On April 11th, 2013, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott signed the “Quality Parenting for Children in Foster Care Act” into law. This law was created to ensure that ALL children in out of home care are entitled to participate in “age-appropriate” extracurricular, enrichment and social activities for the purposes of providing as “normal” a childhood as possible for children in foster care.
It also empowers caregivers to use a “reasonable and prudent parent standard” to determine what activities are appropriate for their foster children to participate in. The purpose of this guide is to provide caregivers with definitions of normalcy terms, what the law requires caregivers to consider when making normalcy decisions, additional questions to consider when making normalcy decisions and resources to help with the decision making process.
Age-Appropriate – Activities or items that are generally accepted as suitable for children of the same chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is based on the development of cognitive, emotions, physical, and behavioral capacity that is typical for an age or age group.
Caregiver – A person with whom the child is placed in out-of-home care, or a designated official for group care facilities licensed by the Department of Children and Families.
Normalcy– Normalcy is the right for ALL YOUTH in licensed out-of-home care the opportunity for normal growth and development; to include age- appropriate activities, responsibilities and life skills.
Normalcy Vs. Visitations Guidelines
Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard – The standard characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the child’s emotional and developmental growth, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in out-of-home care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
What the law says:
When using the reasonable and prudent parenting standard, each caregiver should consider the following:
*paraphrased from 39.4091(3)* For more information, click here.
Read key points of the Let Kids Be Kids Law.
Caregivers, professionals, and you may find the concept of normalcy confusing. Below are some common questions and answers. If you have a question you think should be added, please let us know by contacting Kids Central at 352-873-6332.
Why is Normalcy Important for me to know about?
Through normalcy, connections and stability are created allowing you to obtain and maintain valuable activities and experiences in your life.
Can I own or have a cellphone?
Your caregiver will make this decision based on your maturity, ability to be responsible, and other factors. Owning a cell phone is not a right, it’s a privilege.
Can I use social media?
Your caregiver will make this decision based on your maturity, ability to be responsible, and other factors. Use of online social networking sites to communicate with family and friends is a normal, everyday practice for most people in our modem society. Foster families and foster children are no exception. The department does not prohibit a foster family from posting images of their foster child on a social networking site, provided they do not disclose the child’s status as a foster child. If you choose to disclose your foster status, such disclosure is a matter of free speech which the department has no ability, desire, or right to control. The department strongly encourages any person posting a foster child’s image to an online social networking site to use privacy settings in a manner which will protect the best interests of the child. Visit this site for more information.
Can I get a job?
Your ability to work involves many factors. For example, can you get to work as scheduled, can you work and attend school successfully, and more. The decision to get a job should be made with the input of your caregiver. Child labor laws do not permit youth under 14 years old to in Florida. Children over 14 can work but not during school hours (unless other criteria is met). Children who are 14 years old can only work 15 hours per week. For specific hours that they can work visit Child Labor Laws. Children 15 to 18 can work 30 hours per week. For specific regulations, please visit Child Labor Laws.
Who can sign for my driver’s license?
The application of a youth under the age of 18 years for a driver’s license must be signed and verified before a person authorized to administer oaths by the father, mother, or guardian; for more information, visit this site. There is a new law in the works that may affect how youth get a driver license permit. The ability to learn how to drive is based on many factors which the caregiver will consider.
Can I spend the night at a friend’s house?
Yes. Your caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent parent standard in determining whether to give permission for you to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. A caregiver is not liable for harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard. For more information, visit here.
Can I ride with other youths or adults?
Yes. Using the reasonable and prudent parent standard, your caregiver can decide who you can ride with.