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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

Section 414.1251, Florida Statutes 2004

414.1251  Learnfare program.--

(1)  The department shall reduce the temporary cash assistance for a participant's eligible dependent child or for an eligible teenage participant who has not been exempted from education participation requirements, if the eligible dependent child or eligible teenage participant has been identified either as a habitual truant, pursuant to s. 1003.01(8), or as a dropout, pursuant to s. 1003.01(9). For a student who has been identified as a habitual truant, the temporary cash assistance must be reinstated after a subsequent grading period in which the child's attendance has substantially improved. For a student who has been identified as a dropout, the temporary cash assistance must be reinstated after the student enrolls in a public school, receives a high school diploma or its equivalency, enrolls in preparation for the General Educational Development Tests, or enrolls in other educational activities approved by the district school board. Good cause exemptions from the rule of unexcused absences include the following:

(a)  The student is expelled from school and alternative schooling is not available.

(b)  No licensed day care is available for a child of teen parents subject to Learnfare.

(c)  Prohibitive transportation problems exist (e.g., to and from day care).

Within 10 days after sanction notification, the participant parent of a dependent child or the teenage participant may file an internal fair hearings process review procedure appeal, and no sanction shall be imposed until the appeal is resolved.

(2)  Each participant with a school-age child is required to have a conference with an appropriate school official of the child's school during each semester to assure that the participant is involved in the child's educational progress and is aware of any existing attendance or academic problems. The conference must address acceptable student attendance, grades, and behavior and must be documented by the school and reported to the department. The department shall notify a school of any student in attendance at that school who is a participant in the Learnfare program in order that the required conferences are held. A participant who without good cause fails to attend a conference with a school official is subject to the sanction provided in subsection (1). The temporary cash assistance shall be reinstated after the participant attends the conference with the appropriate school official and that conference is documented by the school and reported to the department.

(3)  The department shall develop an electronic data transfer system to enable the department to collect, report, and share data accurately and efficiently. In order to ensure accountability and assess the effectiveness of the Learnfare program, the department shall compile information including, but not limited to, the number of students and families reported by school districts as out of compliance, the number of students and families sanctioned as a result, and the number of students and families reinstated after becoming compliant. The information compiled shall be submitted in the form of an annual report to the presiding officers of the Legislature by March 1.

History.--s. 1, ch. 2001-149; s. 1001, ch. 2002-387.