- Who decides where I live and how do they decide this?
- What happens in an MDT staffing?
- Who goes to the MDT staffing?
- What else are MDT staffings for?
- How long will I stay where I am placed?
- Will my placement be changed without me knowing?
- Will I change schools if my placement changes?
- What is in my case plan?
- Are there any other services that should be in my case plan?
- The Law
Who decides where I live and how do they decide this?
You should be placed quickly, but also in a home that meets your needs. There must be an assessment done to figure out what placement will be best for you when a judge decides it is not safe for you to return home. This assessment will happen in what is called a “multidisciplinary team” staffing (MDT). The people who attend these meetings should be your case manager, your family, any other adult connections you have, and most importantly—you!
When you are taken from your home, a placement should be found that is in your best interest. The Department must use this list when they are deciding where you can/should go with number 1 being the first option for placement and 7 being the last preferred option:
- A parent that you were not removed from or a parent that does not pose a safety risk to you
- Adoptive parent of your sibling
- Someone unrelated to you but with a close relationship to you
- Nonrelative caregiver that you do not know well or at all
- Licensed foster care
- Group home care
What happens in an MDT staffing?
The people involved in your life get together to discuss what placement is right for you. This should happen either before you are placed out of the home you were removed from or a few days after. The team must get all of the information about you that they know.
After the assessment is done, the entire team must consider all the information gathered about you and determine where the best place will be for you to live.
Who goes to the MDT staffing?
Anyone involved in your life can attend, including you. Family, friends, neighbors, someone from your school, or other people important in your life can also attend.
What else are MDT staffings for?
These meetings must be held every time a big decision is made in your life like a change in your placement or a change in your school.
How long will I stay where I am placed?
Your placement is not a permanent decision: the law requires your placement to be reviewed “as often as necessary”. Your voice is important, so if you are not happy where you are living, you should tell your case manager, your Guardian ad litem or attorney if you have one, and the judge. The Department must offer support to prevent disruption to your placement.
SCRAPPY TIP: You can tell the judge if there is a family member or another adult you want to live with.
Will my placement be changed without me knowing?
No. The Department must let you know if you are going to move. Unless it is an emergency situation, you will have at least 14 days notice of a change to your placement. If your placement is going to change, the Department will create slow transition to a new placement.
Will I change schools if my placement changes?
You have the right to remain in your school even if your placement changes. The Department must try to keep you at your same school when looking at a placement change unless for some reason it is not in your best interest to stay in the same school. Your voice is important so if you want to stay in your same school or change schools, you should tell your case manager, your Guardian ad litem or attorney if you have one, and the judge.
What is in my case plan?
Your case plan includes all information about you that will help those in charge of taking care of you. Here are some things that will be in your case plan:
- Names and addresses of your health, mental health, and school providers;
- Your grades, performance, and attendance in school;
- Your school records;
- A document stating you were placed as close as possible to your school;
- Your immunizations (vaccines);
- All medical history, including any known problems;
- Any medications you are currently taking;
- Any other medical or mental health information as well as any school information available.
- Information about the type of placement you will be living in;
- Information on the safety and appropriateness of your placement;
- A plan to make sure you get safe and proper care and services;
- Information on your parents’ visitation rights and obligations;
- The plan for sibling visitation if you have siblings and will be separated
Are there any other services that should be in my case plan?
If you are 13 years old or older, your case plan should have information on any programs and services the state has that would help you prepare for going from foster care to independent living. These are called “independent living services.” These services help you learn how to live on your own. Some examples are:
- Showing you how to open a bank account;
- Offering driving classes;
- Teaching you how to manage money;
- Showing you how to cook, clean, do laundry, and other household chores
Fla Stat. Sec 39. 401, 39.4021, 39.4022, 39.4023, 39.523, 39.6012