Removal, Dependency and Permanency
St. Johns County children come into our care for many different reasons, the most common being Substance Abuse. Regardless of the conditions surrounding the situation though, the safety of the child is paramount. Generally the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Child Protection Investigator (CPI) makes the initial determination for removal and placement of a child by following the guidelines contained in Chapter 39 of the Florida State Statutes. If it has been determined that the child can safely remain in the home, with a relative, or with a family friend, then the child will most likely not enter the Foster Care System. A child who, as determined by the court, needs the protection of the state of Florida, may be adjudicated as “Dependent” by the court.
The Family Integrity Program receives our families from the Department of Children and Families and we work with the family from that day forward until permanency is reached. Every family, whether the child is placed in Foster Care (custody of the State) or not (Protective Services), is assigned to a Dependency Case Manager at the Family Integrity Program. A set of tasks for all parties in the family, including caregivers (Foster Parents also), is developed in order to meet the agreed upon "Goal" for the permanency of the child or children. These Tasks are collectively known as a "Case Plan." Chapter 39 states that the participants in the Case Plan are allowed one year from the date of removal to reach permanency for the child.