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The Florida Senate

2017 Florida Statutes

F.S. 984.02
984.02 Legislative intent for the juvenile justice system.
(1) GENERAL PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN.It is a purpose of the Legislature that the children of this state be provided with the following protections:
(a) Protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
(b) A permanent and stable home.
(c) A safe and nurturing environment which will preserve a sense of personal dignity and integrity.
(d) Adequate nutrition, shelter, and clothing.
(e) Effective treatment to address physical, social, and emotional needs, regardless of geographical location.
(f) Equal opportunity and access to quality and effective education which will meet the individual needs of each child, and to recreation and other community resources to develop individual abilities.
(g) Access to preventive services.
(h) An independent, trained advocate when intervention is necessary and a skilled guardian or caretaker in a safe environment when alternative placement is necessary.
(2) SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES.The Legislature finds that children in the care of the state’s dependency and delinquency systems need appropriate health care services, that the impact of substance abuse on health indicates the need for health care services to include substance abuse services where appropriate, and that it is in the state’s best interest that such children be provided the services they need to enable them to become and remain independent of state care. In order to provide these services, the state’s dependency and delinquency systems must have the ability to identify and provide appropriate intervention and treatment for children with personal or family-related substance abuse problems. It is therefore the purpose of the Legislature to provide authority for the state to contract with community substance abuse treatment providers for the development and operation of specialized support and overlay services for the dependency and delinquency systems, which will be fully implemented and utilized as resources permit.
(3) JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION.It is the policy of the state with respect to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention to first protect the public from acts of delinquency. In addition, it is the policy of the state to:
(a) Develop and implement effective methods of preventing and reducing acts of delinquency, with a focus on maintaining and strengthening the family as a whole so that children may remain in their homes or communities.
(b) Develop and implement effective programs to prevent delinquency, to divert children from the traditional juvenile justice system, to intervene at an early stage of delinquency, and to provide critically needed alternatives to institutionalization and deep-end commitment.
(c) Provide well-trained personnel, high-quality services, and cost-effective programs within the juvenile justice system.
(d) Increase the capacity of local governments and public and private agencies to conduct rehabilitative treatment programs and to provide research, evaluation, and training services in the field of juvenile delinquency prevention.

The Legislature intends that detention care, in addition to providing secure and safe custody, will promote the health and well-being of the children committed thereto and provide an environment that fosters their social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.

(4) PARENTAL, CUSTODIAL, AND GUARDIAN RESPONSIBILITIES.Parents, custodians, and guardians are deemed by the state to be responsible for providing their children with sufficient support, guidance, and supervision to deter their participation in delinquent acts. The state further recognizes that the ability of parents, custodians, and guardians to fulfill those responsibilities can be greatly impaired by economic, social, behavioral, emotional, and related problems. It is therefore the policy of the Legislature that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that factors impeding the ability of caretakers to fulfill their responsibilities are identified through the delinquency intake process and that appropriate recommendations to address those problems are considered in any judicial or nonjudicial proceeding.
History.s. 88, ch. 97-238.