardless of service type or dollar amount ($2,500 or $2
million). Simple amendments can result in lengthy documents because of bureaucratic
processes.
A Contract Resource Team (CRT) Pilot Program began in the fall of 2006 in the
Southeast Zone. An attorney from the General Counsel Office is outposted to serve as
the CRT attorney. The CRT, including its attorney, is involved in contract procurement
and negotiations. The pilot will be evaluated in 2007, although the evaluation measures
have not yet been determined.
The Workgroup recommends:
Organization and Reporting Structure
The General Counsel must serve as an integral member of the Secretarys
Executive Leadership Team.

The General Counsel and the District Legal Counsel offices should be
formally reorganized into a statewide law firm aligned with the new
Department-wide regional structure. Attorneys and support staff assigned
to District Legal Counsel offices should be reassigned to Regional Legal
Counsel offices.

The General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel should oversee all
general legal services in the Departments central office and in the
Regional Offices.

Appendix F

The General Counsel and one Deputy General Counsel should supervise
and direct operations of the General Counsel office and the Regional Legal
Counsel offices. They should also supervise the Assistant General
Counsels assigned to the General Counsels central office and five
Regional Legal Counsels. Assistant Regional Counsels and support staff
assigned to each Region should report to the Regional Legal Counsels.

The General Counsel should have an attorney-client advisory relationship


with Regional Directors and Program Directors. Regional Legal Counsels
should have an attorney-client advisory relationship with the Regional
Directors and should be part of the Regional Leadership Team.

Selection, hiring and supervision of Regional Legal Counsels should be the


responsibility of the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel, with
input from the Regional Director. Selection, hiring and supervision of
Assistant Regional Counsel should be the responsibility of the Regional
Counsel, with input from the Regional and Circuit Directors.

The proposed distribution of Assistant Regional Counsel positions shown


on the organizational chart (see Appendix A) is for discussion purposes
only. Due to impending budget cuts, it is not feasible to maintain the
current staffing levels in every Circuit / Region while also creating Regional
Counsel positions. The exact distribution of positions should be finalized
once the extent of any budget cuts is known. An inventory of existing legal
positions has been compiled at the request of the Workgroup, and is
available for use in finalizing any reallocation.

The General Counsel, with the assistance of a finance and administrative


manager, should provide fiscal oversight and budgetary control for all
funds expended for legal services provided by the Office of the General
Counsel and Regional Legal Counsel offices on a statewide basis.

The General Counsel and Regional Legal Counsel should have a


collaborative, advisory interrelationship with the State CWLS Director and
Regional Managing CWLS Attorneys with respect to family safety law and
policy, and should work in close communication and coordination,
particularly with respect to litigation and appellate matters and other
matters of statewide importance.

The Department should analyze the crossover work (e.g. family safety,
public records requests) currently being performed, and make decisions
about the distribution of the workload and the requisite positions. See
Appendix B for an inventory of the current crossover workloads.

Proposed organizational chart and position descriptions for Deputy


General Counsel, Regional Legal Counsel and Assistant Regional Legal
Counsel consistent with these recommendations may be found in
Appendices A and C.

The currently vacant position titled Operations Management Consultant I


should be reclassified or a new position description should be written.

Leadership, Administrative and Supervisory Responsibilities of General Counsel


The General Counsel should demonstrate and provide leadership within a
statewide law firm. He should attend all meetings of the executive staff and

Appendix F

other leadership meetings as requested.

The General Counsel should participate in strategic planning for the


Department and its integration of legal and ethical considerations in
Department operations, modeling leadership and fostering a workplace
climate that supports ethical behavior.

The General Counsel and Regional Legal Counsels should support the
Department throughout the state, providing advice, counseling and legal
representation related to legal / policy issues critical to the Departments
mission, and should oversee outside counsel for all major litigation.

The General Counsel should assert decision-making authority and


responsibility for all legal decisions of the Department, and should provide
/ communicate legal interpretations, advice and counsel that are consistent
throughout the state.

The General Counsel should demonstrate leadership within the statewide


legal community, and should develop sound, productive relationships both
with the judiciary and the Florida Bar.

The General Counsel should provide direction for overall quality assurance
and quality management of legal services, assuring that all legal services
are provided competently, efficiently, effectively, and in compliance with
state and federal laws and rules and appropriate practice standards.

Substantive Representation
The General Counsel and Regional Legal Counsels should provide legal
services that are proactive as well as problem-solving. This includes
developing Department policies to ensure compliance with applicable
Florida laws, policies and rules, managing claims against the Department,
participating in internal review processes as to potential claims, and
providing advice in matters with significant legal implications and ethical
considerations.

A core function of the General Counsel and Regional Legal Counsels


should be to provide preventive legal advice, to avoid unnecessary and
costly litigation, to anticipate emerging legal issues, and to engage in
active client counseling.

Contracts
The General Counsel Office should develop and advance contractual
relationships by negotiating and conceptualizing contractual content,
reviewing contracts and interagency agreements, providing advice and
drafting documents related to procurement, invitations to bid, real estate
and other related transactions, and participating in quality assurance and
oversight to ensure the success of all contractual relationships.

The General Counsel, in cooperation with the Office of Contracted Client


Services, should develop guidelines establishing the formal role of
attorneys at each stage in contracting processes, including guidelines for
legal participation in contracts, working agreements, leases, memoranda of
understanding, and letter agreements, regardless of the nature and

Appendix F

monetary consideration involved. These guidelines should be adopted and


implemented statewide. See Appendix D.

The Department's standard contracts should be reviewed with a critical


eye, and rewritten as necessary, to ensure enforceability, clarity, and
mutual accountability, particularly with respect to contracts with
Community Partners.

The General Counsel and State CWLS Director should work with the
Contract Oversight Unit to reduce duplication and assign qualitative
standards for assuring compliance with relevant laws. Attorneys should be
involved in the development of quality assurance, licensing, and federal
funding reviews.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities (Agency)


The legal relationship between the Department and the Agency presents
significant conflicts and workload issues. For this reason, the Workgroup
recommends:
The legal relationship between the Department and the Agency should be
re-evaluated during the 2008 Legislative Session.

In the interim, actual or potential conflicts of interest between the


Department and the Agency should be reported immediately to the
Secretary and the General Counsel for review and resolution with Agencys
Director and General Counsel.

The General Counsel should develop a proposal to the Agency to


commence cost sharing with the Department for legal services provided to
the Agency, and to establish a reasonable time frame for the Agency to
assume full responsibility and full financial support for its own legal
services, and revise the interagency agreement accordingly, consistent
with the most effective and efficient means for the Agencys legal needs to
be met.

Overview, Organization and Improvement of Child Welfare Legal Services


The Child Welfare Legal Services (CWLS) program, created by the 1989 Legislature, is
responsible for providing legal advice and representation to the Department in all juvenile
dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings. CWLS attorneys represent
the Department in its most mission-critical task the protection of at-risk children.
However, throughout the history of this program, the importance of the role played by
CWLS attorneys has been wholly lacking in gravitas both within and outside the
Department.
Organization of CWLS. The current CWLS program consists of approximately 350
attorneys and 250 support staff housed in local District Offices and supervised by the
District Legal Counsel. The program is partially outsourced: the Department contracts with
the Office of the Attorney General to provide legal services in the 17th, 13 h, and a part of
the 12th Judicial Circuit and with the State Attorneys Office to provide these services for the
6th Judicial Circuit. There is no statewide management, financial oversight, or supervisory
control of the CWLS program.
Location and working conditions of the CWLS units are widely variable and inconsistent
across the State. In some localities, attorneys are housed in law-office type settings, while

Appendix F

others are housed in state office buildings with other program units or other governmental
entities.
Current Status of CWLS. Historic shortcomings in the operation of the CWLS program
are well documented in previous reviews and in reports by the Florida Bar LOMAS in
2004 and by OPPAGA in 2004 and 2005. A compilation and comparative matrix of the
recommendations from those previous reports is attached as Appendix E. The LOMAS
study cited significant concerns, including lack of a statewide infrastructure, statewide
procedures and policies, extremely high caseloads, and support staffing levels below
standards for law firms.
The American Bar Association has recommended an average caseload of 40 to 50
active cases per attorney. Average CWLS caseloads are in the range of 70-75 cases
per attorney, a slight improvement from previous years. However, averaging caseload
numbers is extremely misleading, as CWLS caseloads vary wildly from office to office,
with actual attorney caseloads ranging from a low of 54 active cases to a high of 225
active cases. See Appendix F for CWLS attorney caseload counts by district.
The Workgroup has found that training and professional development for attorneys is
meager. New attorneys are afforded little training in Department policies and local
courtroom procedures. No Department funds are specifically earmarked for attorney
training. According to the 2005 OPPAGA study, the Department now requires all new
Child Welfare Legal Services attorneys to attend child welfare pre-service training with
investigators and caseworkers. However, the Workgroup has found that in actuality,
very few, if any, attorneys attend the child welfare pre-service training.
Some attorney training is offered at the local level, subject to availability of funds and
local trainers. A statewide CWLS Training Committee, created in 2005, has developed a
legal intranet website, technical training materials, and a desk manual for self-guided
field training for new attorneys. The Workgroup has found that attorney access to these
resources is inconsistent and infrequent at best, with only scant opportunities for training
in advocacy and lawyering skills, trial techniques, and legal ethics.
Uniform practice standards have not been developed for Child Welfare Legal Services.
Due to the local level of management as well as partial outsourcing of the CWLS function
to the Attorney General's Office, or a State Attorney's Office, each locality adheres to a
different set of practice standards. In some districts, no practice standards have been
established.
There are approximately 350 active appeals currently being handled. The Department
does not track the total number or substance of appellate matters handled. Appeals are
managed at the local level, with the support of three certified appellate attorneys who,
through a contract with the Department, handle appeals when a CWLS attorney is
unavailable. In 2005, OPPAGA reported on an initiative proposed by the General
Counsels office to develop an appellate unit to manage appeals from the central office.
To date, this initiative has not been implemented.
The Department has an automated statewide case management system for in-house
CWLS attorneys to track progress of cases and to help ensure that time requirements
are being met. Although the case tracking system has recently been used to collect and
analyze legal case-management data, it has no capacity for assessing attorney

Appendix F

performance, identifying training needs and local/statewide trends. Further, there is no


quality assurance and monitoring program to ensure the quality of legal services by
attorneys, and accountability remains poor.
There is a moderately high turnover rate among CWLS attorneys and support staff. Due
to budgetary constraints, a considerable number of vacant attorney and support staff
positions are frozen. Other CWLS attorney positions and many of the support staff
positions are filled on a contracted or temporary (OPS) basis.
Salaries for attorneys and support staff have been stagnant. Some CWLS attorneys are
hired at or below the starting salary for protective investigators, and these child welfare
professionals are not eligible for performance-pay incentives or overtime offered to
protective investigators and other child welfare professionals. Further, attorney and legal
support staff salaries appear to be increasingly non-competitive when compared with
similar salaries within the private and public sectors of the legal profession.
Attorney recruitment and retention are major challenges, possibly due to salaries, but
also due in part to poor working conditions in some locations, including substandard
environments, broken furniture, and inadequate equipment. In addition, at the conclusion
of the 2006 Legislative session, the Department was no longer allowed to continue the
student loan reimbursement program which had been an effective recruitment and
retention tool.
The CWLS budget is part of the budget for the Family Safety and Preservation program,
distributed throughout District program offices. Legal costs and litigation expenses are
not budgeted for, and expenditures for litigation are not tracked.
The CWLS unit has been further challenged by the shift to a community-based system of
care using Community Partners. When the transition occurred, the Department retained
responsibility for the legal services function; however, there was very little planning for
the implementation of necessary changes in the legal services delivery system. The
attorneys were left to their own devices to cope with the impact of the changes on their
legal representation of the Department and to adjust their working relationships with
Community Partners. Although the community-based care contracts call for working
agreements to clarify legal roles and relationships, in many parts of the state these
relationships are extremely strained, causing confusion, and in some cases outward
hostilities, over who the attorneys represent, which entity controls the legal decisionmaking, and responsibilities for the costs of litigation.

The Workgroup recommends:


The Child Welfare Legal Services unit should be reorganized as an
autonomous unit reporting to the State CWLS Director, apart from the
General Counsel and Regional Legal Counsel offices. It should operate as
its own professional, statewide law firm, under the direction of a State
Director, with a management and supervisory infrastructure, clear roles
and lines of authority, proper working conditions, adequate support staff,
appropriate levels of training and professional development, and
opportunities for professional growth.

The statewide law firm name should be renamed Childrens Legal Services.

Appendix F

All CWLS attorneys, whether employed by the Department, the Attorney


General, or a State Attorney, represent the legal interests of the Department
as the client. All such attorneys should practice as a singular statewide
law firm, adhering to the same high standards of practice and ethics and
the same substantive legal policies and procedures.

Inconsistencies in working conditions, caseloads, and attorney


performance outcomes need to be evaluated and addressed on a
systematic, statewide basis.
Attorney working conditions must be
conducive to professional legal work, with reasonable caseloads, adequate
furniture and furnishings, file capacity and file security, privacy, adequate
computer and technology equipment, conference room space, and seating
for clients and witness interviews and conferencing.

The success of the community-based system of care is dependent upon an


effective partnership between the Department and the Community Partners
in the delivery of services and in the handling of legal cases. Performance
standards should be clearly articulated, requiring the highest degree of
communication, coordination, and cooperation between CWLS attorneys
and the Community Partners, including contracted providers and case
managers. The Departments delivery of quality legal services is essential
to the process.

To plan coherently for the development and implementation of quality legal


services, it is essential that the Department compile and maintain accurate
financial and related information pertaining to the delivery of legal services,
including the total number of positions, salaries, where positions are
located, legal expenses and litigation costs. A single unified legal budget
should be strongly considered for the Child Welfare Legal Services unit.

Child Welfare Legal Services Organizational Structure and Responsibilities


Child Welfare Legal Services should be directed by a State CWLS Director,
a position that was established by the Secretary in July, 2007. The State
Director should report to the Assistant Secretary for Operations. The State
Director should serve as an integral member of the Secretarys Executive
Leadership Team.

The following positions should be created, to serve under the direction of


the State Director of Child Welfare Legal Services:
o

State Child Welfare Legal Services Training Director

State Child Welfare Legal Services Appellate Director

Senior Managing Attorney for Case Tracking and Quality Assurance,

Budget and Administration Manager, and

Such other administrative and support staff position as may be


assigned to assist the Director in the performance of her duties.

Proposed organizational chart and position descriptions for CWLS


consistent with these recommendations are found in Appendices A and G.

The State Director should supervise four CWLS Regional Managing


Attorneys (Northwest, Northeast, Central, and Southeast regions) and two

Appendix F

Circuit Managing Attorneys (20th Judicial Circuit and in the 12th Judicial
Circuit where services are not contracted to the Attorney General).

A CWLS Circuit Managing Attorney should be assigned to manage legal


services in each Judicial Circuit except for the circuits contracted to the
Attorney General or to a State Attorney (and due to the diminutive size and
subordinate organizational relationship with the 11th Judicial Circuit, the
16th Judicial Circuit should be managed by a Lead Attorney), reporting to
the Regional Managing Attorneys. Circuit Managing Attorneys in the
Northwest, Northeast, Central and SunCoast regions and 16th Circuit Lead
Attorney should be hired and supervised by Regional Managing Attorneys
with approval of the State Director. The Circuit Managing Attorneys in the
20th Judicial Circuit and that part of 12th Judicial Circuit not contracted to
the Attorney General should be hired and supervised by the State Director.

Regional Managing Attorneys and the two Circuit Managing Attorneys


should have an advisory relationship with the Regional Director and
Regional Legal Counsel and with contracted Managing Attorneys in the 17th,
13th, and a part of the 12th Judicial Circuit contracted to the Office of the
Attorney General, and the 6th Judicial Circuit contracted to the State
Attorneys office. Circuit Managing Attorneys should have an advisory
relationship with Circuit Directors.

The State Director should have an attorney-client advisory relationship with


the Family Safety Program Director on matters of administration, on legal
proceedings pertaining to dependency law, and for the development of a
training plan, with uniform standards, policies and procedures for CWLS.

The State Director should have an attorney-client advisory relationship with


the Director of the Florida Abuse Hotline.

The State Director should have a collaborative, advisory interrelationship


with the Regional Directors, General Counsel and Regional Legal Counsel
with respect to family safety law and policy, and all should work in close
communication and coordination, particularly with respect to litigation and
appellate matters pertaining to multiple practice areas and all matters of
statewide importance.

The State Training Director should develop and implement a statewide


training program for pre-service and in-service training and ongoing
professional development and recruitment of CWLS staff (and assistant
general counsels for cross-training purposes), and have an advisory
relationship with Regional Managing Attorneys and Circuit Managing
Attorneys.

The State Appellate Director should develop and implement a statewide


approach to juvenile dependency appellate practice, overseeing all appeals
in juvenile dependency proceedings. (Until circuit-based attorneys are fully
trained, the Department should continue to use the services of certified
appellate attorneys under contract with the Department to assist in
handling appellate cases.) The Appellate Director should direct decisions
pertaining to the filing of appeals and track and analyze all appellate
actions, with results of statewide importance disseminated on a timely
basis to all attorneys, protective investigators, program managers, case
managers and other relevant stakeholders. Legal decisions should be

Appendix F

analyzed and evaluated to propose possible changes in operations,


procedures or law. A proposed CWLS appeals policy is found in Appendix
H.

The Senior Managing Attorney for Case Tracking and Quality Assurance
should oversee the case tracking system, provide substantive oversight for
development of the FSFN legal component, and provide technical assistance
pertaining to juvenile dependency law.

The CWLS Budget and Administration Manager should be responsible for


the overall administration and management of fiscal resources for
Department attorneys and support staff and for the collection, analysis and
management of legal costs and litigation expenses statewide. This position
should work collaboratively with the State Director to frame requests for
necessary funding from the legislature, federal government, or other
revenue sources to maximize the resources available to Child Welfare Legal
Services.

Standards of Practice for Child Welfare Legal Services

Attorneys must be held to the highest standards of professionalism and


ethics.
Attorneys must understand their role with respect to the
Community Partners with whom the Department contracts. The attorneys
legal actions must support and be supported by caseworker opinions.

The American Bar Association August 2004 Standards of Practice for


Lawyers Representing Child Welfare Agencies should be considered a
guide in establishing Department practice standards.

Attorneys should be familiar with law changes as they are enacted and
should be proactive in educating judges and quasi-judicial officers.

Recent statutory revisions, contained in Senate Bill 1088, may have a


significant impact on the effective operation of dependency courts and
could cause delays in achieving permanency. The State Director should
work in collaboration with the courts and the special counsels for parents
to make recommendations with a goal of assuring that permanency for
children is not unduly delayed and that fundamental fairness for parents is
not compromised.

The Workgroup strongly supports each judicial circuits adoption of a


unified family court approach. The Supreme Court Committee on Families
and Children in the Court is currently considering modifying the rules so
that dependency cases will be the lead cases in unified family court. The
State CWLS Director and the Director of CWLS Training should work with
the judiciary at the circuit level on issues of common concern, including:
o Supporting local dependency court improvement processes;
o Joint training and pilot projects;
o Communicating to all parties the importance of avoiding ex-parte
communications, maintaining proper decorum, and respecting the
formality and dignity in the proceedings; and
o Enforcing the strict use of rules of procedure, rules of evidence, and
ethics.

Appendix F

Child Welfare Legal Services Relationship with Protective Investigators and


Community-Based Care Providers
A successful community-based system of care requires an effective partnership between
the Department, its lead agencies, and providers, in all areas, including legal services.
The Department has retained responsibility for legal services, and the client of CWLS
attorneys is the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families.
The Workgroup offers the following recommendations to improve the attorney-client
relationship, the relationship with Community Partners, and the decision-making
processes:
An improved relationship with Community Partners requires enhanced
communication, coordination and cooperation between Child Welfare Legal
Services and Providers.
Roles, responsibilities and relationships must be clearly delineated in light
of the Departments decision to retain responsibility for legal services and
in reflecting that the client is the State of Florida, Department of Children
and Families.

Providers have been contracted to make safety decisions regarding the


child in all aspects of the dependency case. The attorneys should inform
the Provider of any concerns they may have regarding those safety
decisions and should appropriately document those concerns.

CWLS attorneys should consider the professional judgment of


caseworkers, and caseworkers should adhere to the legal opinions of
attorneys.

Attorneys and Providers should be encouraged to provide productive


feedback about their respective performance, with a goal towards positive
improvements.

A conflict resolution process should be developed with these key principles:


1) the attorney and caseworker should start with a face-to-face meeting to
try to resolve the conflict; 2) if there is no resolution, the system should
delineate how each should go up their respective chains of command; and
3) the system should set out examples of issues that are legal and those
that are social work decisions, understanding that most issues will need to
be resolved jointly.
The system should incorporate timeframes for
resolution so as not to delay a case.

Communication should focus on a productive and professional exchange


of essential information. E-mail should not be used to replace a telephone
call or in-person meetings.

CWLS attorneys should be co-located with or near Community Partners.


Where this is not feasible, the attorneys should maintain regular office
hours at Community Partners offices and be generally available to meet
with providers.

Attorneys should be notified of all critical staffings from the inception of


the case through permanency, and should attend all staffings pertaining to

Appendix F

removal, determination of services, case planning conferences, changes of


placement, reunification, and permanency determinations.

Attorneys should speak directly with the caseworker sufficiently prior to


each hearing to be fully informed of the providers recommendations and
to effectively advocate the Departments position in court.

CWLS attorneys should be available outside normal work hours to provide


legal information and advice during emergencies.

The CWLS Operating Procedure (No. 175-15) should be revised and


updated.
Consideration should be given to co-locating at least one protective
investigator with CWLS attorneys.

Relationships with Community Partners will improve when Child Welfare Legal
Services consistently provides high quality legal services.
The State CWLS Director should develop and enforce Practice and
Performance Standards necessary to ensure that legal services be
delivered only by those attorneys who demonstrate the knowledge, skills
and abilities necessary to competently discharge the duties of a CWLS
attorney.

CWLS attorneys should present a positive image of the Department and its
contracted Providers in and outside the courtroom, and at community
functions and meetings. The attorney should be respectful of caseworkers
and all other participants in the courtroom and in the presence of other
professionals and parties in a case.

Attorneys should be trained to, and should, take the lead in developing a
case theory and strategy to follow at hearings and any negotiations, and
should take steps to assure that stakeholders comply with the law and all
court orders.

Improved Provider contract development and contract management should


facilitate improvement in attorney performance and accountability.
A model contract should be developed, with standard, consistent terms and
conditions for the relationship between CWLS attorneys, lead agencies, and
the Providers. Any such contract should clearly state that the client of
CWLS attorneys is the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families,
and should reference performance standards, quality assurance systems, a
conflict resolution system, and accountability for the delivery of legal
services. Some flexibility must be provided to meet the needs of the
particular local community.

A model agreement is also needed to clarify the relationships between the


attorneys, the protective investigators, and the case managers in each
region or circuit. A model agreement should be developed for statewide
application, and implemented in each locality, including in the regions and
circuits where CWLS and/or protective investigations are partially
outsourced. In addition to the lead agencies, subcontracting providers
should sign on to the working agreements.

Appendix F

Attorneys accountability and performance should be directly linked with


the performance outcomes that they have in common with the Providers,
since they are critically vital to the success (or lack thereof) of Providers.
Performance-based evaluations of attorneys should be conducted
routinely, with consequences for failure to perform in accordance with
Performance Standards.

The CWLS attorneys should be the only attorneys representing the position
of the State in dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings.
Lawyers employed by the Provider should not appear in court, except to
represent the Provider or an employee of the Provider on rules to show
cause hearings or related proceedings pertaining to the Providers
performance.

Ex-parte communications with judges are prohibited. Provider contracts


should be modified to prohibit any ex-parte communications by any party
with judges.

Provider contracts should afford the lead agency the right to request that
the Department replace an attorney when that attorney consistently fails to
perform.

The Community Partners have an obligation and right to provide meaningful


input into the legal services being delivered by the Department on behalf of
the children for which they are responsible.

A dependency court improvement pilot program should be considered, with an


objective to create an innovative, high quality system for delivery of legal
services, using best practices in a unified family court setting.
The Workgroup recommends that the State CWLS Director should take the
lead in development of a pilot project to showcase a system for delivery of
legal services on an innovative and best practices model.

Working in close cooperation with the lead agency, counsel for parents, the
Guardian ad Litem program and private pro bono attorneys, university law
clinics in one or two identified circuits should be asked for their expertise
on a volunteer basis, and should be encouraged to help design and
implement an innovative program. Participants will look at all facets of the
judicial process to create a better, more efficient process, using national
best practices.

A model courtroom should be established for the pilot; the courtroom


should be a formal courtroom that allows for the dignity of families and
participants. Video conferencing should be explored where possible.

The pilot should be a unified family court model, using national best
practices.

Legal Support Staff Needs


In the CWLS function, the LOMAS review in July 2004 found (s)upport staffing levels
far below national norms by any measure. These impossibly high caseloads result in
expensive attorney time spent on support level duties as a last resort to getting the work

Appendix F

out. There is a lack of uniformity in support personnel positions, both as to number


and type of positions, from one office to another. The Workgroup found no meaningful
improvement in staffing levels since the LOMAS report was issued. In at least one large
district (Miami-Dade County), there are no support staff positions allocated to the District
Legal Counsel function. In that location and in others around the state, the void in legal
support staff is filled by borrowing support staff from other program functions.
In addition to insufficient legal support staff positions, the Workgroup has observed that
the Departments paralegal staff may generally not be sufficiently skilled to assume
higher levels of responsibility so as to free attorneys for legal work. It appears that
compensation for Department paralegals is lower than administrative secretaries,
despite the fact that paralegal positions require specialized training and a greater
amount of experience. The Departments compensation of paralegal staff may contribute
to the difficulty in attracting sufficiently trained and skilled paralegals. Proper utilization
and adequate paralegal staffing levels would help to offset attorneys high caseloads and
allow attorneys to offload some of their rote legal work.
The Workgroup recommends:
Support staff levels need to be increased to appropriate levels for legal
work. The staff ratios suggested by LOMAS should be used as a guide.

The disparity in paralegal pay and minimal use of paralegals should be


analyzed with an eye toward reclassifying support positions and upgrading
the quality and type of work that can be undertaken by them.

The CWLS training plan should contain a component specifically for legal
support staff.

Legal Resources and Tools for Child Welfare Legal Services


Attorneys need to have the knowledge and communication resources necessary for
them to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
The Workgroup recommends:
All attorneys and legal support staff should have functional computer
equipment and software that is updated and replaced on a regular basis;
they should be provided with initial technical training and ongoing technical
assistance.

Every attorney must have access to essential legal research tools, such as
Westlaw for research and a copy of the Juvenile Law and Practice Handbook.

The State CWLS Director and the State Training Director should develop an
essential reference guide for attorneys and support staff. There should also
be a functioning website that is accessible by all CWLS attorneys and staff.
Designated staff should be responsible for ensuring the materials are current.

Each CWLS office should have the latest edition of the following reference
materials: Ehrhardt's Florida Evidence, Florida Rules of Court, State &
Federal,
Florida Juvenile Law and Practice,
Florida
Rules
of Juvenile Procedure,
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders
DSM-IV-TR,
Dorland's
Illustrated
Medical
Dictionary,

Appendix F

APSAC Handbook
on
Child
Maltreatment,
Handbook on Questioning Children: A Linguistic Perspective,
Trial
Techniques, and Florida Evidence Code Trial Guide.

Legal Case Tracking and Case Management


The Office of the General Counsel and Child Welfare Legal Services each need an
efficient and accurate case tracking and management system with growth capacity and
adequate and accessible information technology support. Attorneys and support staff
should be adequately trained to use an automated case tracking and management
system. In addition, an attorney should not act as the sole technical support for a
computer system.
General Counsel case tracking/management
An automated case tracking and management system is an essential tool for any law
firm and for lawyer productivity, providing necessary quality assurance and quality
management information. At present, an automated case tracking and management
system is in place for Child Welfare Legal Services. No such system exists for the
General Counsel/District Legal Counsel function.
The Workgroup recommends:
The General Counsels proposal for a Case/Matter Management system
should be adopted and implemented. This would permit the Department to
track and manage litigation as well as other non-legal matters in which the
Department is involved. A system would also provide case management
for the Departments risk management litigation, administrative litigation,
and agency clerk function.

The costs and benefits of purchasing the system from an outside vendor,
as suggested by the General Counsel, should be evaluated and compared
with the costs, feasibility and potential benefits of having a system built
internally, or adapting a case tracking system currently in use by the legal
department of another agency and modifying it through the resources of
the Departments Rapid Application Development team to suit the unique
needs of the Departments General Counsels Office.

A contracts tickler system should be developed for the Office of the


General Counsel. Consideration should be given to adding a legal
component to the current Contracts Management Database.

Child Welfare Legal Services case tracking/management


CWLS has an automated case tracking and management system, which was
implemented in 2005. The system was adapted from the system utilized in the Office of
the Attorney General and is used to track and monitor all CWLS cases. The current
system does not track or integrate with the case tracking systems in use in the circuits in
which CWLS is managed by the Attorney General or the State Attorney. The case
tracking system was spearheaded and is managed by John Traphofner, an attorney with
juvenile dependency law expertise and with a good working knowledge of information
technology.

Appendix F

The current system is reaching its maximum capacity and will soon be obsolete. The
system needs to be shared with all contracted partners in the dependency process, and
the system is not up to the task. In 2007, in conjunction with the development of Family
Safe Families Network (FSFN), the Department made the decision to transition away
from the Lotus Notes-based system and replace it with a legal component of FSFN.
Once developed, CWLS information will be transferred to the FSFN system.
The development of the FSFN legal component began on August 20, 2007, and is
expected to take approximately 11 weeks. Mr. Traphofner and two other Department
attorneys with experience in dependency law are participating in the development
sessions, and input is also being received from the Attorney General, State Attorney,
and counsel for Community Partners. The goal is to deploy the legal module of FSFN to
replace the current case tracking and management system in June 2008.
The Workgroup recommends:
The case tracking and quality assurance program should be managed by a
statewide senior managing attorney with expertise in dependency law and
a working knowledge of information technology systems, under the
direction of the State CWLS Director.

As the Department moves from the current legal case tracking system to
the legal component of Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN), all due
diligence must be exercised so as not to lose any ground. The current
system should be used as the basis for the development of requirements
for the legal module, and the functionality of the new system must be at or
above the standard of the current case tracking system.

The Department should seek and include input from lead agencies and
providers as the new case tracking system is developed. At a minimum, the
system should have the capacity to advise Community Partners whether
filing deadlines are met.

Adverse rulings, contempt and threats of contempt, missing children and


all other matters requiring immediate follow-up and notice to supervisors
should all be included in the requirements of the legal module of the
Florida Safe Families Network. The system should require input of actions
no longer than five days from the action and should require input of the
date, the action, and the outcome.

To enable the Department to properly monitor the legal work being


performed on its behalf, the State CWLS Director and the Attorney
Generals Childrens Legal Services and the State Attorneys Child Welfare
Legal Service contracted providers should work together to establish a
plan for integrating the data from their respective case tracking systems
within the current case tracking system,

Child Welfare Legal Services Quality Assurance


In OPPAGAs 2004 and 2005 review, it was noted that the Department lacked a quality
assurance monitoring program to help ensure the quality of legal representation by
attorneys.

Appendix F

The Secretary has directed the Departments Family Safety Program Office to adopt a
regional model for Quality Assurance / Quality Improvement with a focus on service
delivery, with a preliminary report due to the Secretary on September 30, 2007. The
Quality Assurance Workgroup is charged with setting forth the requirements for a clear
identification of issues requiring action, communication of the issues to appropriate
managers, analysis of underlying causes, corrective action planning, implementation and
status reporting.
Quality assurance reviews, both case specific and semi-or annually produced in the
past, have not traditionally included a deliberate assessment of legal services
consultation and representation on cases analyzed.
The Workgroup recommends:
Quality Assurance / Quality Improvement reviews should systematically
include the review and assessment of legal services activities, to include:
o Manner and extent of which legal counsel confers with investigators
and case workers in preparing for court
o Engagement of legal services consultation in removal decisions
o Ensuring proper notice of hearings
o Assisting in the development of effective witness presentation skills
o Review of reports and documents prepared and submitted to the court
for statutory and rule compliance
o Quality of ongoing communication and ready-availability of legal
services to non-law trained child welfare professionals

The State Director should develop a plan for the effective utilization of the
existing and future case management tracking system for quality
assurance and quality management purposes.

The Departments Family Safety Program Office is also working at this time
in consultation with the Youth Law Center to develop a framework for
Critical Few Standards to Drive Improved Outcomes for Implementation.
The Legal Workgroup supports this collaboration and recommends that the
measures be incorporated into the professional development of legal
services providers to advance the Quality Assurance goals to be reached.

Legal Budget Process


The Workgroup recommends:
In order to develop and implement a professional plan for delivery of
quality legal services, it is essential that the Department compile and
maintain accurate financial and related information pertaining to the
delivery of legal services. This would include the total number of positions
(including full-time, part-time, OPS and contracted positions), salaries,
where positions are located, operating costs, and legal expenses and
litigation costs. Appendix I details the Departments total statewide legal
budget.

It is preferable to have a statewide legal budget, aggregating the General


Counsel and Regional Legal Counsel positions and budget into one entity,
managed under the direction of the General Counsel.

Appendix F

A unified budget for CWLS should be strongly considered. The Workgroup


recommends that the current CWLS budget (FY2007-2008) should continue
to be part of the Family Safety budget allocated among the five Regional
budgets, and that advisory budget oversight authority be given to the State
CWLS Director. During this fiscal year, all positions and operating costs
associated with CWLS, including all legal expenses and litigation costs,
should be carefully tracked to aid in the development of an adequate future
budget. The Workgroup further recommends that the long-term CWLS
budget (FY2008-2009, and thereafter) should remain part of the Family
Safety budget and be aggregated and managed by the State CWLS
Director.

CWLS legal costs and litigation expenses must be defined, tracked and
managed in future years legal budgets.

CWLS legal costs and litigation expenses are those costs incurred by
attorneys and witnesses for the Department in dependency matters that are
directly related to a particular legal case, are not part of general overhead
in maintaining the legal office, and would not be incurred were the litigation
not occurring. Litigation expenses typically include: filing fees, postal and
courier costs (DHL, Fed Ex, etc.), Sheriff or private process server fee for
service of process, certified copies of documents (e.g., injunctions,
adjudicatory orders, criminal judgments, medical records), certified copies
of depositions and hearing transcripts, cost of publication for service of
process, expert witness fees and associated travel expenses and costs for
litigation testimony (deposition or trial), costs of translation of witness
testimony, depositions, and courtroom transcripts, travel expenses for lay
witnesses,
videography / VTC costs for remote depositions and
proceedings, court reporter fees for attendance at deposition or trial, court
reporter fees for transcription of deposition or trial, and costs of creating
specialized exhibits and demonstrative evidence.

Community-based care contracts should be modified to include a uniform


definition of legal costs and litigation expenses and should specifically
state which costs and expenses are paid by lead agency or provider and
which are paid by the Department. Funding should follow responsibilities,
bearing in mind that the Department, as the client, should retain control
and decision-making authority over its legal expenses and litigation costs.

Contingency planning is needed for large, high profile legal cases


undertaken by the Department.

Child Welfare Legal Services Training and Professional Development


Training
The cornerstone of long-term improvement in the performance of Child Welfare Legal
Services attorneys is a Training Plan. At the present time, the Department allocates no
funding earmarked for the specialized training of its attorneys and legal staff. The
Workgroup recommends that CWLS be given earmarked training funds from the Child
Welfare Training Trust Fund. Effective training will require participation by the Training
Director and Appellate Director, as well as the State CWLS Director.

Appendix F

The proposed Child Welfare Legal Services Training Plan should be implemented in
harmony with the existing pre-service Child Welfare training from the Office of Family
Safety. (See Appendix J for the Office of Family Safety In-service Plan.)
The Workgroup recommends that the Department take a business-like approach
to developing and implementing a CWLS training plan under the direction of a
State Training Director, with the goal of achieving the highest standard of legal
practice. The Workgroup recommends three major categories for action:
Curriculum. The plan must use as a guide the established pre-service
curriculum, to train both substantive knowledge and necessary legal skills.
Highest priority should be placed on attorneys knowledge of the rules of
evidence, rules of procedure, code of ethics, and basic trial skills. See
Appendix K for suggested enhancements to the legal curriculum.
Teaching Methods. As the budget permits, and as the individual development
plans provide, staff should be able to access training at all levels, including
national. To conserve fiscal resources, curriculum topics that are adaptable to
web-based transmission should be developed on-line. Appropriate curriculum
topics should be developed in concert with the office of the Guardian ad Litem,
and any other groups providing appropriate content to other advocates within
the child welfare system.
Curriculum Implementation. Once a training plan is implemented, all new
attorneys would be expected to complete basic training within a specified
period of time. Regional management teams must assist with implementation
and delivery of the training plan, in their supervisory functions, and as a
component of their own professional development.
Professional Development
CWLS staff should be proactive in educating the Court as changes in the
law, and in policy, come into effect.

Cross-training should be encouraged as additional, on-going professional


development for and between the District Legal Counsels and Child
Welfare Legal Services, creating a career path and allowing for succession
planning. The Office of the General Counsel and Regional Legal Counsel
should be provided the opportunity for cross-training, and Regional Legal
Counsels should be encouraged to sit as second chair in high profile
dependency termination of parental rights trials. The Department should
develop a career path for all attorneys that includes formal and informal
training methods, cross-training, and ongoing professional development.

The Department should encourage legal specializations in the areas of 1)


appellate practice, 2) trial practice, particularly termination of parental
rights trials, and 3) supervision and management. Specialized training
should be tailored to assist attorneys in developing career paths in these
areas of specialization. The Department should consider adopting the
techniques and curricula for NITA trial skills training, Florida State
University Law School trial technique training (provided by Judge Nikki
Ann Clark), a train-the-trainer model, or Lawyers for Children America.

CWLS attorneys should serve on Florida Bar committees and participate in


other Bar activities and should seek other opportunities for community

Appendix F

leadership and
Department.

professional

development, within

and

outside

the

Child Welfare Training

Attorneys should be formally trained in child welfare practices, but the


lawyers curriculum should differ from that of other child welfare
professionals.

The legal component of the required child welfare training should be


reviewed for legal sufficiency by Child Welfare Legal Services attorneys
and should be taught by attorneys.

The requirements for certification of trainers should be interpreted by rule


to provide that certification be automatically granted to attorneys who are
admitted to the Florida Bar and have demonstrated expertise in the area of
child welfare.

The Providers may request that Department attorneys present basic legal
training for caseworkers.

Recruitment and Retention


Attorney Recruitment
The Departments efforts at attorney recruitment currently are more focused for CWLS
than for the General Counsel function for various reasons. There are hundreds more
attorney positions for CWLS and, thus, more opportunity for vacant positions. New
graduates often do not meet the minimum qualifications of two years of experience for
the Senior Attorney positions that support the General Counsel/District Legal Counsel,
while there are junior attorney positions available within CWLS for which new graduates
may qualify.
The Departments current recruitment efforts center on Floridas law schools.
Department lawyers visit the law schools, with one attorney assigned to each school. In
addition, the General Counsel and an Assistant General Counsel maintain contact,
participating in hosted interviews and individual lunch meetings at the law schools. The
General Counsels office also posts jobs on law school websites and runs
advertisements in the Florida Bar news.
The Workgroup recommends:
The quality of the legal work performed by attorneys is directly related to
the caliber of attorneys the Department is able to attract. Failure to raise
compensation levels to those of other governmental legal salaries will
continue to be an obstacle to attracting and retaining the number of quality
attorneys that the Department needs. Failure to increase the salary
structure will result in one of two scenarios: either only the most dedicated,
those willing to make personal financial sacrifices will remain with the
Department, or only those attorneys who are unable to attain other
positions will come to the Department.

The Department should analyze the salaries of attorneys and protective


investigators relative to the respective education requirements, and consider

Appendix F

making upward pay adjustments for attorneys to eliminate inequities,


recognizing the far more extensive education requirements needed for the
practice of law.

The Department must also consider additional, out of the box, means of
attracting the quality of attorneys that it needs. Certain programs other
than direct monetary payments could include:
o A tuition forgiveness program with as many law schools as
possible; a method whereby, after each 3 or 5 years with the
Department, the State could make a contribution to the States
prepaid college tuition program
o Senior Management Service classification for all Department attorneys
o Short (1-3) month sabbaticals or alternate assignments after every 5
years of front line service.

Departmental leadership, including the General Counsel and the State


CWLS Director, should actively visit the trial and appellate courts, law
school deans, leaders of private law firms, and leaders of private sector
legal departments to work in partnership with the Department to identify
candidates to work for the Department.

Attorney Retention
A Performance Path to Excellence program should be established to
ensure appropriate compensation increases for attorneys, similar to the
increases afforded the Departments protective investigators.

Implementation of the proposed Training Plan will improve attorneys


knowledge and professionalism, and will build a career path for the
Departments attorneys, a critical component of a plan for the retention of
lawyers and paraprofessionals.

Funding Recommended Improvements


The Workgroup recognizes that this Report includes some recommended
improvements that cannot be implemented within the short run or within the
existing budget, and that few can be implemented if the existing legal budgets are
reduced. However, the Workgroup believes that it is our duty to report our
findings and recommendations based on what we believe is necessary to effect
meaningful and necessary improvements to the Departments delivery of legal
services.
The Workgroup respectfully urges the Department to refrain from reducing
positions in General Counsel or Child Welfare Legal Services units, where those
positions are currently filled or hiring for them is in process. When programmatic
budgets and positions are cut to the extent that the quality of performance
suffers, the amount of work for the legal function will increase rather than
decrease. Position cuts in the legal function in that environment can contribute
to the decline in services and operation of the Department.
The Workgroup recommends:
Legislative Budget Requests for increased funding of the Departments
legal services for FY2008-2009 and subsequent years should reflect an

Appendix F

overall business plan for the delivery of legal services by a statewide law
firm. Any requests for additional monies must be tied to systemic
improvements in direct client services and must provide for full
accountability and measurable performance objectives.

Further, to the extent appropriate, future legislative budget requests for


legal services should be developed in conjunction with recommendations
from the Task Force on Child Protection to improve accountability and
safety.

The Workgroup is concerned about the dangers of cutting funding for legal
services that could have a direct or indirect detrimental impact on at-risk
children and their families. We respectfully urge the Department and the
legislature to exercise extreme prudence in deciding what to cut, and that
the recommendations contained in this Report be considered for adoption,
even where additional funding may be necessary.

The Workgroup recommends the Department consider allocating


additional funds, or seeking additional funding, directed at the following:
Contracted Services, to fund the increased role and responsibility of
attorneys in the review of contracts and in the procurement and negotiation
phases. In the short term, the Department may need to add or re-assign
attorney positions. In the long term, additional attorney positions should be
funded in the contracts area, especially to perform the necessary legal work
related to contracts, particularly contracts with Community Based Care
agencies and other contracted providers.
CWLS Training Plan, to fund training costs and a Director position, to
oversee the development of materials and implementation of the plan for
lawyer-specific training, to supplement the Family Safety offices (nonattorney specific) child welfare in-service training plan.
Support Staff, to fund additional legal support staff positions, reclassify and
upgrade existing support staff positions, and add capacity for budgetary and
administrative oversight for the General Counsel and Child Welfare Legal
Service functions.
Attorney Performance Pay and Increase in Child Welfare Legal Services
attorney positions, to fund a proposed performance pay program for Child
Welfare Legal Services attorneys and for General Counsel/Regional Counsel
attorneys, similar to the Family Safety Programs Performance Path to
Excellence program, and aid in the recruitment of high quality attorneys, and
to fund additional CWLS attorney positions.
General Counsel Case tracking system, to fund the purchase or
construction of a case tracking system for the General Counsel and Regional
Legal Counsel function.

Appendix L to this Report include the Legislative Budget Request for the 20082009 fiscal year, submitted by the General Counsels office, which address the
foregoing issues as well as several other issues of concern to the General
Counsels office. Also attached as Appendix M is the Legislative Budget Request
for the 2008-2009 fiscal year, submitted by the Family Safety Program Office to
fund in-service training, which if approved, could be apportioned to include
earmarked funding for the proposed Child Welfare Legal Services Training Plan.

Appendix F

Future Tasks
During its review, the Workgroup identified several tasks which should occur during
implementation of these recommendations, including, without limitation:

Compile and maintain complete and accurate information about current legal
positions, salary, location, funding source, and position status (FTE, OPS,
contract)

Compile and maintain complete and accurate aggregated information about the
total statewide cost of legal services provided by: a) General Counsels office, b)
District/Regional Legal Counsels offices, and c) Child Welfare Legal Services

Analyze and make recommendations for attorney and support position


distribution to Regional Legal Counsel offices and to CWLS Regional and Circuit
Managing Attorneys offices

Analyze, reconcile and consider reallocation of attorneys and support staff who
perform crossover Child Welfare Legal Services and Regional Legal Counsel
work, i.e. assigned to one function and dedicate some of their time performing
work in the other function (estimates of crossover duties and percentages of time
are attached in Appendix B)

Reassign relevant General Counsel legal staff to CWLS and reassign/redistribute


duties consistent with organizational chart; recruit, select and hire attorneys and
support staff to fill General Counsel vacancies

Recruit, select and hire Regional Legal Counsels

Select and hire CWLS Regional Managing Attorneys and Circuit Managing
Attorneys

Recruit, select and hire CWLS Director of Training, CWLS Director of Appeals,
and CWLS Budget and Administration manager

Reassign (and if necessary reclassify) CWLS Managing Attorney for Case


Tracking/Quality Assurance (existing position) from General Counsel to CWLS

Review and rewrite all attorney position descriptions to reflect actual current
duties and scope of work (should be periodically reviewed and kept up to date)

Define appropriate duties for paralegal/support staff, create position descriptions,


and reclassify existing positions

Rewrite operating procedures pertaining to CWLS function

Review and modify Community-based care template contract and other template
or model contracts for legal sufficiency and appropriateness

Draft model working agreement between CWLS, Community Partners and


provider organizations, protective investigators

Monitor progress toward completion of FSFN legal module, and oversee smooth
transition of data from existing CWLS case management system

Develop and implement quality assurance action plan for CWLS

Appendix F

Explore options for building General Counsel Case tracking system using
Department resources; purchase or build General Counsel case tracking system

Review and revise contracting authority legal requirements

Review locations and leases of existing CWLS offices, to consider relocation of


attorneys in some venues to co-locate with Community Partners

Conclusion
In conclusion, the Department of Children and Families is committed to providing quality
services to Florida's most vulnerable populations. This Workgroup believes that this
recommended organizational framework for re-engineering the delivery of legal services,
both general legal services and Child Welfare Legal Services, coupled with an on-going
process of organizational review and quality enhancements, will enable the
Departments attorneys to assist in accomplishing the Secretarys Guiding Principles:
Integrity, Leadership, Transparency, Accountability, Community Partnerships, and an
Orientation to Action.
The Legal Workgroup is grateful to the Secretary for affording it the opportunity to
provide a statewide perspective on the importance of the Departments legal services
and the urgent need for improvement to the Departments legal representation. Should
the Secretary desire, each and every member of the Workgroup stands ready to
continue to assist the Departments leadership in refining and implementing the
necessary changes.

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix G:
Organizational Charts

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix H:
Child Protective Investigator and Child Protective Investigator
Educational Qualifications, Turnover, and Working Conditions
Status Report, October 1, 2015

Appendix H

Child Protective Investigator and Child


Protective Investigator Supervisor Educational
Qualifications, Turnover, and Working
Conditions Status Report
ANNUAL REPORT

Department of Children and Families


Office of Child Welfare
October 1, 2015

Mike Carroll

Rick Scott

Secretary

Governor

Appendix H

Contents
Purpose........................................................................................................................................................ 3
Background ................................................................................................................................................. 3
General Statutory Requirements ......................................................................................................... 3
Department of Children and Families and Sheriff Office Investigations ........................................ 3
Child Welfare Practice Model Transition ............................................................................................ 3
Child Protective Investigator Positions.................................................................................................... 4
Child Protective Investigator Minimum Qualifications, Base Pay and Position Descriptions ..... 4
Child Protective Investigative Position Classification and Vacancies ............................................ 6
Average Child Protective Investigator Caseloads and the Average Supervisor to Child Protective
Investigator Ratio ....................................................................................................................................... 7
Child Protective Investigator Caseload ............................................................................................... 7
Current Child Protective Investigator Workload ................................................................................ 9
Child Protective Investigators and Senior Child Protective Investigators being supervised by
Child Protective Investigator Supervisors - SES. ............................................................................ 10
Turnover ................................................................................................................................................ 10
Educational Levels and Background of Child Protective Investigative Staff ................................... 13
Statutory Requirements....................................................................................................................... 13
Educational Attainment of Employed Child Protective Investigative Staff ................................... 13
Department of Children and Families 2015 Annual Child Protection Investigative Survey Results
.................................................................................................................................................................... 15
Child Protection Investigation Survey Results ................................................................................. 15
Conclusions ............................................................................................................................................... 18

Appendix H

Purpose
The information provided within this report is designed to meet requirements contained within
section 402.402(3), Florida Statutes (F.S.), which requires the Florida Department of Children
and Families (Department) to provide a status report to the Governor and Legislature as to the
educational qualifications, turnover rates, and working conditions for the Departments child
protective investigators, child protective investigator supervisors and other child protective
investigative staff.
This report includes recent information related to the Departments full time equivalent (FTE)
child protective investigation positions within the areas of:

Child protective investigative minimum qualifications, base pay and position descriptions;
The distribution of child protective investigative positions across the six Department
Regions and allocation of child protective investigative positions across the four child
protective investigation class titles;
The percentage of vacant child protective investigative positions;
The monthly average number of new cases being assigned to all Child Protective
Investigator and Senior Child Protective Investigator positions;
The average number of Child Protective Investigators and Senior Child Protective
Investigators supervised by Child Protective Investigator Supervisor SES staff;
Turnover rate for all child protective investigative positions;
General educational information for all child protective investigative positions; and
Employee satisfaction, opinion and concerns survey results.

Background
General Statutory Requirements
Chapter 39, F.S. establishes requirements that Child Protective Investigators respond to and
make determinations as to the overall validity of allegations of child abuse, abandonment or
neglect. Child Protective Investigators are also required to assess the overall safety and wellbeing of children, initiate the removal of children (if needed) and assist in the linkage of families
to appropriate in-home services that are designed to help stabilize the family while helping to
improve the overall safety and well-being of the child.
Department of Children and Families and Sheriff Office Investigations
In support of these statutory requirements the Department currently conducts child protective
investigations in 61 of Floridas 67 counties. Sheriffs Offices perform child protective
investigations in the remaining six counties (Broward, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas,
and Seminole) under grant agreements with the Department. Unless otherwise specified, all
information contained within this report addresses Department child protective investigative
positions only.
Child Welfare Practice Model Transition
Over the last 2 years, the Department has transitioned its Child Welfare Practice to
emphasize the engagement and empowerment of parents and caregivers while helping to
ensure the overall safety and well-being of the child through the use of a uniform safety
decision-making methodology and standardized risk assessment tools. The Child Welfare

Appendix H

Practice Model allows for the creation of a standardized and comprehensive child protective
investigative environment by establishing a:

Common language for assessing child safety and well-being for both child protective
investigators and Community Based Care case managers;
Standardized framework by which all children are identified as being in a potentially
unsafe environment;
Common set of constructs that guide the development and maintenance of safety
intervention strategies for those children that are identified as being in an unsafe
environment; and
Common framework for the identification of potential child safety issues that can then
be integrated into the caregivers case plan so as to ensure that efforts are made to
address all of the core issues that are diminishing the caregivers ability to fully
protect the child.

The key to successful implementation of the Child Welfare Practice Model is to ensure that all of
Floridas child welfare professionals have the skills and supervisory support needed to properly
assess families and evaluate child safety issues through the consistent application of the Child
Welfare Practice Model and accompanying tools. The Child Welfare Practice Model has
required the Departments workforce to function differently as the states child welfare system
transitions away from a primarily incident driven safety assessment model to a model that
guides the Departments workforce to gather more information about children and family
dynamics, child and adult functioning and information on parenting styles and discipline
techniques.
Child Protective Investigator Positions
Child Protective Investigator Minimum Qualifications, Base Pay and Position
Descriptions
Current minimum qualifications for all child protective investigative positions require an applicant
for employment to:

Hold a current valid State of Florida drivers license;


Have completed a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university with a
preference given to degrees in social work, behavioral science, nursing or education;
Be in possession of a current Florida Child Protection certification for any senior or
supervisory child protective investigation position or in the case of a Child Protective
Investigator be able to successfully complete the Florida Child Protective Investigation
certification requirement within twelve months of being hired.

The Department has divided child protective investigative positions into four class titles. These
class titles and annual base salary for each of the classes are:

Child Protective Investigator-$39,600;


Senior Child Protective Investigator-$41,500;
Child Protective Investigator Field Support Supervisor-$46,900; and
Child Protective Investigator Supervisor SES- $49,200.

Appendix H

Educational Levels and Background of Child Protective Investigative Staff


Statutory Requirements
Subsection 402.402(1), F.S. directs the Department to recruit and hire persons qualified by their
education and experience to perform social work functions. Preference should be given to
individuals having a social work degree with a second level preference given to individuals with
a human service related degree with the goal of having 50 percent of its workforce having a
social work degree by 2019.3
Educational Attainment of Employed Child Protective Investigative Staff
As of August 24, 2015 a People First data extract indicated there were 1,538 active FTE child
protective investigative positions within the People First data system, of which 14 did not identify
the type of degree held; 1,258 were identified as having a bachelors degree; 260 were
identified as having a masters degree; and six were identified as having a doctorate degree.4
As of August 24, 2015, 235 of the 1,538 FTE child protective investigative staff listed in the
People First data set held a degree in social work (167 baccalaureate and 68 masters degrees)
for a total percentage of active FTE child protective investigative staff that currently hold a
degree in social work of 15.3 percent.5
An additional 505 child protective investigative staff held a baccalaureate or masters degree in
psychology, sociology, counseling, special education, education, human development, child
development, family development, marriage and family therapy, and nursing (436
baccalaureate, 68 masters degrees, and 1 doctorate degree) for a percentage of active FTE
child protective investigative staff that hold a secondary preferred degree of 33 percent.6
While the total percentage of child protective investigative staff that currently holds either a
baccalaureate or masters degree in social work is relatively low, it should be noted there are
areas within the state where a fairly high percentage of child protective investigative employees
already hold a degree in social work. For example, in the Northwest Region 55 child protective
investigative staff (47 bachelors and 8 masters) currently hold social work degrees and this total
accounts for 31 percent of the current Northwest Region FTE workforce, while the Central
Region follows with 14 percent of its workforce holding a social work degree, 67 total (42
bachelors and 25 masters).7
For a more detailed review of the education level and degree type of the 1,538 FTE child
protective investigative staff that were contained within the August 24, 2015 Peoples First data
extract, please see Table 9.

Chapter 402.402(1)(a)(b)&(c), Florida Statute (2014)

Source: Florida Department of Children and Families, HR-Public Reports, Position Funding Statewide 2015-06-01, as of

8/24/2015.
5

Source: Florida Department of Children and Families, HR-Public Reports, Position Funding Statewide 2015-06-01, as of
8/24/2015.
6
Source Florida Department of Children and Families, HR-Public Reports, Position Funding Statewide 2015-06-01, as of 8/24/2015.
7

Source: Florida Department of Children and Families, HR-Public Reports, Position Funding Statewide 2015-06-01, as of

8/24/2015.

Report: Dependency Roles Workgroup


April 2016

Appendix I:
Supporting Data