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The Florida Senate

2007 Florida Statutes

Model comprehensive residential services programs.
Section 409.1677, Florida Statutes 2007

409.1677  Model comprehensive residential services programs.--

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

(a)  "Residential group care" means a living environment for children who have been adjudicated dependent and are expected to be in foster care for a minimum of 6 months with 24-hour-awake staff or live-in group home parents or staff. Beginning July 1, 2001, all facilities must be appropriately licensed in this state, and they must be accredited by July 1, 2005.

(b)  "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(6) or (7). A child with an emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(5) may be served in residential group care unless a determination is made by a mental health professional that such a setting is inappropriate.

(2)  The department shall establish a model comprehensive residential services program in Dade and Manatee Counties through a contract with the designated lead agency established in accordance with s. 409.1671 or with a private entity capable of providing residential group care and home-based care and experienced in the delivery of a range of services to foster children, if no lead agency exists. These model programs are to serve that portion of eligible children within each county which is specified in the contract, based on funds appropriated, to include a full array of services for a fixed price. The private entity or lead agency is responsible for all programmatic functions necessary to carry out the intent of this section.

(3)  Each model must include:

(a)  A focus on serving the full range of children in foster care, including those who have specialized needs, such as children who are unlikely to be reunited with their families or placed in adoptive homes; sibling groups; children who have serious behavioral problems; and children who are victims of sexual abuse.

(b)  For each child who is in care, the provision of or arrangements for a comprehensive assessment; residential care; transportation; behavioral health services; recreational activities; clothing, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses associated with caring for these children; educational services; necessary and appropriate health and dental care; legal services; and aftercare services.

(c)  A commitment and ability to find and use innovative approaches to address the problems in the traditional foster care system, such as high caregiver turnover, disrupted and multiple placements, runaway behavior, and abusive or nontherapeutic care.

(d)  The provision of a full range of residential services tailored to the individual needs of each child in care, including group homes for initial assessment and for stabilization; professional and traditional foster homes; residential group care provided in a setting that is homelike and provides care in residences housing no more than 12 children and staffed with full-time, appropriately trained house parents; and independent living apartments. The programs are designed for children who must enter the foster care system, but the use of placement with relatives as part of a child's care is encouraged.

(e)  The provision of the full range of administrative services necessary to operate the program.

(f)  Specific eligibility criteria established in the contract, including a "no-reject-no-eject" commitment with the described eligible children, unless the court determines that the placement is not in a child's best interest.

(g)  An ability, through its trained, multidisciplinary staff, to facilitate the achievement of the permanency goals of the children who are in care.

(h)  The design and utilization of a retired-volunteer mentor program that would make use of the skills of retired individuals in helping to meet the needs of both the children in care and their caregivers.

(i)  The willingness and ability to assume financial risk for the care of children referred to the program under the contract.

(j)  The willingness and ability to serve as a research and teaching laboratory for departmental and community-based care programs throughout the state in an effort to improve the quality of foster care.

(4)  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.

(5)  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.

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

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

History.--s. 6, ch. 2001-68.