Today’s update has a lot of immigration stories in it. We will need to start thinking about how national immigration policies will affect kids and their families. Also, apparently Florida is an awful place to raise a family in — we should just start relocating everyone to Virginia.


Florida is the 10th worst state to raise a family in

Fear of deportation, hate crimes reportedly threaten mental health of young Californians. (from

14-year-old high school student reported missing from her foster home

Jacksonville State attorney creates special unit to fight human trafficking

Massachusetts Grandparents spent five years and $35k to keep grandchild out of foster care due to opioid addicted parent

Legislative Actions

NEW: HB 273: (Banning) Conversion Therapy

NEW: A bill filed in Texas would extend court jurisdiction over minors who are filing a petition for special immigrant juvenile status. Florida has had a similar provision since 2005.

NEW: Three ways Trump can make children safer


Bills on a committee agenda: Children Obtaining Driver Licenses (HB / SB), Juvenile Justice (SB)

Bills filed: Mandatory Retention (HB), Students Remaining on School Grounds During School Hours (SB / HB), Proceedings Involving Minors or Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (HB), Temporary Respite Care of a Child (SB), Public School Attendance Policies (HB), Conversion Therapy (HB)


The Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs is scheduled to meet Monday, January 23 at 4:00-6:00. Current noticed topics include SB 60 on foster children obtaining driver licenses, Evaluation of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Opioid Overdoses and Substance-exposed Newborns.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services is scheduled to meet Wednesday January 25 at 2:00-4:00. Current noticed topics include Overview of Base Budget for 2017-18, and Review of Local Funding Initiatives.

Trainings and Conferences


USCIS is conducting a training on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in West Palm Beach on January 24 9:30-11:00am. If you’re interested in going, contact Maryam Kassaee at Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach.

SAMHSA’s Division of Policy Innovation is putting on a webinar January 26 on Improving Health Outcomes for LGBTQI2-S Youth of Color, which will look at the health implications of identity intersectionality and trauma. Participants include Jerry Peterson of the Ruth Ellis Center, Jackie Malstron a Youth Engagement Specialist with the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and Laurin Mayeno, a cultural competency and inclusion expert.

Proposals for the GAL Program’s 2017 Disabilities Training Conference are due January 31.

Proposals for the 2017 Child Protection Summit are due February 15.

DCF Administrative Actions


DCF is currently reviewing its rules on Foster Care Licensing, Psychotropic Medication, Suitability Assessments, Child Care Standards, Alien Children, and the Adoption Reunion Registry.


Court Actions


News Service of Florida is reporting that the Florida Supreme Court has declined a challenge to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Expect the full story out tomorrow.

The Florida Supreme Court has been considering the question of the dependency of alien children since it accepted jurisdiction of O.I.C.L. on October 30, 2015 (which it dismissed as moot on September 22, 2016). The related appeal of E.P.N. is still pending — 1 year, 2 months, 19 days and counting.

SCOTUS turned down Indian Child Welfare Act challenge brought by foster parents of Choctaw girl.

Reading List

  •  Erika K. Wilson, Blurred Lines: Public School Reforms and the Privatization of Public Education, 51 Wash. U.J.L. & Pol’y 189 (2016)
  • Stella Burch Elias, The Perils and Possibilities of Refugee Federalism, 66 Am. U.L. Rev. 353 (2016)