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The Florida Senate

2007 Florida Statutes

Comprehensive residential group care services to children who have extraordinary needs.
Section 409.1676, Florida Statutes 2007

409.1676  Comprehensive residential group care services to children who have extraordinary needs.--

(1)  It is the intent of the Legislature to provide comprehensive residential group care services, including residential care, case management, and other services, to children in the child protection system who have extraordinary needs. These services are to be provided in a residential group care setting by a not-for-profit corporation or a local government entity under a contract with the Department of Children and Family Services or by a lead agency as described in s. 409.1671 These contracts should be designed to provide an identified number of children with access to a full array of services for a fixed price. Further, it is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Juvenile Justice establish an interagency agreement by December 1, 2002, which describes respective agency responsibilities for referral, placement, service provision, and service coordination for dependent and delinquent youth who are referred to these residential group care facilities. The agreement must require interagency collaboration in the development of terms, conditions, and performance outcomes for residential group care contracts serving the youth referred who have been adjudicated both dependent and delinquent.

(2)  As used in this section, the term:

(a)  "Child with extraordinary needs" means a dependent child who has serious behavioral problems or who has been determined to be without the options of either reunification with family or adoption.

(b)  "Residential group care" means a living environment for children who have been adjudicated dependent and are expected to be in foster care for at least 6 months with 24-hour-awake staff or live-in group home parents or staff. Each facility must be appropriately licensed in this state as a residential child caring agency as defined in s. 409.175(2)(j) and must be accredited by July 1, 2005. A residential group care facility serving children having a serious behavioral problem as defined in this section must have available staff or contract personnel with the clinical expertise, credentials, and training to provide services identified in subsection (4).

(c)  "Serious behavioral problems" means behaviors of children who have been assessed by a licensed master's-level human-services professional to need at a minimum intensive services but who do not meet the criteria of s. 394.492(7). A child with an emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(5) or (6) may be served in residential group care unless a determination is made by a mental health professional that such a setting is inappropriate. A child having a serious behavioral problem must have been determined in the assessment to have at least one of the following risk factors:

1.  An adjudication of delinquency and be on conditional release status with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

2.  A history of physical aggression or violent behavior toward self or others, animals, or property within the past year.

3.  A history of setting fires within the past year.

4.  A history of multiple episodes of running away from home or placements within the past year.

5.  A history of sexual aggression toward other youth.

(3)  The department, in accordance with a specific appropriation for this program, shall contract with a not-for-profit corporation, a local government entity, or the lead agency that has been established in accordance with s. 409.1671 for the performance of residential group care services described in this section. A lead agency that is currently providing residential care may provide this service directly with the approval of the local community alliance. The department or a lead agency may contract for more than one site in a county if that is determined to be the most effective way to achieve the goals set forth in this section.

(4)  The lead agency, the contracted not-for-profit corporation, or the local government entity is responsible for a comprehensive assessment, residential care, transportation, access to behavioral health services, recreational activities, clothing, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses associated with caring for these children; for necessary arrangement for or provision of educational services; and for assuring necessary and appropriate health and dental care.

(5)  The department may transfer all casework responsibilities for children served under this program to the entity that provides this service, including case management and development and implementation of a case plan in accordance with current standards for child protection services. When the department establishes this program in a community that has a lead agency as described in s. 409.1671, the casework responsibilities must be transferred to the lead agency.

(6)  This section does not prohibit any provider of these services from appropriately billing Medicaid for services rendered, from contracting with a local school district for educational services, or from earning federal or local funding for services provided, as long as two or more funding sources do not pay for the same specific service that has been provided to a child.

(7)  The lead agency, not-for-profit corporation, or local government entity has the legal authority for children served under this program, as provided in chapter 39 or this chapter, as appropriate, to enroll the child in school, to sign for a driver's license for the child, to cosign loans and insurance for the child, to sign for medical treatment, and to authorize other such activities.

(8)  The department shall provide technical assistance as requested and contract management services.

(9)  The provisions of this section shall be implemented to the extent of available appropriations contained in the annual General Appropriations Act for such purpose.

(10)  The department may adopt rules necessary to administer this section.

History.--s. 5, ch. 2001-68; s. 5, ch. 2002-219.