Independent Living Services Advisory Council
DCF Suncoast Region Office
9393 North Florida Ave, Tampa, Florida33612
August 14, 2009
9:30 to 4:00
Call to Order- Jane Soltis
Welcome and Introductions-All
T. Workman-Florida Youth Shine – Number of Florida Chapters is increasing.
L. Lima-Operation Full Employment – Data shows 157 youth are participating in the program statewide, but anticipate further inquiries will show this number to be much higher.
D. Schroth-Tuition Waiver – A few agencies are reporting schools are not exempting young adults from tuition and fees once they reach age 23 or four years past their high school graduation. The Department and Board of Governor’s General Counsel’s Offices have differing interpretations of the time limitations set forth in s. 1009.25, F.S. Helen Lancashire (DOE) agreed to meet with her General Counsel’s Office to address this issue. Another recommended option was to reach out to the Attorney General to provide further guidance on this issue.
Budget Update and Roll Forward
Budget projections have not changed since the last meeting. The Department still anticipates a fund shift of approximately $6.4 million for the IL Program. Please see Budget Overview handout. The CBC Roll Forward projected amount is $35 million.DCFand FCF are developing a position statement on the roll forward funds to be presented to the Florida Coalition for Children CBC membership. To be proactive, they will be recommending a monitoring system be established to make sure there are standards and ongoing monitoring of those standards.
Issues that are to be addressed include:
- The roll forward funds ends after one year without legislation
- Roll forward funds may impact legislative decision making regarding
future funding without education of the public and legislators.
- There is statewide variation between CBC roll forward funds.
- There is a need for CBC’s tohave contingency funding to meet variable and unpredictableneeds for more intensive and
- Funding amounts were uncertain until later in the fiscal year leaving some CBCs with additional dollars at the end of the year.
- Some CBCs passed cuts to providers and some did not.
- There is still inequitable funding among CBCs.
The number of children in out-of-home care population is decreasing, but does not translate to fewer dollars being needed. These funds have been shifted to familypreservation and front end diversion services.
The Family Safety Program Office and Children’s Legal Services submitted a 2010 legislative proposal for DCF consideration. See the handout providing the draft legislative proposal. The proposal aims to clarify the Road to Independence program reinstatement requirements. As a result of a Youth SHINE letter to the Department, the Department issued a policy memo clarifying that there is no automatic one-year period to reinstate into the program. However, further statutory clarification is necessary.
Council members expressed their opinions that this clarification is much clearer. There is an only one time shot at reinstatement, so this allows the young adult to prove to themselves and the provider that they can succeed and not squander the one chance they have. However, the proposal may not clarify the requirements for a young adult attending high school or obtaining a GED since they cannot attend part-time. Discussion identified that this may not need legislative change but changes in rule making.
Scholarship recipients were notified and will be formally announced at the Dependency Summit. However, more media attention and program awareness is necessary to grow the scholarship again or it will only be a one-time event.
National Youth in Transition Data Base/Critical Checklist
The Independent Living Critical Checklist is online and running again with
The required security provisions. The Department will be reaching out to key stakeholders in discussing options for the development of the National Youth in Transition Database. The Department anticipates marrying the two systems to meet the federal requirements, but hopes to gather more than the “minimum or bottom line” federal requirements. Florida will likely be a pilot state for conducting surveys using the full version of the federal survey instrument, which is 88 questions for the baseline population and 99 questions for the follow-up population. Florida is committed to the NYTD plus version. Further determination will be needed as to how the federal survey instrument will be implemented in Florida. The Department will continue to involve the ILSAC in recommendations and decisions about implementation.
Gay Frizzell provided a handout that is a cross-walk of the current questions in the Independent Living Critical Checklist and National Youth in Transition Database survey instruments. Since there is no ability to change any of the Federal questions there will need to be some adaptation to the Critical Checklist to align the two instruments.
June IL Training
Over 85 case managers and Independent Living staff participated in the June 29-30 training conducted by the DCF and Connected by 25 Initiativein Tampa. Training topics included Effective and Measurable Education and Career Plans, Services and Resources to Youth with Disabilities, Permanency Planning for Teens, Transition Planning, and Measurable and Effective Life Skills Assessments and Training. Both days wrapped up with a question and answer session. The Department is compiling the questions received during the training into a “Frequently Asked Question” document for posting on The Center’s website. Connected by 25 Initiativeplans to build on the June 29-30 training at the Florida Coalition for Children Conference Independent Living Summit by giving providers time to discuss best practices and address further Independent Living questions. An invitation only luncheon reception with guest speaker, Gary Stangler of JCYOI will be sent to all ILSAC members who are encouraged to attend and provide support for this event.
The Interagency Agreement was signed and is available in the council packet along with the Educational Opportunities Guide created by Andrea Moore.
Andrea Latham (DOE) presented information on FACTS.org. 2006 legislation mandated that middle school students have a career and education plan (ePEP) before they reach the ninth grade. A live-cast training is scheduled September 16 and will be available to case management staff. Case managers will have access to the youth’s plans and this will take care of about 80% of the DCF educational requirements so the CBC doesn’t have to do it on their own. Additionally, each local area will have an education champion and the Department of Education will also be training guidance counselors and have training modules on their website for oversight teams.
There are concerns in Hillsborough County with the willingness to share informationfrom the school system to case managers and IL staff.
Kele Williams is preparing a memo for dissemination to address the FERPA confidentiality issue. The memo will identify the three ways to get education information pursuant to FERPA, which includes: 1) parental consent, 2) state acting as parent (no definitions limit the state from being a “parent”), and 3) court order.
Florida Youth SHINE sent a letter to the Secretary regarding concerns about the Independent Living Program. As a result, the Secretary initiated a three-phased special quality assurance review to address these concerns. Phase 1 of the quality assurance process has been completed and the draft report has been submitted for review and approval. This report does validate some of the Youth SHINE program’s concerns. Phase 1 looked at young adults ages 18 and older, phase 2 will look at youth age 17, and phase 3 will look at youth ages 13-16. Once approved that report will be shared with the ILSAC.
The Department is interested in including youth in the statewide review process. This has been a previous recommendation by the ILSAC. Youth would require training and support in this process so that they understand the scope of work and confidentiality in providingthe youth perspective of the quality of services in a given area.
A written report from Chris Card detailed a meeting primarily focusing on the eligibility and utilization of Medicaid services. They are working with the Department and ACHA to obtain data regarding additional data requested. Additional information should be available in the near future.
A discussion included issues regarding psychotropic medications was introduced by Jane Soltis. The Child Protection Task Force or Task Force for Fostering Success is awaiting the Gabriel Myers final report. The ILSAC council members raised some concerns in regards to inconsistent statewide practices and forms and difficulties in obtaining court orders. However, it is anticipated a more uniform process will be in place by the end of the month. It was also noted that the judiciary should be reviewing the treatment plans. Young people should be involved and understand the side effects of the medications. The judiciary should also be hearing from the young people. The proposed Judicial Review includes a question as to whether the youth is on psychotropic medications.
Members expressed concerns for incarcerated cross-over youth and who is tracking their medications. The Gabriel Myers report will cover foster youth but not necessarily cross-over youth. Some youth placed on medications post-incarceration may not be accurately reflected in Florida Safe Families Network.
Fostering Connections Federal LegislationWork Group
A group convened on July 27 to address the Fostering Connections Act of 2008. This act will allow states to opt to keep kids in foster care to the age 21, but it may not bring additional dollars and it may create more restrictions. The act will also allow states to opt into licensing kinship care providers, but it still unknown whether we will or will not get more money since Florida has the IV-E Waiver. The IV-E Waiver expires October 2011 and there is no mechanism at this point to renew or extend the waiver. Don Winstead is talking to the federal government to address this issue. See the meeting minutes hand out provided to ILSAC members.
During that same July 27 meeting issues relating to the Road to Independence Program were raised. Discussion included the program and support needs for at least three groups of 18 year olds aging out of care, which include young adults 1) who are on track and need minimal support, 2) turn 18 but have not completed high school, and 3) who need much more support. There are many considerations, including other benefit and supportive services, in relation to the Road to Independence Program. It was noted that some youth do not succeed despite the best intentions of the RTI subsidy and the data shows a marked drop off after one year of RTI support. There was a discussion about the need for legislative changes in any changes to the RTI Program and that a system needs to be designed that is thoughtful and deliberate and inclusive of all stakeholders so that any legislative changes design a system that makes the funding fit the kids instead of trying to make the kids fit the funding.
Upcoming statewide trainings include:
2009 DependencySummit (August 26-28, Orlando)
Florida Supportive HousingCoalitionConference (October 26 -27, Clearwater)
Florida Coalition for Children and Families Conference (October 12-14, Orlando)
Magistrate Jon Johnson attended a seven-day conference at Georgetown Institute on cross-over youth. Attendees will use the Georgetown results orient approach to go back to their local communities and create programs to assist cross-over youth over the next year or so. Magistrate Johnson’s project focuses on the development of a civil citation program to address issues that arise from possible criminal issues in group homes or foster family homes. The hope is to reduce the number of youth entering the juvenile justice system for behavior especially in group homes that results in arrest. He will continue to work with other states and existing civil citation programs in operation in Florida and report back to the ILSAC.
Development of Priority Recommendations for 2009 Annual Report
The annual report is due in December. Based on discussions, the following recommendations will likely include:
- Incentivize the Road to Independence Program
- Address housing and the need to work with realtors, HUD, ex: Florida Housing Finance and the need to identify a mechanism that will allow a voluntary program which pays the housing costs automatically to the landlord. Preliminary discussion about how to create a vendor system to pay vendors rent, transportation for kids in high school was discussed.
- Permanent Connections – Studies show those with permanent connections show better outcomes and is one of the highest predictors of success.
- Psychotropic meds – Anticipate more once the Gabriel Myers report is released.
- Crossover kids (Department and Department of Juvenile Justice)
- Youth voice in the quality assurance process
- IL – life skills, matrix of the options we have, competency based so not one sized fits all but an option of choices.
- How RTI cuts might look in the future year given the economic situation and the need to reevaluate and/or redesign the RTI program. With an increased number of youth accessing RTI and the economic downturn we will not be able to sustain this method of support as the only option.
- Emphasize the IL program doesn’t start at 17 but at 13.
- Healthcare, Medicaid eligibility and accessing services
- Adjourn at 3pm.
- Next Meeting – The October 8 meeting will be rescheduled in conjunction with the Florida Coalition for Children conference.