A Florida family assistant who helps young children by watching TV and playing video games could lose her job if she can’t keep up, a Florida judge said Thursday.
In a decision that will likely affect many people who work with children, State District Judge Lisa C. Gifford ruled the assistant was not qualified for her job because she is not a licensed psychologist and her job requires children to attend school and perform chores.
She could lose the job if the state’s licensing board does not enforce the rule, the judge said.
“I believe there is no reason why an employee would be required to attend all of her children’s school and duties,” Giffords wrote in her ruling.
Giffords ordered the state to pay the assistant’s $1,500 per week in child support and $1 per day for meals, as well as an extra $300 for childcare.
Gift cards and cash allowances would be allowed, she said.
State agencies that work with kids, including public schools, would be able to require the assistant to attend classes, but not pay for school.
The decision will likely cause problems for other people who have to keep track of their children’s schedules and schedules for other adults, said Nancy Smith, a professor of social work at the University of Central Florida.
“It’s a big blow,” she said, because it could result in losing their jobs.
“It’s very frustrating,” Smith said.
“You have a job that requires you to watch and supervise your kids, to watch your kids in school and to supervise them in other ways.
And it’s not a job you can do all the time.”
Gifford also ruled the state must give her at least $250 per week to pay for her childcare and to hire a substitute for her at the beginning of each school year.
The state must also pay her a monthly $500 allowance to cover her rent, utilities, insurance and other costs, she wrote.
“The child support payments are required to be paid at a time when the child has been in the home for at least the preceding week,” Giffs wrote.
“The state cannot require the child to work and then provide her with money to cover the child support.”
Giffin said she had not seen the court’s decision but noted that she was making an order based on what she thought was the law.
“A child has a right to be able be treated with dignity and respect by a responsible adult, and that includes a parent who has the ability to be responsible for their child,” she wrote in a court filing.
“Therefore, I cannot make an order to the contrary based on a reasonable belief that it is not the law, and I have no choice but to follow the law.”
The assistant, identified in court filings only as C, has been working at a day care center in Miami-Dade County since April, when she started her job as an assistant in an elementary school in the area.
She was not a child psychologist or a licensed professional counselor, but was licensed by the state in January to provide services for children.
She did not provide children with education or guidance.
She was not licensed to work as a psychologist, Giffings ruling said.
C did not respond to a request for comment.
She has worked at the center for three years, but is scheduled to return to her job at the day care in May, according to her LinkedIn profile.