Independent Living Services Advisory Council

Universal OrlandoFlorida - City Walk

June 18, 2009

Draft Minutes

  1. Call to OrderJane Soltis
  1. Welcome and IntroductionsAdd list of attendees
  1. Announcements

Sandy Neidert of the Office of Court Improvement announced the Children in Court packet is available, as well as the Caregivers Guide to Dependency Court, which now includes a page dedicated to considerations for caring for older children.

Gerry Glynn provided an overview of the June 17 meeting involving stakeholders from Community-Based Care (CBC), ILSAC members, Department, child advocates, and former foster youth. The purpose of the meeting was to provide guidance to the Community-Based Care Lead Agencies to address budgetary shortfalls in the upcoming fiscal year. Although there are additional dollars available for the independent living program, it does not include the $3.3 million for the minimum wage increase and will still require the CBC to supplement funds. The only short-term resolution identified was to not fund the minimum wage increase this year, however, a long-term resolution was not identified. The group did however acknowledge there may be a potential need to redesign the program. The group discussed keeping the following in mind:

  • Fostering Connections – How will Fostering Connections IV-E Waiver affect services and funding related to Foster Connections legislation.
  • Population Growth – The number of recipients and young adults eligible to receive the RTI award continues to grow.
  • Funds for youth ages 13-17 – How are funds currently spent to serve youth ages 13-17.
  • Needs Assessment – Is there a need to revise the needs assessment?
  • Funding Priorities – There is no consensus on funding priorities for RTI, Aftercare and Transition.It is clear however that the criteria and guidelines for aftercare and transition funds are ambiguous and CBC's are requesting additional clarification.
  1. Discussion Regarding Aligning RTI with the Education System

As a follow up from our last meeting the ILSAC members had an in-depth discussion facilitated by Kent Berkley of JCYOI (Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative)

Kent Berkley led a discussion regarding the Road to Independence Program. Gay Frizzell provided a brief overview of the existing Independent Living Program framework guided by Chapter 409.1451, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 65C-31, Florida Administrative Code. The Road to Independence Award is based on the individual needs of a young adult and is calculated using the educational institution’s cost of attendance, which may be up to the federal minimum wage times 40 hours per week. Since there is less guidance for high school students, they typically are eligible for the highest award amount. The rational behind determination for high school students was that these youth do not have university support systems, as well as, their need for placement stability. If a youth turned 18 and wanted to remain in a foster home, they could do so by having the ability to pay the foster care board rate. Unfortunately, the placement stability of youth has not panned out as previously envisioned.

Glen Casel, Community Based Care of Seminole, agreed to head a data workgroup to research and ask the Department to review and have available for the next meeting. This information will be used for making future recommendations for any program or legislative reform. The group made initial recommendations for the data review to include placement type, Transitional Support Services expenditures, and data already available from the IL Checklist. All additional data collection recommendations are to be submitted to Glen Casel.

Considerations for program reform were discussed which will promote and support youth to achieve good outcomes, which includes self sufficiency, education, employment, and other issues. There is a need to evaluate the current structure by reviewing available data and identifying gaps in data, engaging youth in the review, the need to ask research questions, and create an analysis of findings. Suggestions for program reform included the need to have a program that is incentive based and driven by quality services and outcomes for transitioning youth to adulthood.

The council further acknowledged the need to identify short-term and long-term solutions for the current IL programs. Short-term solutions include advocating for increased funding and utilizing current funding flexibilities. Deborah Schroth volunteered to identify areas of flexibility for changing practice within existing legislative framework. The group discussed the possibility of creating a comprehensive legislative proposal, but there was not a consensus as to whether the ILSAC could accomplish this goal by September. Discussion regarding long-term solutions included the possibility of extending foster care to age 21 and whether there is additional funding available to Florida to do so through the federal Fostering Connections legislation.

As a result of budgetary shortfalls, the Council recognizes the need for statewide consistency among CBC’s and that CBC’s traditionally use other pots of money to meet IL funding shortfalls. To address these shortfalls, the ILSAC discussed the possibility of not funding the federal minimum wage increase, which does not appear to conflict with Florida Statute. Charlie Nelson moved to authorize Jane Soltis to write a letter to the Secretary Sheldon and the Florida Coalition for Children that we consider a delay in the federal minimum wage increase. The majority of the council was in agreement.

Further budgetary discussion unveiled additional information relating to the Community Based Care Lead Agencies’ ability to roll over funds and the possibility of surplus funds. Following the discussion, council members expressed concern for taking a vote on the federal minimum wage increase prior to gathering factual information on the roll forward funds. Members expressed a need for transparency of CBC funding and additional information on surplus funds. Glen Casel moved to have the ILSAC write a letter to the Department of Children and Familiesand Florida Coalition for Children expressing concern with timeliness and frequency of budget and spending planning process for IL and potential on impact for policy decision. We should be all working together to improve better outcomes for youth and young adults formerly in foster care. The council is concerned that they do not have all the information needed to adequately assess the whole picture. All present were in favor of the motion that Jane Soltis request roll forward funding information and that the interest of the ILSAC is to work on IL funding with both DCF and FCC.

DCF Updates

  1. Budget Update – Gerry Glynn summarized based on handouts from June 17 meeting. Phone connection not available to DCF in Tallahassee for prepared presentation.

Budget for FY 2008-0931,758,454


Decrease in Chafee (859,731) due to population decrease in FL

Restoration of Non-recurring 3,012,974

Base Funding 09-1029,310,737

ARRA Fund Shift35,038,009

  1. Butterworth Scholarship – Jane Soltis

There were 30 applicants for the Butterworth Endowment Scholarship, of which five applicants were selected. The selected applicants will be receiving between $1,000 and $2,500.

  1. Operation Full Employment – Lillian Lima

Lillian Lima provided an overview of the Operation Full Employment program throughout the state. Many employers have indicated they are more than willing to employ former foster youth, but the struggle is finding youth prepared to take advantage of the opportunities in a meaningful way.

  1. Critical Checklist – Gay Frizzell

The checklist is posted on the Department’s web site at:

CBC’s are encouraged to compare their data from 2007 to 2008 to determine areas of improvement or challenges. DCF is preparing statewide analysis of the data from the 2008 Checklist.

6. Committee Updates

a. Education-Mary Cagle/Bonnie Marmoor

The Interagency Agreement on Education was completed and is awaiting final signature. The agreement will be available to impact planning for upcoming school year. The final version will be disseminated to the council with the revised sentence identifying the reason DJJ was not involved with this agreement. The council will also look at including overview of as upcoming agenda item

b. QA/Outcomes-Eleese Davis/Diane Zambito

The Department’s Independent living Initiatives includethe Quality Assurance – Independent Living Review that is currently in progress. The Department is also working with Connected By 25 to provide training at the upcoming Statewide Services for Teens Meeting scheduled June 29-30 in Tampa.

c. Health Care-Chris Card

The Department will pursue a data request with Agency for Health Care Administration to determine actual services received versus number of children eligible.

d. Housing-Shannon Nazworth/Jane Soltis

Shannon Nazworth provided an update on affordable housing issues. SB 360 included a mandate for state and local housing authorities and agencies to work with the Department and Community Based Care Providers to work together to link youth leaving foster care with affordable housing. Affordable housing dollars on are on the chopping block but are being able carved out for extremely at risk populations.

g. Cross over youth Experiencing Trauma –Jack Ahearn

It is difficult to transition these youth because of the structured nature of the commitment program. There was discussion of a establishing a pilot with the use of judicial reviews to assist with this effort. Magistrate Jon Johnson will be consulted for information he may obtain at the cross over youth certification training.

Adjourned at 2:45 PM

Next meeting: August 14, 2009, Tampa Florida at the SunCoast Region DCF office at 9393 north Florida Ave.