Florida Senate - 2018 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
Bill No. CS for SB 1650
Senate . House
Comm: RCS .
The Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability
(Montford) recommended the following:
1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
3 Delete lines 103 - 684
4 and insert:
5 Section 2. Subsection (30) of section 39.01, Florida
6 Statutes, is amended to read:
7 39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the
8 context otherwise requires:
9 (30) “Harm” to a child’s health or welfare can occur when
10 any person:
11 (a) Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child
12 physical, mental, or emotional injury. In determining whether
13 harm has occurred, the following factors must be considered in
14 evaluating any physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child:
15 the age of the child; any prior history of injuries to the
16 child; the location of the injury on the body of the child; the
17 multiplicity of the injury; and the type of trauma inflicted.
18 Such injury includes, but is not limited to:
19 1. Willful acts that produce the following specific
21 a. Sprains, dislocations, or cartilage damage.
22 b. Bone or skull fractures.
23 c. Brain or spinal cord damage.
24 d. Intracranial hemorrhage or injury to other internal
26 e. Asphyxiation, suffocation, or drowning.
27 f. Injury resulting from the use of a deadly weapon.
28 g. Burns or scalding.
29 h. Cuts, lacerations, punctures, or bites.
30 i. Permanent or temporary disfigurement.
31 j. Permanent or temporary loss or impairment of a body part
32 or function.
34 As used in this subparagraph, the term “willful” refers to the
35 intent to perform an action, not to the intent to achieve a
36 result or to cause an injury.
37 2. Purposely giving a child poison, alcohol, drugs, or
38 other substances that substantially affect the child’s behavior,
39 motor coordination, or judgment or that result in sickness or
40 internal injury. For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term
41 “drugs” means prescription drugs not prescribed for the child or
42 not administered as prescribed, and controlled substances as
43 outlined in Schedule I or Schedule II of s. 893.03.
44 3. Leaving a child without adult supervision or arrangement
45 appropriate for the child’s age or mental or physical condition,
46 so that the child is unable to care for the child’s own needs or
47 another’s basic needs or is unable to exercise good judgment in
48 responding to any kind of physical or emotional crisis.
49 4. Inappropriate or excessively harsh disciplinary action
50 that is likely to result in physical injury, mental injury as
51 defined in this section, or emotional injury. The significance
52 of any injury must be evaluated in light of the following
53 factors: the age of the child; any prior history of injuries to
54 the child; the location of the injury on the body of the child;
55 the multiplicity of the injury; and the type of trauma
56 inflicted. Corporal discipline may be considered excessive or
57 abusive when it results in any of the following or other similar
59 a. Sprains, dislocations, or cartilage damage.
60 b. Bone or skull fractures.
61 c. Brain or spinal cord damage.
62 d. Intracranial hemorrhage or injury to other internal
64 e. Asphyxiation, suffocation, or drowning.
65 f. Injury resulting from the use of a deadly weapon.
66 g. Burns or scalding.
67 h. Cuts, lacerations, punctures, or bites.
68 i. Permanent or temporary disfigurement.
69 j. Permanent or temporary loss or impairment of a body part
70 or function.
71 k. Significant bruises or welts.
72 (b) Commits, or allows to be committed, sexual battery, as
73 defined in chapter 794, or lewd or lascivious acts, as defined
74 in chapter 800, against the child.
75 (c) Allows, encourages, or forces the sexual exploitation
76 of a child, which includes allowing, encouraging, or forcing a
77 child to:
78 1. Solicit for or engage in prostitution; or
79 2. Engage in a sexual performance, as defined by chapter
81 (d) Exploits a child, or allows a child to be exploited, as
82 provided in s. 450.151.
83 (e) Abandons the child. Within the context of the
84 definition of “harm,” the term “abandoned the child” or
85 “abandonment of the child” means a situation in which the parent
86 or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or
87 legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, has made no
88 significant contribution to the child’s care and maintenance or
89 has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive
90 relationship with the child, or both. For purposes of this
91 paragraph, “establish or maintain a substantial and positive
92 relationship” includes, but is not limited to, frequent and
93 regular contact with the child through frequent and regular
94 visitation or frequent and regular communication to or with the
95 child, and the exercise of parental rights and responsibilities.
96 Marginal efforts and incidental or token visits or
97 communications are not sufficient to establish or maintain a
98 substantial and positive relationship with a child. The term
99 “abandoned” does not include a surrendered newborn infant as
100 described in s. 383.50, a child in need of services as defined
101 in chapter 984, or a family in need of services as defined in
102 chapter 984. The incarceration, repeated incarceration, or
103 extended incarceration of a parent, legal custodian, or
104 caregiver responsible for a child’s welfare may support a
105 finding of abandonment.
106 (f) Neglects the child. Within the context of the
107 definition of “harm,” the term “neglects the child” means that
108 the parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare
109 fails to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter,
110 or health care, although financially able to do so or although
111 offered financial or other means to do so. However, a parent or
112 legal custodian who, by reason of the legitimate practice of
113 religious beliefs, does not provide specified medical treatment
114 for a child may not be considered abusive or neglectful for that
115 reason alone, but such an exception does not:
116 1. Eliminate the requirement that such a case be reported
117 to the department;
118 2. Prevent the department from investigating such a case;
120 3. Preclude a court from ordering, when the health of the
121 child requires it, the provision of medical services by a
122 physician, as defined in this section, or treatment by a duly
123 accredited practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for
124 healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a well
125 recognized church or religious organization.
126 (g) Exposes a child to a controlled substance or alcohol.
127 Exposure to a controlled substance or alcohol is established by:
128 1. A test, administered at birth, which indicated that the
129 child’s blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of
130 alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such
131 substances, the presence of which was not the result of medical
132 treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant; or
133 2. Evidence of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of a
134 controlled substance or alcohol by a parent when the child is
135 demonstrably adversely affected by such usage.
137 As used in this paragraph, the term “controlled substance” means
138 prescription drugs not prescribed for the parent or not
139 administered as prescribed and controlled substances as outlined
140 in Schedule I or Schedule II of s. 893.03.
141 (h) Uses mechanical devices, unreasonable restraints, or
142 extended periods of isolation to control a child.
143 (i) Engages in violent behavior that demonstrates a wanton
144 disregard for the presence of a child and could reasonably
145 result in serious injury to the child.
146 (j) Negligently fails to protect a child in his or her care
147 from inflicted physical, mental, or sexual injury caused by the
148 acts of another.
149 (k) Has allowed a child’s sibling to die as a result of
150 abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
151 (l) Makes the child unavailable for the purpose of impeding
152 or avoiding a protective investigation unless the court
153 determines that the parent, legal custodian, or caregiver was
154 fleeing from a situation involving domestic violence.
156 Harm to a child’s health or welfare can also occur when a new
157 child is born into the family during the course of an open
158 dependency case where a parent or caregiver has been determined
159 to not have protective capacity to safely care for the children
160 in the home and has not substantially complied with the case
161 plan toward successful reunification or met conditions for
162 return of the children into the home.
163 Section 3. Section 39.0136, Florida Statutes, is amended to
165 39.0136 Time limitations; continuances.—
166 (1) The Legislature finds that time is of the essence for
167 establishing permanency for a child in the dependency system.
168 Time limitations are a right of the child which may not be
169 waived, extended, or continued at the request of any party
170 except as provided in this section.
171 (2)(a) All parties and the court must work together to
172 ensure that permanency is achieved as soon as possible for every
173 child through timely performance of their responsibilities under
174 this chapter.
175 (b) The department shall ensure that parents have the
176 information necessary to contact their caseworker. When a new
177 caseworker is assigned to a case, the caseworker shall make a
178 timely and diligent effort to notify the parent and provide
179 updated contact information.
(2) The time limitations in this chapter do not include:
181 (a) Periods of delay resulting from a continuance granted
182 at the request of the child’s counsel or the child’s guardian ad
183 litem or, if the child is of sufficient capacity to express
184 reasonable consent, at the request or with the consent of the
185 child. The court must consider the best interests of the child
186 when determining periods of delay under this section.
187 (b) Periods of delay resulting from a continuance granted
188 at the request of any party if the continuance is granted:
189 1. Because of an unavailability of evidence that is
190 material to the case if the requesting party has exercised due
191 diligence to obtain evidence and there are substantial grounds
192 to believe that the evidence will be available within 30 days.
193 However, if the requesting party is not prepared to proceed
194 within 30 days, any other party may move for issuance of an
195 order to show cause or the court on its own motion may impose
196 appropriate sanctions, which may include dismissal of the
198 2. To allow the requesting party additional time to prepare
199 the case and additional time is justified because of an
200 exceptional circumstance.
201 (c) Reasonable periods of delay necessary to accomplish
202 notice of the hearing to the child’s parent or legal custodian;
203 however, the petitioner shall continue regular efforts to
204 provide notice to the parents during the periods of delay.
205 (4) (3) Notwithstanding subsection (3) (2), in order to
206 expedite permanency for a child, the total time allowed for
207 continuances or extensions of time, including continuances or
208 extensions by the court on its own motion, may not exceed 60
209 days within any 12-month period for proceedings conducted under
210 this chapter.
211 (a) A continuance or extension of time may be granted only
212 for extraordinary circumstances in which it is necessary to
213 preserve the constitutional rights of a party or if substantial
214 evidence exists to demonstrate that without granting a
215 continuance or extension of time the child’s best interests will
216 be harmed.
217 (b) An order entered under this section shall specify the
218 new date for the continued hearing or deadline.
219 (5) (4) Notwithstanding subsection (3) (2), a continuance or
220 an extension of time is limited to the number of days absolutely
221 necessary to complete a necessary task in order to preserve the
222 rights of a party or the best interests of a child.
223 Section 4. Subsections (2) and (5) of section 39.202,
224 Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
225 39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
226 child abuse or neglect.—
227 (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
228 records, excluding the name of the reporter and the names of
229 instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2), school
230 administrators as defined in s. 1012.01(3)(c), and educational
231 support employees as described in s. 1012.01(6)(a) who have
232 provided information during a protective investigation which
233 shall be released only as provided in subsection (5), shall be
234 granted only to the following persons, officials, and agencies:
235 (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of
236 the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons
237 with Disabilities, the Office of Early Learning, or county
238 agencies responsible for carrying out:
239 1. Child or adult protective investigations;
240 2. Ongoing child or adult protective services;
241 3. Early intervention and prevention services;
242 4. Healthy Start services;
243 5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes,
244 child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapter 393,
245 family day care homes, providers who receive school readiness
246 funding under part VI of chapter 1002, or other homes used to
247 provide for the care and welfare of children;
248 6. Employment screening for caregivers in residential group
249 homes; or
250 7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided
251 by certified domestic violence centers working at the
252 department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients.
254 Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice
255 responsible for the provision of services to children, pursuant
256 to chapters 984 and 985.
257 (b) Criminal justice agencies of appropriate jurisdiction.
258 (c) The state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the
259 child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred.
260 (d) The parent or legal custodian of any child who is
261 alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and the
262 child, and their attorneys, including any attorney representing
263 a child in civil or criminal proceedings. This access must shall
264 be made available no later than 60 days after the department
265 receives the initial report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
266 However, any information otherwise made confidential or exempt
267 by law may shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
268 (e) Any person alleged in the report as having caused the
269 abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child. This access must
270 shall be made available no later than 60 days after the
271 department receives the initial report of abuse, abandonment, or
272 neglect and, when the alleged perpetrator is not a parent, must
273 shall be limited to information involving the protective
274 investigation only and may shall not include any information
275 relating to subsequent dependency proceedings. However, any
276 information otherwise made confidential or exempt by law may
277 shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
278 (f) A court upon its finding that access to such records
279 may be necessary for the determination of an issue before the
280 court; however, such access must shall be limited to inspection
281 in camera, unless the court determines that public disclosure of
282 the information contained therein is necessary for the
283 resolution of an issue then pending before it.
284 (g) A grand jury, by subpoena, upon its determination that
285 access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its
286 official business.
287 (h) Any appropriate official of the department or the
288 Agency for Persons with Disabilities who is responsible for:
289 1. Administration or supervision of the department’s
290 program for the prevention, investigation, or treatment of child
291 abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, neglect, or
292 exploitation of a vulnerable adult, when carrying out his or her
293 official function;
294 2. Taking appropriate administrative action concerning an
295 employee of the department or the agency who is alleged to have
296 perpetrated child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse,
297 neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult; or
298 3. Employing and continuing employment of personnel of the
299 department or the agency.
300 (i) Any person authorized by the department who is engaged
301 in the use of such records or information for bona fide
302 research, statistical, or audit purposes. Such individual or
303 entity shall enter into a privacy and security agreement with
304 the department and shall comply with all laws and rules
305 governing the use of such records and information for research
306 and statistical purposes. Information identifying the subjects
307 of such records or information shall be treated as confidential
308 by the researcher and may shall not be released in any form.
309 (j) The Division of Administrative Hearings for purposes of
310 any administrative challenge.
311 (k) Any appropriate official of an a Florida advocacy
312 council in this state investigating a report of known or
313 suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; the Auditor
314 General or the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
315 Accountability for the purpose of conducting audits or
316 examinations pursuant to law; or the guardian ad litem for the
318 (l) Employees or agents of an agency of another state that
319 has comparable jurisdiction to the jurisdiction described in
320 paragraph (a).
321 (m) The Public Employees Relations Commission for the sole
322 purpose of obtaining evidence for appeals filed pursuant to s.
323 447.207. Records may be released only after deletion of all
324 information which specifically identifies persons other than the
326 (n) Employees or agents of the Department of Revenue
327 responsible for child support enforcement activities.
328 (o) Any person in the event of the death of a child
329 determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
330 Information identifying the person reporting abuse, abandonment,
331 or neglect may shall not be released. Any information otherwise
332 made confidential or exempt by law may shall not be released
333 pursuant to this paragraph.
334 (p) An employee of the local school district who is
335 designated as a liaison between the school district and the
336 department pursuant to an interagency agreement required under
337 s. 39.0016 and the principal of a public school, private school,
338 or charter school where the child is a student. Information
339 contained in the records which the liaison or the principal
340 determines are necessary for a school employee to effectively
341 provide a student with educational services may be released to
342 that employee.
343 (q) An employee or agent of the Department of Education who
344 is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of
345 misconduct by a certified educator.
346 (r) Staff of a children’s advocacy center that is
347 established and operated under s. 39.3035.
348 (s) A physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459,
349 a psychologist licensed under chapter 490, or a mental health
350 professional licensed under chapter 491 engaged in the care or
351 treatment of the child.
352 (t) Persons with whom the department is seeking to place
353 the child or to whom placement has been granted, including
354 foster parents for whom an approved home study has been
355 conducted, the designee of a licensed residential group home
356 described in s. 39.523, an approved relative or nonrelative with
357 whom a child is placed pursuant to s. 39.402, preadoptive
358 parents for whom a favorable preliminary adoptive home study has
359 been conducted, adoptive parents, or an adoption entity acting
360 on behalf of preadoptive or adoptive parents.
361 (5)(a) The name of any person reporting child abuse,
362 abandonment, or neglect may not be released to any person other
363 than employees of the department responsible for child
364 protective services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement,
365 the child protection team, or the appropriate state attorney,
366 without the written consent of the person reporting. This does
367 not prohibit the subpoenaing of a person reporting child abuse,
368 abandonment, or neglect when deemed necessary by the court, the
369 state attorney, or the department, provided the fact that such
370 person made the report is not disclosed. Any person who reports
371 a case of child abuse or neglect may, at the time he or she
372 makes the report, request that the department notify him or her
373 that a child protective investigation occurred as a result of
374 the report. Any person specifically listed in s. 39.201(1) who
375 makes a report in his or her official capacity may also request
376 a written summary of the outcome of the investigation. The
377 department must shall mail such a notice to the reporter within
378 10 days after completing the child protective investigation.
379 (b) The names of instructional personnel as defined in s.
380 1012.01(2), school administrators as defined in s.
381 1012.01(3)(c), and educational support employees as described in
382 s. 1012.01(6)(a) who have provided information during a
383 protective investigation may not be released to any person other
384 than employees of the department responsible for child
385 protective services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement,
386 the child protection team, or the appropriate state attorney
387 without the written consent of such personnel.
388 Section 5. Paragraph (f) of subsection (14) and subsections
389 (15) and (18) of section 39.402, Florida Statutes, are amended
390 to read:
391 39.402 Placement in a shelter.—
392 (14) The time limitations in this section do not include:
393 (f) Continuances or extensions of time may not total more
394 than 60 days for all parties, and the court on its own motion,
395 within any 12-month period during proceedings under this
396 chapter. A continuance or extension beyond the 60 days may be
397 granted only for extraordinary circumstances necessary to
398 preserve the constitutional rights of a party or when
399 substantial evidence demonstrates that the child’s best
400 interests will be affirmatively harmed without the granting of a
401 continuance or extension of time. When a continuance or
402 extension is granted, the order shall specify the new date for
403 the continued hearing or deadline.
404 (15) The department, at the conclusion of the shelter
405 hearing, shall make available to parents or legal custodians
406 seeking voluntary services, any referral information necessary
407 for participation in such identified services to allow the
408 parents to begin the services immediately. The parents’ or legal
409 custodians’ participation in the services shall not be
410 considered an admission or other acknowledgment of the
411 allegations in the shelter petition.
412 (18) The court shall advise the parents in plain language
413 what is expected of them to achieve reunification with their
414 child, including that: ,
415 (a) Parents must take action to comply with the case plan
416 so reunification with the child may occur within the shortest
417 period of time possible, but not more than 1 year after removal
418 or adjudication of the child.
419 (b) Parents must stay in contact with their attorney and
420 their caseworker. If the parents’ phone number, mailing address,
421 or e-mail address changes, the parents must provide the attorney
422 and caseworker with updated contact information.
423 (c) Parents must notify the parties and the court of
424 barriers to completing case plan tasks within a reasonable time
425 after discovering such barriers.
426 (d) If the parents fail to substantially comply with the
427 case plan, their parental rights may be terminated and that the
428 child’s out-of-home placement may become permanent.
429 Section 6. Paragraph (c) of subsection (7) of section
430 39.507, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
431 39.507 Adjudicatory hearings; orders of adjudication.—
433 (c) If a court adjudicates a child dependent and the child
434 is in out-of-home care, the court shall inquire of the parent or
435 parents whether the parents have relatives who might be
436 considered as a placement for the child. The parent or parents
437 shall provide the court and all parties with identification and
438 location information for such relatives. The court shall advise
439 the parents in plain language that: ,
440 1. Parents must take action to comply with the case plan so
441 reunification with the child may occur within the shortest
442 period of time possible, but not more than 1 year after removal
443 or adjudication of the child.
444 2. Parents must stay in contact with their attorney and
445 their caseworker. If the parents’ phone number, mailing address,
446 or e-mail address changes, the parents must provide the attorney
447 and caseworker with updated contact information.
448 3. Parents must notify the parties and the court of
449 barriers to completing case plan tasks within a reasonable time
450 after discovering such barriers.
451 4. If the parents fail to substantially comply with the
452 case plan, their parental rights may be terminated and that the
453 child’s out-of-home placement may become permanent. The parent
454 or parents shall provide to the court and all parties
455 identification and location information of the relatives.
456 Section 7. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
457 39.521, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
458 39.521 Disposition hearings; powers of disposition.—
459 (1) A disposition hearing shall be conducted by the court,
460 if the court finds that the facts alleged in the petition for
461 dependency were proven in the adjudicatory hearing, or if the
462 parents or legal custodians have consented to the finding of
463 dependency or admitted the allegations in the petition, have
464 failed to appear for the arraignment hearing after proper
465 notice, or have not been located despite a diligent search
466 having been conducted.
467 (a) A written case plan and a family functioning assessment
468 prepared by an authorized agent of the department must be
469 approved by the court. The department must file the case plan
470 and the family functioning assessment with the court, serve
471 copies a copy of the case plan on the parents of the child, and
472 provide copies a copy of the case plan to the representative of
473 the guardian ad litem program, if the program has been
474 appointed, and copies a copy to all other parties:
475 1. Not less than 72 hours before the disposition hearing,
476 if the disposition hearing occurs on or after the 60th day after
477 the date the child was placed in out-of-home care. All such case
478 plans must be approved by the court.
479 2. Not less than 72 hours before the case plan acceptance
480 hearing, if the disposition hearing occurs before the 60th day
481 after the date the child was placed in out-of-home care and a
482 case plan has not been submitted pursuant to this paragraph, or
483 if the court does not approve the case plan at the disposition
484 hearing. The case plan acceptance hearing must occur within 30
485 days after the disposition hearing to review and approve the
486 case plan.
487 Section 8. Subsection (1) of section 39.522, Florida
488 Statutes, is amended to read:
489 39.522 Postdisposition change of custody.—The court may
490 change the temporary legal custody or the conditions of
491 protective supervision at a postdisposition hearing, without the
492 necessity of another adjudicatory hearing.
493 (1) At any time before a child achieves the permanency
494 placement approved at the permanency hearing, a child who has
495 been placed in the child’s own home under the protective
496 supervision of an authorized agent of the department, in the
497 home of a relative, in the home of a legal custodian, or in some
498 other place may be brought before the court by the department or
499 by any other interested person, upon the filing of a motion
500 petition alleging a need for a change in the conditions of
501 protective supervision or the placement. If the parents or other
502 legal custodians deny the need for a change, the court shall
503 hear all parties in person or by counsel, or both. Upon the
504 admission of a need for a change or after such hearing, the
505 court shall enter an order changing the placement, modifying the
506 conditions of protective supervision, or continuing the
507 conditions of protective supervision as ordered. The standard
508 for changing custody of the child shall be the best interest of
509 the child. When applying this standard, the court shall consider
510 the continuity of the child’s placement in the same out-of-home
511 residence as a factor when determining the best interests of the
512 child. If the child is not placed in foster care, then the new
513 placement for the child must meet the home study criteria and
514 court approval pursuant to this chapter.
515 Section 9. Present subsections (4) through (8) of section
516 39.6011, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (5)
517 through (9), respectively, a new subsection (4) is added to that
518 section, and paragraph (e) of subsection (2), subsection (3),
519 and present subsection (6) of that section are amended, to read:
520 39.6011 Case plan development.—
521 (2) The case plan must be written simply and clearly in
522 English and, if English is not the principal language of the
523 child’s parent, to the extent possible in the parent’s principal
524 language. Each case plan must contain:
525 (e) A written notice to the parent that it is the parents’
526 responsibility to take action to comply with the case plan so
527 reunification with the child may occur within the shortest
528 period of time possible, but not more than 1 year after removal
529 or adjudication of the child; the parent must notify the parties
530 and the court of barriers to completing case plan tasks within a
531 reasonable time after discovering such barriers; failure of the
532 parent to substantially comply with the case plan may result in
533 the termination of parental rights; , and that a material breach
534 of the case plan by the parent’s action or inaction may result
535 in the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights
536 sooner than the compliance period set forth in the case plan.
537 (3) The case plan must be signed by all parties, except
538 that the signature of a child may be waived if the child is not
539 of an age or capacity to participate in the case-planning
540 process. Signing the case plan constitutes an acknowledgment
541 that the case plan has been developed by the parties and that
542 they are in agreement as to the terms and conditions contained
543 in the case plan. The refusal of a parent to sign the case plan
544 does not prevent the court from accepting the case plan if the
545 case plan is otherwise acceptable to the court. Signing the case
546 plan does not constitute an admission to any allegation of
547 abuse, abandonment, or neglect and does not constitute consent
548 to a finding of dependency or termination of parental rights.
549 (4) Before signing the case plan, the department shall
550 explain the provisions of the plan to all persons involved in
551 its implementation, including, when appropriate, the child. The
552 department shall ensure that the parent has contact information
553 for all entities necessary to complete the tasks in the plan.
554 The department shall explain the strategies included in the plan
555 that the parent can use to overcome barriers to case plan
556 compliance and that if a barrier is discovered and the parties
557 are not actively working to overcome such barrier, the parent
558 must notify the parties and the court within a reasonable time
559 after discovering such barrier.
560 (7) (6) After the case plan has been developed, the
561 department shall adhere to the following procedural
563 (a) If the parent’s substantial compliance with the case
564 plan requires the department to provide services to the parents
565 or the child and the parents agree to begin compliance with the
566 case plan before the case plan’s acceptance by the court, the
567 department shall make the appropriate referrals for services
568 that will allow the parents to begin the agreed-upon tasks and
569 services immediately.
570 (b) All other referrals for services shall be completed as
571 soon as possible, but not more than 7 days after the date of the
572 case plan approval, unless the case plan specifies that a task
573 may not be undertaken until another specified task has been
575 (c) (b) After the case plan has been agreed upon and signed
576 by the parties, a copy of the plan must be given immediately to
577 the parties, including the child if appropriate, and to other
578 persons as directed by the court.
579 1. A case plan must be prepared, but need not be submitted
580 to the court, for a child who will be in care no longer than 30
581 days unless that child is placed in out-of-home care a second
582 time within a 12-month period.
583 2. In each case in which a child has been placed in out-of
584 home care, a case plan must be prepared within 60 days after the
585 department removes the child from the home and shall be
586 submitted to the court before the disposition hearing for the
587 court to review and approve.
588 3. After jurisdiction attaches, all case plans must be
589 filed with the court, and a copy provided to all the parties
590 whose whereabouts are known, not less than 3 business days
591 before the disposition hearing. The department shall file with
592 the court, and provide copies to the parties, all case plans
593 prepared before jurisdiction of the court attached.
594 Section 10. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section
595 39.6012, Florida Statutes, is amended, paragraph (d) is added to
596 subsection (1) of that section, to read:
597 39.6012 Case plan tasks; services.—
598 (1) The services to be provided to the parent and the tasks
599 that must be completed are subject to the following:
600 (b) The case plan must describe each of the tasks with
601 which the parent must comply and the services to be provided to
602 the parent, specifically addressing the identified problem,
604 1. The type of services or treatment.
605 2. The date the department will provide each service or
606 referral for the service if the service is being provided by the
607 department or its agent.
608 3. The date by which the parent must complete each task.
609 4. The frequency of services or treatment provided. The
610 frequency of the delivery of services or treatment provided
611 shall be determined by the professionals providing the services
612 or treatment on a case-by-case basis and adjusted according to
613 their best professional judgment.
614 5. The location of the delivery of the services.
615 6. The staff of the department or service provider
616 accountable for the services or treatment.
617 7. A description of the measurable objectives, including
618 the timeframes specified for achieving the objectives of the
619 case plan and addressing the identified problem.
620 8. Strategies to overcome barriers to case plan compliance,
621 including, but not limited to, the provision of contact
622 information, information on acceptable alternative services or
623 providers, and an explanation that the parent must notify the
624 parties within a reasonable time of discovering a barrier that
625 the parties are not actively working to overcome.
626 (d) Parents must provide accurate contact information to
627 the department or the contracted case management agency and
628 update such information as appropriate. Parents must make
629 proactive contact with the department or the contracted case
630 management agency at least every 14 calendar days to provide
631 information on the status of case plan task completion, barriers
632 to completion, and plans toward reunification.
633 Section 11. Present subsection (6) of section 39.6013,
634 Florida Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (7), a new
635 subsection (6) is added to that section, and present subsection
636 (7) is amended, to read:
637 39.6013 Case plan amendments.—
638 (6) When determining whether to amend the case plan, the
639 court must consider the length of time the case has been open,
640 level of parental engagement to date, number of case plan tasks
641 complied with, child’s type of placement and attachment, and
642 potential for successful reunification.
643 (8) (7) Amendments must include service interventions that
644 are the least intrusive into the life of the parent and child,
645 must focus on clearly defined objectives, and must provide the
646 most efficient path to quick reunification or permanent
647 placement given the circumstances of the case and the child’s
648 need for safe and proper care. A copy of the amended plan must
649 be immediately given to the persons identified in s.
650 39.6011(7)(c) s. 39.6011(6)(b).
651 Section 12. Present subsections (7) through (10) of section
652 39.621, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (8)
653 through (11), respectively, subsection (5) and present
654 subsections (9), (10), and (11) are amended, and a new
655 subsection (7) is added to that section, to read:
656 39.621 Permanency determination by the court.—
657 (5) At the permanency hearing, the court shall determine:
658 (a) Whether the current permanency goal for the child is
659 appropriate or should be changed;
660 (b) When the child will achieve one of the permanency
661 goals; and
662 (c) Whether the department has made reasonable efforts to
663 finalize the permanency plan currently in effect; and .
664 (d) Whether the frequency, duration, manner, and level of
665 engagement of the parent or legal guardian’s visitation with the
666 child meets the case plan requirements.
667 (7) If the court determines that the child’s goal is
668 appropriate but the child will be in out-of-home care for more
669 than 12 months before achieving permanency, in those cases where
670 the goal is reunification or adoption, the court shall hold
671 permanency status hearings for the child every 60 days until the
672 child reaches permanency or the court makes a determination that
673 it is in the child’s best interest to change the permanency
675 (10) (9) The case plan must list the tasks necessary to
676 finalize the permanency placement and shall be updated at the
677 permanency hearing unless the child will achieve permanency
678 within 60 days after the hearing if necessary. If a concurrent
679 case plan is in place, the court may choose between the
680 permanency goal options presented and shall approve the goal
681 that is in the child’s best interest.
682 (11) (10) The permanency placement is intended to continue
683 until the child reaches the age of majority and may not be
684 disturbed absent a finding by the court that the circumstances
685 of the permanency placement are no longer in the best interest
686 of the child.
687 (a) If, after a child has achieved the permanency placement
688 approved at the permanency hearing, a parent who has not had his
689 or her parental rights terminated makes a motion for
690 reunification or increased contact with the child, the court
691 shall hold a hearing to determine whether the dependency case
692 should be reopened and whether there should be a modification of
693 the order.
694 (b) At the hearing, the parent must demonstrate that the
695 safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health
696 of the child is not endangered by the modification.
697 (c) (11) The court shall base its decision concerning any
698 motion by a parent for reunification or increased contact with a
699 child on the effect of the decision on the safety, well-being,
700 and physical and emotional health of the child. Factors that
701 must be considered and addressed in the findings of fact of the
702 order on the motion must include:
703 1. (a) The compliance or noncompliance of the parent with
704 the case plan;
705 2. (b) The circumstances which caused the child’s dependency
706 and whether those circumstances have been resolved;
707 3. (c) The stability and longevity of the child’s placement;
708 4. (d) The preferences of the child, if the child is of
709 sufficient age and understanding to express a preference;
710 5. (e) The recommendation of the current custodian; and
711 6. (f) The recommendation of the guardian ad litem, if one
712 has been appointed.
713 Section 13. Paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of section
714 39.701, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
715 39.701 Judicial review.—
716 (2) REVIEW HEARINGS FOR CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 18 YEARS OF
718 (d) Orders.—
719 1. Based upon the criteria set forth in paragraph (c) and
720 the recommended order of the citizen review panel, if any, the
721 court shall determine whether or not the social service agency
722 shall initiate proceedings to have a child declared a dependent
723 child, return the child to the parent, continue the child in
724 out-of-home care for a specified period of time, or initiate
725 termination of parental rights proceedings for subsequent
726 placement in an adoptive home. Amendments to the case plan must
727 be prepared as prescribed in s. 39.6013. If the court finds that
728 the prevention or reunification efforts of the department will
729 allow the child to remain safely at home or be safely returned
730 to the home, the court shall allow the child to remain in or
731 return to the home after making a specific finding of fact that
732 the reasons for the creation of the case plan have been remedied
733 to the extent that the child’s safety, well-being, and physical,
734 mental, and emotional health will not be endangered.
735 2. The court shall return the child to the custody of the
736 parents at any time it determines that they have substantially
737 complied with the case plan, if the court is satisfied that
738 reunification will not be detrimental to the child’s safety,
739 well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health.
740 3. If, in the opinion of the court, the social service
741 agency has not complied with its obligations as specified in the
742 written case plan, the court may find the social service agency
743 in contempt, shall order the social service agency to submit its
744 plans for compliance with the agreement, and shall require the
745 social service agency to show why the child could not safely be
746 returned to the home of the parents.
747 4. If, at any judicial review, the court finds that the
748 parents have failed to substantially comply with the case plan
749 to the degree that further reunification efforts are without
750 merit and not in the best interest of the child, on its own
751 motion, the court may order the filing of a petition for
752 termination of parental rights, whether or not the time period
753 as contained in the case plan for substantial compliance has
755 5. Within 6 months after the date that the child was placed
756 in shelter care, the court shall conduct a judicial review
757 hearing to review the child’s permanency goal as identified in
758 the case plan. At the hearing the court shall make written
759 findings regarding the parent or legal guardian’s compliance
760 with the case plan and demonstrable change in parental capacity
761 to achieve timely reunification likelihood of the child’s
762 reunification with the parent or legal custodian within 12
763 months after the removal of the child from the home. The court
764 shall consider the frequency, duration, manner, and level of
765 engagement of the parent or legal custodian’s visitation with
766 the child in compliance with the case plan. If the court makes a
769 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================
770 And the title is amended as follows:
771 Delete lines 6 - 44
772 and insert:
773 dependency proceedings; amending s. 39.01, F.S.;
774 expanding the definition of the term “harm” to
775 encompass infants born under certain circumstances;
776 amending s. 39.0136, F.S.; requiring cooperation
777 between certain parties and the court to achieve
778 permanency for a child in a timely manner; requiring
779 certain court orders to specify certain deadlines;
780 amending s. 39.202, F.S.; prohibiting the Department
781 of Children and Families from releasing the names of
782 certain persons who have provided information during a
783 protective investigation except under certain
784 circumstances; amending s. 39.402, F.S.; providing
785 that time limitations governing placement of a child
786 in a shelter do not include continuances requested by
787 the court; providing limitations on continuances;
788 providing requirements for parents to achieve
789 reunification with the child; amending s. 39.507,
790 F.S.; requiring the court to advise the parents during
791 an adjudicatory hearing of certain actions that are
792 required to achieve reunification; amending s. 39.521,
793 F.S.; requiring the department to provide copies of
794 the family functioning assessment to certain persons;
795 amending s. 39.522, F.S.; providing conditions for the
796 court to consider the continuity of the child’s
797 placement in the same out-of-home residence before the
798 permanency placement is approved in a postdisposition
799 proceeding to modify custody; amending s. 39.6011,
800 F.S.; requiring a case plan for a child receiving
801 services from the department to include a protocol for
802 parents to achieve reunification with the child;
803 providing that certain action or inaction by a parent
804 may result in termination of parental rights;
805 requiring the department to provide certain
806 information to a parent before signing a case plan;
807 providing a timeframe for referral for services;
808 amending s. 39.6012, F.S.; requiring a case plan to
809 contain certain information; requiring parents or
810 legal guardians to provide certain information to the
811 department or contracted case management agency and to
812 update the information as appropriate; requiring the
813 parents or legal guardians to make proactive contact
814 with the department or contracted case management
815 agency; amending s. 39.6013, F.S.; requiring the court
816 to consider certain factors when determining whether
817 to amend a case plan; conforming a cross-reference;
818 amending s. 39.621, F.S.; requiring the court to
819 determine certain factors at a permanency hearing;
820 requiring the court to hold permanency hearings within
821 specified timeframes until permanency is determined;
822 amending s. 39.701, F.S.; revising the findings a
823 court must make at a judicial review hearing relating
824 to a child’s permanency goal; requiring the department
825 to file a