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The Florida Senate

2007 Florida Statutes

Shelter and foster care services to dependent children; pilot programs.
Section 409.803, Florida Statutes 2007

409.803  Shelter and foster care services to dependent children; pilot programs.--

(1)  It is the intent of the Legislature to:

(a)  Facilitate the reunification of families or the permanent placement of a child pursuant to 1part II of chapter 39 and chapter 984.

(b)  Provide an environment that enhances the physical, social, and emotional development of children in shelter and foster care.

(c)  Provide the necessary services and treatment resources to meet the needs of children in shelter and foster care.

(d)  Provide incentives and procedures that facilitate the recruitment and retention of quality shelter and foster homes.

(e)  Allow assistance to shelter and foster care homes so that they may adequately provide for the proper care and well-being of children without placing an unnecessary economic burden on these homes.

(2)  The Department of Children and Family Services shall establish a 2-year pilot program in one rural and one urban county to provide the funding incentives and resources to fully provide assistance and services to shelter and foster homes and children in their care. The pilot program shall:

(a)  Make available for each child in shelter and foster care discretionary financial resources of at least $500 annually to meet his or her special needs, including, but not limited to, the following:

1.  Medical services.

2.  Dental care.

3.  Mental health services.

4.  Accelerated family reunification services or other permanency planning.

5.  Specialized educational or vocational skills services.

6.  Social and recreational services.

7.  Respite care services.

8.  Advocacy services.

(b)  Arrange for and provide specialized training for foster and shelter parents to help care for the children already in their home and to prepare them for the individual needs of children pending placement. The goal of this training is to provide quality care for the children in placement and may include, but is not limited to, the following subject areas:

1.  Supervision of specified illnesses, medical conditions, and injuries that can be provided by trained caregivers.

2.  Behavior management and discipline.

3.  Child care decisions.

4.  Legal protections for abuse victims.

5.  Foster parent participation in reunification or other permanency planning efforts.

6.  Understanding and caring for the sexually abused child.

7.  Handling the adolescent in temporary care.

(c)  Provide to all shelter and foster care homes in the pilot program:

1.  Liability insurance coverage for damages and injuries caused by children in their care pursuant to the provisions of the State Institutions Claims Program, s. 402.181

2.  Regularly scheduled respite care or temporary relief care by joint-selected and trained homemakers.

3.  Assistance by direct service aides for transporting children to medical and other appointments scheduled for the children in their care.

(d)  Make available to the shelter and foster care units in the pilot program the following additional staff resources:

1.  Foster care staffing at 100 percent of need as determined by the department's Workload Standards Study.

2.  Intensive training on child growth and development, abuse treatment needs, and permanency planning.

3.  Other support assistance to pilot program staff as needed to accelerate reunification or other permanency planning decisions.

(3)  The department shall develop a request for proposal to include procedures and criteria for the competitive acceptance of proposals from participating districts. Each district seeking a pilot program pursuant to this section shall submit to the department a proposal, as specified in the request for proposal, which shall include, but not be limited to, documentation of cooperative agreements or support from local public or private agencies and organizations for the pilot program. Upon approval of the proposals, the department shall provide each pilot program district the sufficient funds within appropriations made available to establish the pilot program.

(4)  The department is authorized to establish other policy provisions which are necessary to achieve the objectives specific to the pilot program.

(5)  The department's inspector general shall conduct or contract for a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot program. The evaluation report shall address the impact on the child, the population served, the effect on family reunification and other permanency planning, the effect on recruitment and retention of shelter homes and foster family homes, cost, the impact of the provision of services to at-risk families and children on the number of children entering shelter care or foster care, the achievement of objectives, and recommendations for the expansion or modification of the pilot programs to other districts.

History.--s. 3, ch. 88-337; s. 69, ch. 96-418; s. 200, ch. 97-101; s. 40, ch. 98-280.

1Note.--Provisions comprising part II of chapter 39, relating to dependency cases, have, in many cases, been repealed or transferred to other locations by ch. 98-403.