Florida Senate - 2013 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
Bill No. SB 1036
Senate . House
Comm: RCS .
The Committee on Appropriations (Sobel) recommended the
1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
3 Delete everything after the enacting clause
4 and insert:
5 Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 39.013, Florida
6 Statutes, is amended to read:
7 39.013 Procedures and jurisdiction; right to counsel.—
8 (2) The circuit court has exclusive original jurisdiction
9 of all proceedings under this chapter, of a child voluntarily
10 placed with a licensed child-caring agency, a licensed child
11 placing agency, or the department, and of the adoption of
12 children whose parental rights have been terminated under this
13 chapter. Jurisdiction attaches when the initial shelter
14 petition, dependency petition, or termination of parental rights
15 petition, or a petition for an injunction to prevent child abuse
16 issued pursuant to s. 39.504, is filed or when a child is taken
17 into the custody of the department. The circuit court may assume
18 jurisdiction over any such proceeding regardless of whether the
19 child was in the physical custody of both parents, was in the
20 sole legal or physical custody of only one parent, caregiver, or
21 some other person, or was not in the physical or legal custody
22 of any person when the event or condition occurred that brought
23 the child to the attention of the court. When the court obtains
24 jurisdiction of any child who has been found to be dependent,
25 the court shall retain jurisdiction, unless relinquished by its
26 order, until the child reaches 21
18 years of age, with the
27 following exceptions:
28 (a) If a young adult chooses to leave foster care upon
29 reaching 18 years of age.
30 (b) If a young adult does not meet the eligibility
31 requirements to remain in foster care under s. 39.6251.
32 (c) However, If a young adult youth petitions the court at
33 any time before his or her 19th birthday requesting the court’s
34 continued jurisdiction, the juvenile court may retain
35 jurisdiction under this chapter for a period not to exceed 1
36 year following the young adult’s youth’s 18th birthday for the
37 purpose of determining whether appropriate aftercare support,
38 Road-to-Independence Program, transitional support, mental
39 health, and developmental disability services , that were
40 required to be provided to the young adult before reaching 18
41 years of age, to the extent otherwise authorized by law, have
42 been provided to the formerly dependent child who was in the
43 legal custody of the department immediately before his or her
44 18th birthday.
45 (d) If a petition for special immigrant juvenile status and
46 an application for adjustment of status have been filed on
47 behalf of a foster child and the petition and application have
48 not been granted by the time the child reaches 18 years of age,
49 the court may retain jurisdiction over the dependency case
50 solely for the purpose of allowing the continued consideration
51 of the petition and application by federal authorities. Review
52 hearings for the child shall be set solely for the purpose of
53 determining the status of the petition and application. The
54 court’s jurisdiction terminates upon the final decision of the
55 federal authorities. Retention of jurisdiction in this instance
56 does not affect the services available to a young adult under s.
57 409.1451. The court may not retain jurisdiction of the case
58 after the immigrant child’s 22nd birthday.
59 Section 2. Subsection (6) of section 39.6013, Florida
60 Statutes, is amended to read:
61 39.6013 Case plan amendments.—
62 (6) The case plan is deemed amended as to the child’s
63 health, mental health, and education records required by s.
64 39.6012 when the child’s updated health and education records
65 are filed by the department under s. 39.701(2)(a) s.
66 39.701 (8)(a).
67 Section 3. Section 39.6035, Florida Statutes, is created to
69 39.6035 Transition plan.—
70 (1) During the 180-day period after a child reaches 17
71 years of age, the department and the community-based care
72 provider, in collaboration with the caregiver and any other
73 individual whom the child would like to include, shall assist
74 the child in developing a transition plan. The required
75 transition plan is in addition to standard case management
76 requirements. The transition plan must address specific options
77 for the child to use in obtaining services, including housing,
78 health insurance, education, and workforce support and
79 employment services. The plan must also consider establishing
80 and maintaining naturally occurring mentoring relationships and
81 other personal support services. The transition plan may be as
82 detailed as the child chooses. In developing the transition
83 plan, the department and the community-based provider shall:
84 (a) Provide the child with the documentation required
85 pursuant to s. 39.701(3); and
86 (b) Coordinate the transition plan with the independent
87 living provisions in the case plan and, for a child with
88 disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
89 transition plan.
90 (2) The department and the child shall schedule a time,
91 date, and place for a meeting to assist the child in drafting
92 the transition plan. The time, date, and place must be
93 convenient for the child and any individual whom the child would
94 like to include. This meeting shall be conducted in the child’s
95 primary language.
96 (3) The transition plan shall be reviewed periodically with
97 the child, the department, and other individuals of the child’s
98 choice and updated when necessary before each judicial review so
99 long as the child or young adult remains in care.
100 (4) If a child is planning to leave care upon reaching 18
101 years of age, the transition plan must be approved by the court
102 before the child leaves care and the court terminates
104 Section 4. Section 39.6251, Florida Statutes, is created to
106 39.6251 Continuing care for young adults.—
107 (1) As used in this section, the term “child” means an
108 individual who has not attained 21 years of age, and the term
109 “young adult” means an individual who has attained 18 years of
110 age but who has not attained 21 years of age.
111 (2) The primary goal for a child in care is permanency. A
112 child who is living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
113 and who has not achieved permanency under s. 39.621, is eligible
114 to remain in licensed care under the jurisdiction of the court
115 and in the care of the department. A child is eligible to remain
116 in licensed care if he or she is:
117 (a) Completing secondary education or a program leading to
118 an equivalent credential;
119 (b) Enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary
120 or vocational education;
121 (c) Participating in a program or activity designed to
122 promote or eliminate barriers to employment;
123 (d) Employed for at least 80 hours per month; or
124 (e) Unable to participate in programs or activities listed
125 in (a)-(d) full time due to a physical, intellectual, emotional,
126 or psychiatric condition that limits participation. Any such
127 barrier to participation must be supported by documentation in
128 the child’s case file or school or medical records of a
129 physical, intellectual, or psychiatric condition that impairs
130 the child’s ability to perform one or more life activities.
131 (3) The permanency goal for a young adult who chooses to
132 remain in care is transition from licensed care to independent
134 (4)(a) The young adult must reside in a supervised living
135 environment that is approved by the department or a community
136 based care lead agency. The young adult shall live
137 independently, but in an environment in which he or she is
138 provided supervision, case management, and supportive services
139 by the department or lead agency. Such an environment must offer
140 developmentally appropriate freedom and responsibility to
141 prepare the young adult for adulthood. For the purposes of this
142 subsection, a supervised living arrangement may include a
143 licensed foster home, licensed group home, college dormitory,
144 shared housing, apartment, or another housing arrangement if the
145 arrangement is approved by the community-based care lead agency
146 and is acceptable to the young adult, with first choice being a
147 licensed foster home. A young adult may continue to reside with
148 the same licensed foster family or group care provider with whom
149 he or she was residing at the time he or she reached the age of
150 18 years.
151 (b) Before approving the residential setting in which the
152 young adult will live, the department or community-based care
153 lead agency must ensure that:
154 1. The young adult will be provided with a level of
155 supervision consistent with his or her individual education,
156 health care needs, permanency plan, and independent living goals
157 as assessed by the department or lead agency with input from the
158 young adult. Twenty-four hour on-site supervision is not
159 required, however, 24-hour crisis intervention and support must
160 be available.
161 2. The young adult will live in an independent living
162 environment that offers, at a minimum, life skills instruction,
163 counseling, educational support, employment preparation and
164 placement, and development of support networks. The
165 determination of the type and duration of services shall be
166 based on the young adult’s assessed needs, interests, and input
167 and must be consistent with the goals set in the young adult’s
168 case plan.
169 (5) Eligibility for a young adult to remain in extended
170 foster care ends on the earliest of the dates that the young
172 1. Reaches 21 years of age or, in the case of a young adult
173 with a disability, reaches 22 years of age;
174 2. Leaves care to live in a permanent home consistent with
175 his or her permanency plan; or
176 3. Knowingly and voluntarily withdraws his or her consent
177 to participate in extended care. Withdrawal of consent to
178 participate in extended care shall be verified by the court
179 pursuant to s. 39.701, unless the young adult refuses to
180 participate in any further court proceeding.
181 (6) A young adult who is between the ages of 18 and 21 and
182 who has left care may return to care by applying to the
183 community-based care lead agency for readmission. The community
184 based care lead agency shall readmit the young adult if he or
185 she continues to meet the eligibility requirements in this
187 (a) The department shall develop a standard procedure and
188 application packet for readmission to care to be used by all
189 community-based care lead agencies.
190 (b) Within 30 days after the young adult has been
191 readmitted to care, the community-based care lead agency shall
192 assign a case manager to update the case plan and the transition
193 plan and to arrange for the required services. Such activities
194 shall be undertaken in consultation with the young adult. The
195 department shall petition the court to reinstate jurisdiction
196 over the young adult.
197 (7) During each period of time that a young adult is in
198 care, the community-based lead agency shall provide regular case
199 management reviews that must include at least monthly contact
200 with the case manager. If a young adult lives outside the
201 service area of his or her community-based care lead agency,
202 monthly contact may occur by telephone.
203 (8) During the time that a young adult is in care, the
204 court shall maintain jurisdiction to ensure that the department
205 and the lead agencies are providing services and coordinate
206 with, and maintain oversight of, other agencies involved in
207 implementing the young adult’s case plan, individual education
208 plan, and transition plan. The court shall review the status of
209 the young adult at least every 6 months and hold a permanency
210 review hearing at least annually. The court may appoint a
211 guardian ad litem or continue the appointment of a guardian ad
212 litem with the young adult’s consent. The young adult or any
213 other party to the dependency case may request an additional
214 hearing or review.
215 (9) The department shall establish a procedure by which a
216 young adult may appeal a determination of eligibility to remain
217 in care that was made by a community-based care lead agency. The
218 procedure must be readily accessible to young adults, must
219 provide for timely decisions, and must provide for an appeal to
220 the department. The decision of the department constitutes final
221 agency action and is reviewable by the court as provided in s.
223 Section 5. Section 39.701, Florida Statutes, is amended to
225 39.701 Judicial review.—
226 (1) GENERAL PROVISIONS.—
227 (a) The court shall have continuing jurisdiction in
228 accordance with this section and shall review the status of the
229 child at least every 6 months as required by this subsection or
230 more frequently if the court deems it necessary or desirable.
231 (b) The court shall retain jurisdiction over a child
232 returned to his or her parents for a minimum period of 6 months
233 following the reunification, but, at that time, based on a
234 report of the social service agency and the guardian ad litem,
235 if one has been appointed, and any other relevant factors, the
236 court shall make a determination as to whether supervision by
237 the department and the court’s jurisdiction shall continue or be
239 (c)1. (2)(a) The court shall review the status of the child
240 and shall hold a hearing as provided in this part at least every
241 6 months until the child reaches permanency status. The court
242 may dispense with the attendance of the child at the hearing,
243 but may not dispense with the hearing or the presence of other
244 parties to the review unless before the review a hearing is held
245 before a citizen review panel.
246 2. (b) Citizen review panels may conduct hearings to review
247 the status of a child. The court shall select the cases
248 appropriate for referral to the citizen review panels and may
249 order the attendance of the parties at the review panel
250 hearings. However, any party may object to the referral of a
251 case to a citizen review panel. Whenever such an objection has
252 been filed with the court, the court shall review the substance
253 of the objection and may conduct the review itself or refer the
254 review to a citizen review panel. All parties retain the right
255 to take exception to the findings or recommended orders of a
256 citizen review panel in accordance with Rule 1.490(h), Florida
257 Rules of Civil Procedure.
258 3. (c) Notice of a hearing by a citizen review panel must be
259 provided as set forth in paragraph (f) subsection (5). At the
260 conclusion of a citizen review panel hearing, each party may
261 propose a recommended order to the chairperson of the panel.
262 Thereafter, the citizen review panel shall submit its report,
263 copies of the proposed recommended orders, and a copy of the
264 panel’s recommended order to the court. The citizen review
265 panel’s recommended order must be limited to the dispositional
266 options available to the court in paragraph (2)(d) subsection
267 (10). Each party may file exceptions to the report and
268 recommended order of the citizen review panel in accordance with
269 Rule 1.490, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
270 (d)1. (3)(a) The initial judicial review hearing must be
271 held no later than 90 days after the date of the disposition
272 hearing or after the date of the hearing at which the court
273 approves the case plan, whichever comes first, but in no event
274 shall the review be held later than 6 months after the date the
275 child was removed from the home. Citizen review panels may shall
276 not conduct more than two consecutive reviews without the child
277 and the parties coming before the court for a judicial review.
278 2. (b) If the citizen review panel recommends extending the
279 goal of reunification for any case plan beyond 12 months from
280 the date the child was removed from the home, the case plan was
281 adopted, or the child was adjudicated dependent, whichever date
282 came first, the court must schedule a judicial review hearing to
283 be conducted by the court within 30 days after receiving the
284 recommendation from the citizen review panel.
285 3. (c) If the child is placed in the custody of the
286 department or a licensed child-placing agency for the purpose of
287 adoptive placement, judicial reviews must be held at least every
288 6 months until the adoption is finalized.
289 4. (d) If the department and the court have established a
290 formal agreement that includes specific authorization for
291 particular cases, the department may conduct administrative
292 reviews instead of the judicial reviews for children in out-of
293 home care. Notices of such administrative reviews must be
294 provided to all parties. However, an administrative review may
295 not be substituted for the first judicial review, and in every
296 case the court must conduct a judicial review at least every 6
297 months. Any party dissatisfied with the results of an
298 administrative review may petition for a judicial review.
299 5. (e) The clerk of the circuit court shall schedule
300 judicial review hearings in order to comply with the mandated
301 times cited in this section.
302 6. (f) In each case in which a child has been voluntarily
303 placed with the licensed child-placing agency, the agency shall
304 notify the clerk of the court in the circuit where the child
305 resides of such placement within 5 working days. Notification of
306 the court is not required for any child who will be in out-of
307 home care no longer than 30 days unless that child is placed in
308 out-of-home care a second time within a 12-month period. If the
309 child is returned to the custody of the parents before the
310 scheduled review hearing or if the child is placed for adoption,
311 the child-placing agency shall notify the court of the child’s
312 return or placement within 5 working days, and the clerk of the
313 court shall cancel the review hearing.
314 (e) (4) The court shall schedule the date, time, and
315 location of the next judicial review during the judicial review
316 hearing and shall list same in the judicial review order.
317 (f) (5) Notice of a judicial review hearing or a citizen
318 review panel hearing, and a copy of the motion for judicial
319 review, if any, must be served by the clerk of the court upon
320 all of the following persons, if available to be served,
321 regardless of whether the person was present at the previous
322 hearing at which the date, time, and location of the hearing was
324 1. (a) The social service agency charged with the
325 supervision of care, custody, or guardianship of the child, if
326 that agency is not the movant.
327 2. (b) The foster parent or legal custodian in whose home
328 the child resides.
329 3. (c) The parents.
330 4. (d) The guardian ad litem for the child, or the
331 representative of the guardian ad litem program if the program
332 has been appointed.
333 5. (e) The attorney for the child.
334 6. (f) The child, if the child is 13 years of age or older.
335 7. (g) Any preadoptive parent.
336 8. (h) Such other persons as the court may direct.
337 (g) (6) The attorney for the department shall notify a
338 relative who submits a request for notification of all
339 proceedings and hearings pursuant to s. 39.301(14)(b). The
340 notice shall include the date, time, and location of the next
341 judicial review hearing.
342 (7)(a) In addition to paragraphs (1)(a) and (2)(a), the
343 court shall hold a judicial review hearing within 90 days after
344 a youth’s 17th birthday. The court shall also issue an order,
345 separate from the order on judicial review, that the disability
346 of nonage of the youth has been removed pursuant to s. 743.045 .
347 The court shall continue to hold timely judicial review hearings
348 thereafter. In addition, the court may review the status of the
349 child more frequently during the year prior to the youth’s 18th
350 birthday if necessary. At each review held under this
351 subsection, in addition to any information or report provided to
352 the court, the foster parent, legal custodian, guardian ad
353 litem, and the child shall be given the opportunity to address
354 the court with any information relevant to the child’s best
355 interests, particularly as it relates to independent living
356 transition services. In addition to any information or report
357 provided to the court, the department shall include in its
358 judicial review social study report written verification that
359 the child:
360 1. Has been provided with a current Medicaid card and has
361 been provided all necessary information concerning the Medicaid
362 program sufficient to prepare the youth to apply for coverage
363 upon reaching age 18, if such application would be appropriate.
364 2. Has been provided with a certified copy of his or her
365 birth certificate and, if the child does not have a valid
366 driver’s license, a Florida identification card issued under s.
367 322.051 .
368 3. Has been provided information relating to Social
369 Security Insurance benefits if the child is eligible for these
370 benefits. If the child has received these benefits and they are
371 being held in trust for the child, a full accounting of those
372 funds must be provided and the child must be informed about how
373 to access those funds.
374 4. Has been provided with information and training related
375 to budgeting skills, interviewing skills, and parenting skills.
376 5. Has been provided with all relevant information related
377 to the Road-to-Independence Program, including, but not limited
378 to, eligibility requirements, forms necessary to apply, and
379 assistance in completing the forms. The child shall also be
380 informed that, if he or she is eligible for the Road-to
381 Independence Program, he or she may reside with the licensed
382 foster family or group care provider with whom the child was
383 residing at the time of attaining his or her 18th birthday or
384 may reside in another licensed foster home or with a group care
385 provider arranged by the department.
386 6. Has an open bank account, or has identification
387 necessary to open an account, and has been provided with
388 essential banking skills.
389 7. Has been provided with information on public assistance
390 and how to apply.
391 8. Has been provided a clear understanding of where he or
392 she will be living on his or her 18th birthday, how living
393 expenses will be paid, and what educational program or school he
394 or she will be enrolled in.
395 9. Has been provided with notice of the youth’s right to
396 petition for the court’s continuing jurisdiction for 1 year
397 after the youth’s 18th birthday as specified in s. 39.013 (2) and
398 with information on how to obtain access to the court.
399 10. Has been encouraged to attend all judicial review
400 hearings occurring after his or her 17th birthday.
401 (b) At the first judicial review hearing held subsequent to
402 the child’s 17th birthday, in addition to the requirements of
403 subsection (8), the department shall provide the court with an
404 updated case plan that includes specific information related to
405 independent living services that have been provided since the
406 child’s 13th birthday, or since the date the child came into
407 foster care, whichever came later.
408 (c) At the time of a judicial review hearing held pursuant
409 to this subsection, if, in the opinion of the court, the
410 department has not complied with its obligations as specified in
411 the written case plan or in the provision of independent living
412 services as required by s. 409.1451 and this subsection, the
413 court shall issue a show cause order. If cause is shown for
414 failure to comply, the court shall give the department 30 days
415 within which to comply and, on failure to comply with this or
416 any subsequent order, the department may be held in contempt.
417 (2) (8) REVIEW HEARINGS FOR CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 18 YEARS
418 OF AGE.—
419 (a) Social study report for judicial review.—Before every
420 judicial review hearing or citizen review panel hearing, the
421 social service agency shall make an investigation and social
422 study concerning all pertinent details relating to the child and
423 shall furnish to the court or citizen review panel a written
424 report that includes, but is not limited to:
425 1. A description of the type of placement the child is in
426 at the time of the hearing, including the safety of the child
427 and the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the
429 2. Documentation of the diligent efforts made by all
430 parties to the case plan to comply with each applicable
431 provision of the plan.
432 3. The amount of fees assessed and collected during the
433 period of time being reported.
434 4. The services provided to the foster family or legal
435 custodian in an effort to address the needs of the child as
436 indicated in the case plan.
437 5. A statement that either:
438 a. The parent, though able to do so, did not comply
439 substantially with the case plan, and the agency
441 b. The parent did substantially comply with the case plan;
443 c. The parent has partially complied with the case plan,
444 with a summary of additional progress needed and the agency
446 6. A statement from the foster parent or legal custodian
447 providing any material evidence concerning the return of the
448 child to the parent or parents.
449 7. A statement concerning the frequency, duration, and
450 results of the parent-child visitation, if any, and the agency
451 recommendations for an expansion or restriction of future
453 8. The number of times a child has been removed from his or
454 her home and placed elsewhere, the number and types of
455 placements that have occurred, and the reason for the changes in
457 9. The number of times a child’s educational placement has
458 been changed, the number and types of educational placements
459 which have occurred, and the reason for any change in placement.
460 10. If the child has reached 13 years of age but is not yet
461 18 years of age, a statement from the caregiver on the progress
462 the child has made in acquiring independent living skills the
463 results of the preindependent living, life skills, or
464 independent living assessment; the specific services needed; and
465 the status of the delivery of the identified services.
466 11. Copies of all medical, psychological, and educational
467 records that support the terms of the case plan and that have
468 been produced concerning the parents or any caregiver since the
469 last judicial review hearing.
470 12. Copies of the child’s current health, mental health,
471 and education records as identified in s. 39.6012.
472 (b) Submission and distribution of reports.—
473 1. A copy of the social service agency’s written report and
474 the written report of the guardian ad litem must be served on
475 all parties whose whereabouts are known; to the foster parents
476 or legal custodians; and to the citizen review panel, at least
477 72 hours before the judicial review hearing or citizen review
478 panel hearing. The requirement for providing parents with a copy
479 of the written report does not apply to those parents who have
480 voluntarily surrendered their child for adoption or who have had
481 their parental rights to the child terminated.
482 2. (c) In a case in which the child has been permanently
483 placed with the social service agency, the agency shall furnish
484 to the court a written report concerning the progress being made
485 to place the child for adoption. If the child cannot be placed
486 for adoption, a report on the progress made by the child towards
487 alternative permanency goals or placements, including, but not
488 limited to, guardianship, long-term custody, long-term licensed
489 custody, or independent living, must be submitted to the court.
490 The report must be submitted to the court at least 72 hours
491 before each scheduled judicial review.
492 3. (d) In addition to or in lieu of any written statement
493 provided to the court, the foster parent or legal custodian, or
494 any preadoptive parent, shall be given the opportunity to
495 address the court with any information relevant to the best
496 interests of the child at any judicial review hearing.
497 (c) (9) Review determinations.—The court and any citizen
498 review panel shall take into consideration the information
499 contained in the social services study and investigation and all
500 medical, psychological, and educational records that support the
501 terms of the case plan; testimony by the social services agency,
502 the parent, the foster parent or legal custodian, the guardian
503 ad litem or surrogate parent for educational decisionmaking if
504 one has been appointed for the child, and any other person
505 deemed appropriate; and any relevant and material evidence
506 submitted to the court, including written and oral reports to
507 the extent of their probative value. These reports and evidence
508 may be received by the court in its effort to determine the
509 action to be taken with regard to the child and may be relied
510 upon to the extent of their probative value, even though not
511 competent in an adjudicatory hearing. In its deliberations, the
512 court and any citizen review panel shall seek to determine:
513 1. (a) If the parent was advised of the right to receive
514 assistance from any person or social service agency in the
515 preparation of the case plan.
516 2. (b) If the parent has been advised of the right to have
517 counsel present at the judicial review or citizen review
518 hearings. If not so advised, the court or citizen review panel
519 shall advise the parent of such right.
520 3. (c) If a guardian ad litem needs to be appointed for the
521 child in a case in which a guardian ad litem has not previously
522 been appointed or if there is a need to continue a guardian ad
523 litem in a case in which a guardian ad litem has been appointed.
524 4. (d) Who holds the rights to make educational decisions
525 for the child. If appropriate, the court may refer the child to
526 the district school superintendent for appointment of a
527 surrogate parent or may itself appoint a surrogate parent under
528 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and s. 39.0016.
529 5. (e) The compliance or lack of compliance of all parties
530 with applicable items of the case plan, including the parents’
531 compliance with child support orders.
532 6. (f) The compliance or lack of compliance with a
533 visitation contract between the parent and the social service
534 agency for contact with the child, including the frequency,
535 duration, and results of the parent-child visitation and the
536 reason for any noncompliance.
537 7. (g) The compliance or lack of compliance of the parent in
538 meeting specified financial obligations pertaining to the care
539 of the child, including the reason for failure to comply if such
540 is the case.
541 8. (h) Whether the child is receiving safe and proper care
542 according to s. 39.6012, including, but not limited to, the
543 appropriateness of the child’s current placement, including
544 whether the child is in a setting that is as family-like and as
545 close to the parent’s home as possible, consistent with the
546 child’s best interests and special needs, and including
547 maintaining stability in the child’s educational placement, as
548 documented by assurances from the community-based care provider
550 a. 1. The placement of the child takes into account the
551 appropriateness of the current educational setting and the
552 proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the
553 time of placement.
554 b. 2. The community-based care agency has coordinated with
555 appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child
556 remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time
557 of placement.
558 9. (i) A projected date likely for the child’s return home
559 or other permanent placement.
560 10. (j) When appropriate, the basis for the unwillingness or
561 inability of the parent to become a party to a case plan. The
562 court and the citizen review panel shall determine if the
563 efforts of the social service agency to secure party
564 participation in a case plan were sufficient.
565 11. (k) For a child who has reached 13 years of age but is
566 not yet 18 years of age, the adequacy of the child’s preparation
567 for adulthood and independent living.
568 12. (l) If amendments to the case plan are required.
569 Amendments to the case plan must be made under s. 39.6013.
570 (d) (10)(a) Orders.—
571 1. Based upon the criteria set forth in paragraph (c)
572 subsection (9) and the recommended order of the citizen review
573 panel, if any, the court shall determine whether or not the
574 social service agency shall initiate proceedings to have a child
575 declared a dependent child, return the child to the parent,
576 continue the child in out-of-home care for a specified period of
577 time, or initiate termination of parental rights proceedings for
578 subsequent placement in an adoptive home. Amendments to the case
579 plan must be prepared as prescribed in s. 39.6013. If the court
580 finds that the prevention or reunification efforts of the
581 department will allow the child to remain safely at home or be
582 safely returned to the home, the court shall allow the child to
583 remain in or return to the home after making a specific finding
584 of fact that the reasons for the creation of the case plan have
585 been remedied to the extent that the child’s safety, well-being,
586 and physical, mental, and emotional health will not be
588 2. (b) The court shall return the child to the custody of
589 the parents at any time it determines that they have
590 substantially complied with the case plan, if the court is
591 satisfied that reunification will not be detrimental to the
592 child’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional
594 3. (c) If, in the opinion of the court, the social service
595 agency has not complied with its obligations as specified in the
596 written case plan, the court may find the social service agency
597 in contempt, shall order the social service agency to submit its
598 plans for compliance with the agreement, and shall require the
599 social service agency to show why the child could not safely be
600 returned to the home of the parents.
601 4. (d) If, at any judicial review, the court finds that the
602 parents have failed to substantially comply with the case plan
603 to the degree that further reunification efforts are without
604 merit and not in the best interest of the child, on its own
605 motion, the court may order the filing of a petition for
606 termination of parental rights, whether or not the time period
607 as contained in the case plan for substantial compliance has
609 5. (e) Within 6 months after the date that the child was
610 placed in shelter care, the court shall conduct a judicial
611 review hearing to review the child’s permanency goal as
612 identified in the case plan. At the hearing the court shall make
613 findings regarding the likelihood of the child’s reunification
614 with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
615 removal of the child from the home. If the court makes a written
616 finding that it is not likely that the child will be reunified
617 with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
618 child was removed from the home, the department must file with
619 the court, and serve on all parties, a motion to amend the case
620 plan under s. 39.6013 and declare that it will use concurrent
621 planning for the case plan. The department must file the motion
622 within 10 business days after receiving the written finding of
623 the court. The department must attach the proposed amended case
624 plan to the motion. If concurrent planning is already being
625 used, the case plan must document the efforts the department is
626 taking to complete the concurrent goal.
627 6. (f) The court may issue a protective order in assistance,
628 or as a condition, of any other order made under this part. In
629 addition to the requirements included in the case plan, the
630 protective order may set forth requirements relating to
631 reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specified
632 period of time by a person or agency who is before the court;
633 and the order may require any person or agency to make periodic
634 reports to the court containing such information as the court in
635 its discretion may prescribe.
636 (3) REVIEW HEARINGS FOR CHILDREN 17 YEARS OF AGE.—
637 (a) In addition to the review and report required under
638 paragraphs (1)(a) and (2)(a), respectively, the court shall hold
639 a judicial review hearing within 90 days after a child’s 17th
640 birthday. The court shall also issue an order, separate from the
641 order on judicial review, that the disability of nonage of the
642 child has been removed pursuant to s. 743.045 and shall continue
643 to hold timely judicial review hearings. If necessary, the court
644 may review the status of the child more frequently during the
645 year before the child’s 18th birthday. At each review hearing
646 held under this subsection, in addition to any information or
647 report provided to the court by the foster parent, legal
648 custodian, or guardian ad litem, the child shall be given the
649 opportunity to address the court with any information relevant
650 to the child’s best interest, particularly in relation to
651 independent living transition services. The department shall
652 include in the social study report for judicial review written
653 verification that the child has:
654 1. A current Medicaid card and all necessary information
655 concerning the Medicaid program sufficient to prepare the child
656 to apply for coverage upon reaching the age of 18, if such
657 application is appropriate.
658 2. A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate and,
659 if the child does not have a valid driver license, a Florida
660 identification card issued under s. 322.051.
661 3. A social security card and information relating to
662 social security insurance benefits if the child is eligible for
663 those benefits. If the child has received such benefits and they
664 are being held in trust for the child, a full accounting of
665 these funds must be provided and the child must be informed as
666 to how to access those funds.
667 4. All relevant information related to the Road-to
668 Independence Program, including, but not limited to, eligibility
669 requirements, information on participation, and assistance in
670 gaining admission to the program. If the child is eligible for
671 the Road-to-Independence Program, he or she must be advised that
672 he or she may continue to reside with the licensed family home
673 or group care provider with whom the child was residing at the
674 time the child attained his or her 18th birthday, in another
675 licensed family home, or with a group care provider arranged by
676 the department.
677 5. An open bank account or the identification necessary to
678 open a bank account and to acquire essential banking and
679 budgeting skills.
680 6. Information on public assistance and how to apply for
681 public assistance.
682 7. A clear understanding of where he or she will be living
683 on his or her 18th birthday, how living expenses will be paid,
684 and the educational program or school in which he or she will be
686 8. Information related to the ability of the child to
687 remain in care until he or she reaches 21 years of age under s.
689 9. A letter providing the dates that the child is under the
690 jurisdiction of the court.
691 10. A letter stating that the child is in compliance with
692 financial aid documentation requirements.
693 11. The child’s educational records.
694 12. The child’s entire health and mental health records.
695 13. The process for accessing his or her case file.
696 14. A statement encouraging the child to attend all
697 judicial review hearings occurring after the child’s 17th
699 (b) At the first judicial review hearing held subsequent to
700 the child’s 17th birthday, the department shall provide the
701 court with an updated case plan that includes specific
702 information related to the independent living skills that the
703 child has acquired since the child’s 13th birthday, or since the
704 date the child came into foster care, whichever came later.
705 (c) If the court finds at the judicial review hearing that
706 the department has not met with its obligations to the child as
707 stated in the written case plan or in the provision of
708 independent living services, the court may issue an order
709 directing the department to show cause as to why it has not done
710 so. If the department cannot justify its noncompliance, the
711 court may give the department 30 days within which to comply. If
712 the department fails to comply within 30 days, the court may
713 hold the department in contempt.
714 (d) At the last review hearing before the child reaches 18
715 years of age, and in addition to the requirements of subsection
716 (2), the court shall:
717 1. Address whether the child plans to remain in foster
718 care, and, if so, ensure that the child’s transition plan
719 includes a plan for meeting one or more of the criteria
720 specified in s. 39.6251.
721 2. Ensure that the transition plan includes a supervised
722 living arrangement under s. 39.6251.
723 3. Ensure the child has been informed of:
724 a. The right to continued support and services from the
725 department and the community-based care lead agency.
726 b. The right to request termination of dependency
727 jurisdiction and be discharged from foster care.
728 c. The opportunity to reenter foster care pursuant to s.
730 4. Ensure that the young adult, if he or she requests
731 termination of dependency jurisdiction and discharge from foster
732 care, has been informed of:
733 a. Services or benefits for which the young adult may be
734 eligible based on his or her former placement in foster care;
735 b. Services or benefits that may be lost through
736 termination of dependency jurisdiction; and
737 c. Other federal, state, local, or community-based services
738 or supports available to the him or her.
739 (4) REVIEW HEARINGS FOR YOUNG ADULTS IN FOSTER CARE.—
740 During each period of time that a young adult remains in foster
741 care, the court shall review the status of the young adult at
742 least every 6 months and must hold a permanency review hearing
743 at least annually.
744 (a) The department and community-based care lead agency
745 shall prepare and submit to the court a report, developed in
746 collaboration with the young adult, which addresses the young
747 adult’s progress in meeting the goals in the case plan. The
748 report must include progress information related to the young
749 adult’s independent living plan and transition plan, if
750 applicable, and shall propose modifications as necessary to
751 further the young adult’s goals.
752 (b) The court shall attempt to determine whether the
753 department and any service provider under contract with the
754 department are providing the appropriate services as provided in
755 the case plan.
756 (c) If the court believes that the young adult is entitled
757 under department policy or under a contract with a service
758 provider to additional services to achieve the goals enumerated
759 in the case plan, it may order the department to take action to
760 ensure that the young adult receives the identified services.
761 (d) The young adult or any other party to the dependency
762 case may request an additional hearing or judicial review.
763 (e) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, if a
764 young adult has chosen to remain in extended foster care after
765 he or she has reached 18 years of age, the department may not
766 close a case and the court may not terminate jurisdiction until
767 the court finds, following a hearing, that the following
768 criteria have been met:
769 1. Attendance of the young adult at the hearing; or
770 2. Findings by the court that:
771 a. The young adult has been informed by the department of
772 his or her right to attend the hearing and has provided written
773 consent to waive this right; and
774 b. The young adult has been informed of the potential
775 negative effects of early termination of care, the option to
776 reenter care before reaching 21 years of age, the procedure for,
777 and limitations on, reentering care, and the availability of
778 alternative services, and has signed a document attesting that
779 he or she has been so informed and understands these provisions;
781 c. The young adult has voluntarily left the program, has
782 not signed the document in sub-subparagraph b., and is unwilling
783 to participate in any further court proceeding.
784 3. In all permanency hearings or hearings regarding the
785 transition of the young adult from care to independent living,
786 the court shall consult with the young adult regarding the
787 proposed permanency plan, case plan, and individual education
788 plan for the young adult and ensure that he or she has
789 understood the conversation.
790 Section 6. Section 409.145, Florida Statutes, is amended to
792 409.145 Care of children; quality parenting; “reasonable
793 and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the
794 department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system
795 of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster
796 care to provide quality parenting, including approving or
797 disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the
798 caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent”
800 (1) SYSTEM OF CARE.—The department shall develop, implement
801 conduct, supervise, and administer a coordinated community-based
802 system of care program for dependent children who are found to
803 be dependent and their families. This system of care must The
804 services of the department are to be directed toward the
805 following goals:
806 (a) The Prevention of separation of children from their
808 (b) Intervention to allow children to remain safely in
809 their own homes.
810 (c) (b) The Reunification of families who have had children
811 removed from their care placed in foster homes or institutions.
812 (d) Safety for children who are separated from their
813 families by providing alternative emergency or longer-term
814 parenting arrangements.
815 (e) Focus on the well-being of children through emphasis on
816 maintaining educational stability and providing timely health
818 (f) (c) Permanency for The permanent placement of children
819 for whom reunification who cannot be reunited with their
820 families is not possible or when reunification would is not be
821 in the best interest of the child.
822 (d) The protection of dependent children or children
823 alleged to be dependent, including provision of emergency and
824 long-term alternate living arrangements.
825 (g) (e) The transition to independence and self-sufficiency
826 for older children who remain in foster care through adolescence
827 continue to be in foster care as adolescents.
828 (2) The following dependent children shall be subject to
829 the protection, care, guidance, and supervision of the
830 department or any duly licensed public or private agency:
831 (a) Any child who has been temporarily or permanently taken
832 from the custody of the parents, custodians, or guardians in
833 accordance with those provisions in chapter 39 that relate to
834 dependent children.
835 (b) Any child who is in need of the protective supervision
836 of the department as determined by intake or by the court in
837 accordance with those provisions of chapter 39 that relate to
838 dependent children.
839 (c) Any child who is voluntarily placed, with the written
840 consent of the parents or guardians, in the department’s foster
841 care program or the foster care program of a licensed private
843 (3) The circuit courts exercising juvenile jurisdiction in
844 the various counties of this state shall cooperate with the
845 department and its employees in carrying out the purposes and
846 intent of this chapter.
847 (4) The department is authorized to accept children on a
848 permanent placement basis by order of a court of competent
849 jurisdiction for the single purpose of adoption placement of
850 these children. The department is authorized to provide the
851 necessary services to place these children ordered to the
852 department on a permanent placement basis for adoption.
853 (5) Any funds appropriated by counties for child welfare
854 services may be matched by state and federal funds, such funds
855 to be utilized by the department for the benefit of children in
856 those counties.
857 (6) Whenever any child is placed under the protection,
858 care, and guidance of the department or a duly licensed public
859 or private agency, or as soon thereafter as is practicable, the
860 department or agency, as the case may be, shall endeavor to
861 obtain such information concerning the family medical history of
862 the child and the natural parents as is available or readily
863 obtainable. This information shall be kept on file by the
864 department or agency for possible future use as provided in ss.
865 63.082 and 63.162 or as may be otherwise provided by law.
866 (7) Whenever any child is placed by the department in a
867 shelter home, foster home, or other residential placement, the
868 department shall make available to the operator of the shelter
869 home, foster home, other residential placement, or other
870 caretaker as soon thereafter as is practicable, all relevant
871 information concerning the child’s demographic, social, and
872 medical history.
873 (2) QUALITY PARENTING.—A child in foster care shall be
874 placed only with a caregiver who has the ability to care for the
875 child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care,
876 and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the
877 child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or
878 psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and
879 family relationships. The department, the community-based care
880 lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver
881 with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver
882 in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care
883 for a particular child.
884 (a) Roles and responsibilities of caregivers.—A caregiver
886 1. Participate in developing the case plan for the child
887 and his or her family and work with others involved in his or
888 her care to implement this plan. This participation includes the
889 caregiver’s involvement in all team meetings or court hearings
890 related to the child’s care.
891 2. Complete all training needed to improve skills in
892 parenting a child who has experienced trauma due to neglect,
893 abuse, or separation from home, to meet the child’s special
894 needs, and to work effectively with child welfare agencies, the
895 court, the schools, and other community and governmental
897 3. Respect and support the child’s ties to members of his
898 or her biological family and assist the child in maintaining
899 allowable visitation and other forms of communication.
900 4. Effectively advocate for the child in the caregiver’s
901 care with the child welfare system, the court, and community
902 agencies, including the school, child care, health and mental
903 health providers, and employers.
904 5. Participate fully in the child’s medical, psychological,
905 and dental care as the caregiver would for his or her biological
907 6. Support the child’s school success by participating in
908 school activities and meetings, including Individual Education
909 Plan meetings, assisting with school assignments, supporting
910 tutoring programs, meeting with teachers and working with an
911 educational surrogate if one has been appointed, and encouraging
912 the child’s participation in extracurricular activities.
913 7. Work in partnership with other stakeholders to obtain
914 and maintain records that are important to the child’s well
915 being, including child resource records, medical records, school
916 records, photographs, and records of special events and
918 8. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care who is
919 between 13 and 17 years of age learns and masters independent
920 living skills.
921 9. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care is aware
922 of the requirements and benefits of the Road-to-Independence
924 10. Work to enable the child in the caregiver’s care to
925 establish and maintain naturally occurring mentoring
927 (b) Roles and responsibilities of the department, the
928 community-based care lead agency, and other agency staff.—The
929 department, the community-based care lead agency, and other
930 agency staff shall:
931 1. Include a caregiver in the development and
932 implementation of the case plan for the child and his or her
933 family. The caregiver shall be authorized to participate in all
934 team meetings or court hearings related to the child’s care and
935 future plans. The caregiver’s participation shall be facilitated
936 through timely notification, an inclusive process, and
937 alternative methods for participation for a caregiver who cannot
938 be physically present.
939 2. Develop and make available to the caregiver the
940 information, services, training, and support that the caregiver
941 needs to improve his or her skills in parenting children who
942 have experienced trauma due to neglect, abuse, or separation
943 from home, to meet these children’s special needs and to
944 advocate effectively with child welfare agencies, the courts,
945 schools, and other community and governmental agencies.
946 3. Provide the caregiver with all information related to
947 services and other benefits that are available to the child.
948 (c) Transitions.—
949 1. Once a caregiver accepts the responsibility of caring
950 for a child, the child will be removed from the home of that
951 caregiver only if:
952 a. The caregiver is clearly unable to safely or legally
953 care for the child;
954 b. The child and his or her biological family are
956 c. The child is being placed in a legally permanent home
957 pursuant to the case plan or a court order; or
958 d. The removal is demonstrably in the child’s best
960 2. In the absence of an emergency, if a child leaves the
961 caregiver’s home for a reason provided under subparagraph 1.,
962 the transition must be accomplished according to a plan that
963 involves cooperation and sharing of information among all
964 persons involved, respects the child’s developmental stage and
965 psychological needs, ensures the child has all of his or her
966 belongings, allows for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s
967 home and, if possible, for continued contact with the caregiver
968 after the child leaves.
969 (d) Information sharing.—Whenever a foster home or
970 residential group home assumes responsibility for the care of a
971 child, the department and any additional providers shall make
972 available to the caregiver as soon as is practicable all
973 relevant information concerning the child. Records and
974 information that are required to be shared with caregivers
975 include, but are not limited to:
976 1. Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric, and
977 behavioral history, as well as ongoing evaluation or treatment
979 2. School records;
980 3. Copies of his or her birth certificate and, if
981 appropriate, immigration status documents;
982 4. Consents signed by parents;
983 5. Comprehensive behavioral assessments and other social
985 6. Court orders;
986 7. Visitation and case plans;
987 8. Guardian ad litem reports;
988 9. Staffing forms; and
989 10. Judicial or citizen review panel reports and
990 attachments filed with the court, except confidential medical,
991 psychiatric, and psychological information regarding any party
992 or participant other than the child.
993 (e) Caregivers employed by residential group homes.–All
994 caregivers in residential group homes shall meet the same
995 education, training, and background and other screening
996 requirements as foster parents.
997 (3) REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD.–
998 (a) Definitions.—As used in this subsection, the term:
999 1. “Age-appropriate” means an activity or item that is
1000 generally accepted as suitable for a child of the same
1001 chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is
1002 based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and
1003 behavioral capacity which is typical for an age or age group.
1004 2. “Caregiver” means a person with whom the child is placed
1005 in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group care
1006 facility licensed by the department under s. 409.175.
1007 3. “Reasonable and prudent parent” standard means the
1008 standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to
1009 allow a child in his or her care to participate in
1010 extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This
1011 standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental
1012 decisionmaking that is intended to maintain a child’s health,
1013 safety, and best interest while encouraging the child’s
1014 emotional and developmental growth.
1015 (b) Application of standard of care.—
1016 1. Every child who comes into out-of-home care pursuant to
1017 this chapter is entitled to participate in age-appropriate
1018 extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
1019 2. Each caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent
1020 parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a
1021 child living in out-of-home care to participate in
1022 extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. When using
1023 the reasonable and prudent parent standard, the caregiver must
1025 a. The child’s age, maturity, and developmental level to
1026 maintain the overall health and safety of the child.
1027 b. The potential risk factors and the appropriateness of
1028 the extracurricular, enrichment, or social activity.
1029 c. The best interest of the child, based on information
1030 known by the caregiver.
1031 d. The importance of encouraging the child’s emotional and
1032 developmental growth.
1033 e. The importance of providing the child with the most
1034 family-like living experience possible.
1035 f. The behavioral history of the child and the child’s
1036 ability to safely participate in the proposed activity.
1037 (c) Verification of services delivered.—The department and
1038 each community-based care lead agency shall verify that private
1039 agencies providing out-of-home care services to dependent
1040 children have policies in place which are consistent with this
1041 section and that these agencies promote and protect the ability
1042 of dependent children to participate in age-appropriate
1043 extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
1044 (d) Limitation of liability.—A caregiver is not liable for
1045 harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved
1046 by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in
1047 accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard. This
1048 paragraph may not be interpreted as removing or limiting any
1049 existing liability protection afforded by law.
1050 (4) FOSTER PARENT ROOM AND BOARD RATES.—
1051 (a) Effective October 1, 2013, room and board rates paid to
1052 foster parents are as follows:
1055 Monthly Foster Care Rate0-5 Years Age 6-12 Years Age 13-21 Years Age
1059 (b) Foster parents shall receive an annual cost of living
1060 increase. The department shall calculate the new room and board
1061 rate increase equal to the percentage change in the Consumer
1062 Price Index for All Urban Consumers, U.S. City Average, All
1063 Items, not seasonally adjusted, or successor reports, for the
1064 preceding December compared to the prior December as initially
1065 reported by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of
1066 Labor Statistics. The department shall make available the
1067 adjusted room and board rates annually.
1068 (c) The amount of the monthly foster care board rate may be
1069 increased upon agreement among the department, the community
1070 based care lead agency, and the foster parent.
1071 (d) Community-based care lead agencies providing care under
1072 contract with the department shall pay a supplemental room and
1073 board payment to foster care parents for providing independent
1074 life skills and normalcy supports to children who are 13 through
1075 17 years of age placed in their care. The supplemental payment
1076 shall be paid monthly to the foster care parents on a per-child
1077 basis in addition to the current monthly room and board rate
1078 payment. The supplemental monthly payment shall be based on 10
1079 percent of the monthly room and board rate for children 13
1080 through 21 years of age as provided under this section and
1081 adjusted annually.
1082 (5) RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt by rule
1083 procedures to administer this section.
1084 Section 7. Section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended
1085 to read:
1086 (Substantial rewording of section. See
1087 s. 409.1451, F.S., for present text).
1088 409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
1089 (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.—
1090 (a) The Legislature recognizes that most children and young
1091 adults are resilient and, with adequate support, can expect to
1092 be successful as independent adults. Not unlike many young
1093 adults, some young adults who have lived in foster care need
1094 additional support and resources for a period of time after
1095 reaching 18 years of age.
1096 (b) The Legislature finds that while it is important to
1097 provide young adults who have lived in foster care with
1098 education and independent living skills, there is also a need to
1099 focus more broadly on creating and preserving family
1100 relationships so that young adults have a permanent connection
1101 with at least one committed adult who provides a safe and stable
1102 parenting relationship.
1103 (c) It is the intent of the Legislature that young adults
1104 who choose to participate in the program receive the skills,
1105 education, and support necessary to become self-sufficient and
1106 leave foster care with a lifelong connection to a supportive
1107 adult through the Road-to-Independence Program, either through
1108 postsecondary education services and support, as provided in
1109 subsection (2), or aftercare services.
1110 (2) POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION SERVICES AND SUPPORT.—
1111 (a) A young adult is eligible for services and support
1112 under this subsection if he or she:
1113 1. Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
1114 or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
1115 years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
1116 court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
1117 months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
1118 preceding such placement or adoption;
1119 2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
1120 his or her 18th birthday;
1121 3. Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
1122 pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.43,
1123 or s. 1003.435;
1124 4. Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student
1125 or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational
1126 institution as provided in s. 1009.533. For purposes of this
1127 section, the term “full-time” means 9 credit hours or the
1128 vocational school equivalent. A student may enroll part-time if
1129 he or she has a recognized disability or is faced with another
1130 challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time
1131 attendance. A student needing to enroll part-time for any reason
1132 other than having a recognized disability must get approval from
1133 his or her academic advisor;
1134 5. Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
1136 6. Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
1137 caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
1138 grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
1139 7. Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
1140 which is complete and error free; and
1141 8. Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
1142 community-based care lead agency access to school records.
1143 (b) The amount of the financial assistance shall be as
1145 1. For a young adult who does not remain in foster care and
1146 is attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
1147 the amount is $1,256 monthly.
1148 2. For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
1149 attending a postsecondary school, as provided in s. 1009.533,
1150 and continues to reside in a licensed foster home, the amount is
1151 the established room and board rate for foster parents. This
1152 takes the place of the payment provided for in subsection (4).
1153 3. For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
1154 temporarily resides away from a licensed foster home for
1155 purposes of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s.
1156 1009.533, the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of
1157 the payment provided for in subsection (4).
1158 4. For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
1159 attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, and
1160 continues to reside in a licensed group home, the amount is
1161 negotiated between the community-based care lead agency and the
1162 licensed group home provider.
1163 5. For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
1164 temporarily resides away from a licensed group home for purposes
1165 of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
1166 the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of a
1167 negotiated room and board rate.
1168 6. The amount of the award may be disregarded for purposes
1169 of determining the eligibility for, or the amount of, any other
1170 federal or federally supported assistance.
1171 7. A young adult is eligible to receive financial
1172 assistance during the months when enrolled in a postsecondary
1173 educational institution.
1174 (c) Payment of financial assistance for a young adult who:
1175 1. Has chosen not to remain in foster care and is attending
1176 a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, shall be made
1177 to the community-based care lead agency in order to secure
1178 housing and utilities, with the balance being paid directly to
1179 the young adult until such time the lead agency and the young
1180 adult determine that the young adult can successfully manage the
1181 full amount of the assistance.
1182 2. Has remained in foster care under s. 39.6251 and who is
1183 attending postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, shall
1184 be made directly to the foster parent or group home provider.
1185 3. Community-based care lead agencies or other contracted
1186 providers are prohibited from charging a fee associated with
1187 administering the Road-to-Independence payments.
1188 (d)1. The department must advertise the availability of the
1189 stipend and must provide notification of the criteria and
1190 application procedures for the stipend to children and young
1191 adults leaving, or who were formerly in, foster care;
1192 caregivers; case managers; guidance and family services
1193 counselors; principals or other relevant school administrators;
1194 and guardians ad litem.
1195 2. If the award recipient transfers from one eligible
1196 institution to another and continues to meet eligibility
1197 requirements, the award shall be transferred with the recipient.
1198 3. The department, or an agency under contract with the
1199 department, shall evaluate each Road-to-Independence award for
1200 renewal eligibility on an annual basis. In order to be eligible
1201 for a renewal award for the subsequent year, the young adult
1203 a. Be enrolled for or have completed the number of hours,
1204 or the equivalent, to be considered a full-time student under
1205 subparagraph (a)4., unless the young adult qualifies for an
1206 exception under subparagraph (a)4.
1207 b. Maintain appropriate progress as determined by the
1208 educational institution, except that if the young adult’s
1209 progress is insufficient to renew the award at any time during
1210 the eligibility period, the young adult may restore eligibility
1211 by improving his or her progress to the required level.
1212 4. Funds may be terminated during the interim between an
1213 award and the evaluation for a renewal award if the department,
1214 or an agency under contract with the department, determines that
1215 the award recipient is no longer enrolled in an educational
1216 institution as described in subparagraph (a)4. or is no longer a
1217 resident of this state.
1218 5. The department, or an agency under contract with the
1219 department, shall notify a recipient who is terminated and
1220 inform the recipient of his or her right to appeal.
1221 6. An award recipient who does not qualify for a renewal
1222 award or who chooses not to renew the award may apply for
1223 reinstatement. An application for reinstatement must be made
1224 before the young adult reaches 23 years of age. In order to be
1225 eligible for reinstatement, the young adult must meet the
1226 eligibility criteria and the criteria for award renewal for the
1228 (3) AFTERCARE SERVICES.—
1229 (a) Aftercare services are available to young adults who
1230 have chosen not to remain in foster care after reaching 18 years
1231 of age and who are not receiving financial assistance under
1232 subsection (2) to pursue postsecondary education. These
1233 aftercare services include, but are not limited to, the
1235 1. Mentoring and tutoring.
1236 2. Mental health services and substance abuse counseling.
1237 3. Life skills classes, including credit management and
1238 preventive health activities.
1239 4. Parenting classes.
1240 5. Job and career skills training.
1241 6. Counselor consultations.
1242 7. Temporary financial assistance for emergency situations.
1243 8. Financial literacy skills training.
1245 The specific services to be provided under this paragraph shall
1246 be determined by an assessment of the young adult and may be
1247 provided by the community-based care provider or through
1248 referrals in the community.
1249 (b) Temporary assistance provided to prevent homelessness
1250 shall be provided as expeditiously as possible and within the
1251 limitations defined by the department.
1252 (c) A young adult who has reached 18 years of age but is
1253 not yet 23 years of age who leaves foster care at 18 years of
1254 age may request and is eligible for such services before
1255 reaching 23 years of age.
1256 (4) APPEALS PROCESS.—
1257 (a) The department shall have a procedure by which a young
1258 adult may appeal the department’s refusal to provide Road-to
1259 Independence Program services or support, or the termination of
1260 such services or support if funds for such services or support
1261 are available.
1262 (b) The appeal procedure must be readily accessible to
1263 young adults, must provide for timely decisions, and must
1264 provide for an appeal to the department. The decision of the
1265 department constitutes final agency action and is reviewable by
1266 the court as provided in s. 120.68.
1267 (5) PORTABILITY.—The services provided under this section
1268 are portable across county lines and between lead agencies.
1269 (a) The service needs that are identified in the original
1270 or updated transition plan, pursuant to s. 39.6035, shall be
1271 provided by the lead agency where the young adult is currently
1272 residing but shall be funded by the lead agency who initiated
1273 the transition plan.
1274 (b) The lead agency with primary case management
1275 responsibilities shall provide maintenance payments, case
1276 planning, including a written description of all services that
1277 will assist a child 16 years of age or older in preparing for
1278 the transition from care to independence, as well as regular
1279 case reviews that conform with all federal scheduling and
1280 content requirements, for all children in foster care who are
1281 placed or visiting out-of-state.
1282 (6) ACCOUNTABILITY.—The department shall develop outcome
1283 measures for the program and other performance measures in order
1284 to maintain oversight of the program. No later than January 31
1285 of each year, the department shall prepare a report on the
1286 outcome measures and the department’s oversight activities and
1287 submit the report to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of
1288 the House of Representatives, and the committees with
1289 jurisdiction over issues relating to children and families in
1290 the Senate and the House of Representatives. The report must
1292 (a) An analysis of performance on the outcome measures
1293 developed under this section reported for each community-based
1294 care lead agency and compared with the performance of the
1295 department on the same measures.
1296 (b) A description of the department’s oversight of the
1297 program, including, by lead agency, any programmatic or fiscal
1298 deficiencies found, corrective actions required, and current
1299 status of compliance.
1300 (c) Any rules adopted or proposed under this section since
1301 the last report. For the purposes of the first report, any rules
1302 adopted or proposed under this section must be included.
1303 (7) INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES ADVISORY COUNCIL.—The
1304 secretary shall establish the Independent Living Services
1305 Advisory Council for the purpose of reviewing and making
1306 recommendations concerning the implementation and operation of
1307 the provisions of s. 39.6015 and the Road-to-Independence
1308 Program. The advisory council shall function as specified in
1309 this subsection until the Legislature determines that the
1310 advisory council can no longer provide a valuable contribution
1311 to the department’s efforts to achieve the goals of the services
1312 designed to enable a young adult to live independently.
1313 (a) The advisory council shall assess the implementation
1314 and operation of the Road-to-Independence Program and advise the
1315 department on actions that would improve the ability of these
1316 Road-to-Independence Program services to meet the established
1317 goals. The advisory council shall keep the department informed
1318 of problems being experienced with the services, barriers to the
1319 effective and efficient integration of services and support
1320 across systems, and successes that the system of services has
1321 achieved. The department shall consider, but is not required to
1322 implement, the recommendations of the advisory council.
1323 (b) The advisory council shall report to the secretary on
1324 the status of the implementation of the Road-To-Independence
1325 Program, efforts to publicize the availability of the Road-to
1326 Independence Program, the success of the services, problems
1327 identified, recommendations for department or legislative
1328 action, and the department’s implementation of the
1329 recommendations contained in the Independent Living Services
1330 Integration Workgroup Report submitted to the appropriate
1331 substantive committees of the Legislature by December 31, 2013.
1332 The department shall submit a report by December 31 of each year
1333 to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
1334 the House of Representatives which includes a summary of the
1335 factors reported on by the council and identifies the
1336 recommendations of the advisory council and either describes the
1337 department’s actions to implement the recommendations or
1338 provides the department’s rationale for not implementing the
1340 (c) Members of the advisory council shall be appointed by
1341 the secretary of the department. The membership of the advisory
1342 council must include, at a minimum, representatives from the
1343 headquarters and regional offices of the Department of Children
1344 and Families, community-based care lead agencies, the Department
1345 of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Economic Opportunity, the
1346 Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care
1347 Administration, the State Youth Advisory Board, Workforce
1348 Florida, Inc., the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office, foster
1349 parents, recipients of services and funding through the Road-to
1350 Independence Program, and advocates for children in care. The
1351 secretary shall determine the length of the term to be served by
1352 each member appointed to the advisory council, which may not
1353 exceed 4 years.
1354 (d) The department shall provide administrative support to
1355 the Independent Living Services Advisory Council to accomplish
1356 its assigned tasks. The advisory council shall be afforded
1357 access to all appropriate data from the department, each
1358 community-based care lead agency, and other relevant agencies in
1359 order to accomplish the tasks set forth in this section. The
1360 data collected may not include any information that would
1361 identify a specific child or young adult.
1362 (e) The advisory council report required under paragraph
1363 (b), must include an analysis of the system of independent
1364 living transition services for young adults who reach 18 years
1365 of age while in foster care before completing high school or its
1366 equivalent and recommendations for department or legislative
1367 action. The council shall assess and report on the most
1368 effective method of assisting these young adults to complete
1369 high school or its equivalent by examining the practices of
1370 other states.
1371 (8) PERSONAL PROPERTY.—Property acquired on behalf of a
1372 young adult in this program shall become the personal property
1373 of the young adult and is not subject to the requirements of
1374 chapter 273 relating to state-owned tangible personal property.
1375 Such property continues to be subject to applicable federal
1377 (9) MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR YOUNG ADULTS FORMERLY IN CARE.
1378 The department or community-based care lead agency shall
1379 document that eligible young adults are enrolled in Medicaid
1380 under s. 409.903(4).
1381 (10) RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to
1382 administer this section.
1383 Section 8. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
1384 409.175, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
1385 409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential
1386 child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public
1387 records exemption.—
1388 (3)(a) The total number of children placed in each family
1389 foster home shall be based on the recommendation of the
1390 department, or the community-based care lead agency where one is
1391 providing foster care and related services, based on the needs
1392 of each child in care, the ability of the foster family to meet
1393 the individual needs of each child, including any adoptive or
1394 biological children or young adults remaining in foster care
1395 living in the home, the amount of safe physical plant space, the
1396 ratio of active and appropriate adult supervision, and the
1397 background, experience, and skill of the family foster parents.
1398 Section 9. Subsection (4) of section 409.903, Florida
1399 Statutes, is amended to read:
1400 409.903 Mandatory payments for eligible persons.—The agency
1401 shall make payments for medical assistance and related services
1402 on behalf of the following persons who the department, or the
1403 Social Security Administration by contract with the Department
1404 of Children and Family Services, determines to be eligible,
1405 subject to the income, assets, and categorical eligibility tests
1406 set forth in federal and state law. Payment on behalf of these
1407 Medicaid eligible persons is subject to the availability of
1408 moneys and any limitations established by the General
1409 Appropriations Act or chapter 216.
1410 (4) A child who is eligible under Title IV-E of the Social
1411 Security Act for subsidized board payments, foster care, or
1412 adoption subsidies, and a child for whom the state has assumed
1413 temporary or permanent responsibility and who does not qualify
1414 for Title IV-E assistance but is in foster care, shelter or
1415 emergency shelter care, or subsidized adoption. This category
1416 includes a young adult who is eligible to receive services under
1417 s. 409.1451 (5), until the young adult reaches 21 years of age,
1418 without regard to any income, resource, or categorical
1419 eligibility test that is otherwise required. This category also
1420 includes a person who as a child was eligible under Title IV-E
1421 of the Social Security Act for foster care or the state-provided
1422 foster care and who is a participant in the Road-to-Independence
1424 Section 10. The Department of Children and Families shall
1425 work in collaboration with the Board of Governors, the Florida
1426 College System, and the Department of Education to help address
1427 the need for a comprehensive support structure in the academic
1428 arena to assist children and young adults who have been or
1429 continue to remain in the foster care system in making the
1430 transition from a structured care system into an independent
1431 living setting. Using existing independent living services
1432 funding, the Department of Children and Families is authorized
1433 to contract with the State University System of Florida and the
1434 Florida College System to provide postsecondary educational
1435 campus coaching positions that will be integrated into state
1436 colleges’ and university institutions’ general support services
1437 structure to provide current and former foster care children and
1438 young adults with dedicated, on-campus support. These campus
1439 coaching positions shall be education employees.
1440 Section 11. Effective October 1, 2013, a child or young
1441 adult who is a participant in the Road-to-Independence Program
1442 may continue in the program as it exists through December 31,
1443 2013. Effective January 1, 2014, a child or young adult who is a
1444 participant in the program shall transfer to the program
1445 services provided in this act and his or her monthly stipend may
1446 not be reduced, the method of payment of the monthly stipend may
1447 not be changed, and the young adult may not be required to
1448 change his or her living arrangement. These conditions shall
1449 remain in effect for a child or young adult until he or she
1450 ceases to meet the eligibility requirements under which he or
1451 she entered the Road-to-Independence Program. A child or young
1452 adult applying or reapplying for the Road-to-Independence
1453 Program on or after October 1, 2013, may apply for program
1454 services only as provided in this act.
1455 Section 12. The Department of Children and Families in
1456 collaboration with the Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent
1457 Association and the Quality Parenting Initiative will design and
1458 disseminate training for caregivers on skill building on the
1459 life skills necessary for youth in the foster care system.
1460 Section 13. This act shall take effect January 1, 2014.
1462 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================
1463 And the title is amended as follows:
1464 Delete everything before the enacting clause
1465 and insert:
1466 A bill to be entitled
1467 An act relating to independent living; amending s.
1468 39.013, F.S.; providing that when the court obtains
1469 jurisdiction over a child who has been found to be
1470 dependent, the court retains jurisdiction until the
1471 child reaches 21 years of age; providing exceptions;
1472 amending s. 39.6013, F.S.; conforming a cross
1473 reference; creating s. 39.6035, F.S.; requiring the
1474 Department of Children and Families, the community
1475 based care provider, and others to assist a child in
1476 developing a transition plan after the child reaches
1477 17 years of age and requiring a meeting to develop the
1478 plan; specifying requirements and procedures for the
1479 transition plan; requiring periodic review of the
1480 transition plan; requiring the court to approve the
1481 transition plan before the child leaves foster care
1482 and the court terminates jurisdiction; creating s.
1483 39.6251, F.S.; providing definitions; providing that a
1484 young adult may remain in foster care under certain
1485 circumstances after attaining 18 years of age;
1486 specifying criteria for extended foster care;
1487 providing that the permanency goal for a young adult
1488 who chooses to remain in care is transition from care
1489 to independent living; specifying dates for
1490 eligibility for a young adult to remain in extended
1491 foster care; providing for supervised living
1492 arrangements in extended foster care; authorizing a
1493 young adult to return to foster care under certain
1494 circumstances; specifying services that must be
1495 provided to the young adult; directing the court to
1496 retain jurisdiction and hold review hearings; amending
1497 s. 39.701, F.S.; revising judicial review of foster
1498 care cases; making technical changes; providing
1499 criteria for review hearings for children younger than
1500 18 years of age; providing criteria for review
1501 hearings for children 17 years of age; requiring the
1502 department to verify that the child has certain
1503 documents; requiring the department to update the case
1504 plan; providing for review hearings for young adults
1505 in foster care; amending s. 409.145, F.S.; requiring
1506 the department to develop and implement a system of
1507 care for children in foster care; specifying the goals
1508 of the foster care system; requiring the department to
1509 assist foster care caregivers to achieve quality
1510 parenting; specifying the roles and responsibilities
1511 of caregivers, the department, and others; providing
1512 for transition from a caregiver; requiring information
1513 sharing; providing for the adoption and use of a
1514 “reasonable and prudent parent” standard; defining
1515 terms; providing for the application for the standard
1516 of care; providing for limiting liability of
1517 caregivers; specifying foster care room and board
1518 rates; authorizing community-based care service
1519 providers to pay a supplemental monthly room and board
1520 payment to foster parents for providing certain
1521 services; directing the department to adopt rules;
1522 deleting obsolete provisions; amending s. 409.1451,
1523 F.S.; providing for the Road-to-Independence program;
1524 providing legislative findings and intent; providing
1525 for postsecondary services and supports; specifying
1526 aftercare services; providing for appeals of a
1527 determination of eligibility; providing for
1528 portability of services across county lines and
1529 between lead agencies; providing for accountability;
1530 creating the Independent Living Services Advisory
1531 Council; providing for membership and specifying the
1532 duties and functions of the council; requiring reports
1533 and recommendations; directing the department to adopt
1534 rules; amending s. 409.175; allowing for young adults
1535 remaining in care to be considered in total number of
1536 children placed in a foster home; amending s. 409.903,
1537 F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; directing the
1538 Department of Children and Families to work in
1539 collaboration with the Board of Governors, the Florida
1540 College System, and the Department of Education to
1541 help address the need for a comprehensive support
1542 structure in the academic arena to assist young adults
1543 who have been or remain in the foster care system;
1544 providing for a transfer of services; directing the
1545 Department of Children and Families in collaboration
1546 with the Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent
1547 Association and the Quality Parenting Initiative to
1548 develop design training for caregivers; providing an
1549 effective date.