2010 Florida Statutes
As used in this chapter, the term:
“Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation” or “clearinghouse” means the entity within the Institute for Family Violence Studies in the School of Social Work of the Florida State University, which serves as a statewide resource on supervised visitation issues by providing technical assistance, training, and research.
“Department” means the Department of Children and Family Services.
“Exchange monitoring” means supervision of movement of a child from one parent to the other parent at the start of the visit and back to the first parent at the end of the visit.
“Supervised visitation program” means a program created to offer structured contact between a parent or caregiver and one or more children in the presence of a third person responsible for observing and ensuring the safety of those involved. Supervised visitation programs may also include exchange monitoring of children who are participating in court-ordered visitation programs or exchange monitoring where there has been mutual consent between parties for the purposes of facilitating a visitation.
s. 6, ch. 2007-109; s. 37, ch. 2008-61.
Clearinghouse responsibilities and authority.—
The clearinghouse shall have the following responsibilities, subject to the availability of resources:
To develop standards for supervised visitation programs in order to ensure both the quality of each program and the safety of children and families using program services.
To serve as a clearinghouse on resources and research of supervised visitation programs.
To provide technical assistance and other support services to existing and emerging supervised visitation programs.
To compile a directory of state-supervised visitation programs containing referral information.
To formulate a newsletter for supervised visitation programs.
To organize workshops and conferences that address issues and concerns of supervised visitation programs.
To compile data on the use of supervised visitation programs.
The clearinghouse may apply for grants and accept private contributions.
s. 7, ch. 2007-109.
Standards for supervised visitation and supervised exchange programs.—
Within existing funds from the department, the clearinghouse shall develop standards for supervised visitation programs in order to ensure the safety and quality of each program. Standards must be uniform for all the programs and must address the purposes, policies, standards of practice, program content, security measures, qualifications of providers, training standards, credentials and background screening requirements of staff, information to be provided to the court, and data collection for supervised visitation programs.
The clearinghouse shall use an advisory board to assist in developing the standards. The advisory board must include:
Two members of the executive board of the state chapter of the Supervised Visitation Network, appointed by the president of the state chapter of the Supervised Visitation Network.
A representative of the Office of the State Courts Administrator, appointed by the State Courts Administrator.
A representative of the department, appointed by the secretary of the department.
A representative of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, appointed by the executive director of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
A representative of a local law enforcement agency, appointed by the executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
A circuit court judge who presides over domestic violence proceedings, appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
A circuit court judge who presides over dependency proceedings, appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Two representatives of a supervised visitation program, appointed by the director of the clearinghouse.
A representative of the Commission on Marriage and Family Support Initiatives.
A representative of the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office, appointed by the executive director of the office.
The clearinghouse, in consultation with the advisory board, shall develop criteria and procedures for approving and rejecting certification applications for and monitoring compliance with the certification of a supervised visitation program. The clearinghouse shall recommend the process for phasing in the implementation of the standards and certification procedures and the criteria for distributing funds to eligible programs and designating the state entity that should certify and monitor the supervised visitation programs.
The clearinghouse shall submit a preliminary report containing its recommendations for the uniform standards by December 31, 2007, and a final report of all recommendations, including those related to the certification and monitoring developed to date, by December 31, 2008, to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
s. 8, ch. 2007-109.
Interim minimum standards for supervised visitation programs.—
Until the standards for supervised visitation and supervised exchange programs are developed pursuant to this chapter and a certification and monitoring process is fully implemented, each supervised visitation program must have an agreement with the court and comply with the Minimum Standards for Supervised Visitation Programs Agreement adopted by the Supreme Court on November 17, 1999. Under this order, a supervised visitation program shall enter into an agreement with the circuit court or circuit courts within the geographic jurisdiction of the program attesting to the willingness of the program to comply with the Supreme Court’s standards.
Until the standards for supervised visitation and supervised exchange programs are completed and a certification and monitoring process is fully implemented, a supervised visitation program may not receive grant funds for access and visitation under 42 U.S.C. s. 669b unless the program provides documentation to the state agency administering the grant verifying that the program has entered into an agreement with the circuit court as required under subsection (1). This subsection does not obligate the state agency administering the grant to certify a program’s compliance with the Minimum Standards for Supervised Visitation Programs Agreement.
s. 9, ch. 2007-109.
Referrals involving child sexual abuse.—
Any supervised visitation program that wishes to accept referrals involving child sexual abuse must have an agreement with the court and a current affidavit of compliance on file with the chief judge of the circuit in which the program is located affirming that the program has agreed to comply with the minimum standards contained in an administrative order issued by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on November 17, 1999, and provided the program has a written agreement with the court and with the department that contains policies and guidelines specifically related to child sexual abuse.
The agreement must include provisions for the following:
Program staff who supervise visits or other contact must have specific training in child sexual abuse provided through the Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation documented in personnel files.
The program must have protocols for obtaining background material on the family prior to the initiation of services.
The program must accept only those child sexual abuse referrals for which staff have the requisite background material, training, and security in place to safely monitor contact.
The program must decline referrals of child sexual abuse cases when staff lack necessary training or education, when background material has not been received, or when lack of security may allow revictimization of the child.
The program must suspend visits in cases when the child appears to be traumatized by the visits or when the individual visiting or having other contact engages in inappropriate behavior or violates program rules.
s. 10, ch. 2007-109.