Florida Senate - 2013                                    SB 1036
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs
       586-01714A-13                                         20131036__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to independent living; amending s.
    3         39.013, F.S.; providing that when the court obtains
    4         jurisdiction over a child who has been found to be
    5         dependent, the court retains jurisdiction until the
    6         child reaches 21 years of age; providing exceptions;
    7         creating s. 39.6035, F.S.; requiring the Department of
    8         Children and Families, the community-based care
    9         provider, and others to assist a child in developing a
   10         transition plan after the child reaches 17 years of
   11         age and requiring a meeting to develop the plan;
   12         specifying requirements and procedures for the
   13         transition plan; requiring periodic review of the
   14         transition plan; requiring the court to approve the
   15         transition plan before the child leaves foster care
   16         and the court terminates jurisdiction; creating s.
   17         39.6251, F.S.; providing definitions; providing that a
   18         young adult may remain in foster care under certain
   19         circumstances after attaining 18 years of age;
   20         specifying criteria for extended foster care;
   21         providing that the permanency goal for a young adult
   22         who chooses to remain in care is transition from care
   23         to independent living; specifying dates for
   24         eligibility for a young adult to remain in extended
   25         foster care; providing for supervised living
   26         arrangements in extended foster care; authorizing a
   27         young adult to return to foster care under certain
   28         circumstances; specified services that must be
   29         provided to the young adult; directing the court to
   30         retain jurisdiction and hold review hearings; amending
   31         s. 39.701, F.S.; revising judicial review of foster
   32         care cases; making technical changes; providing
   33         criteria for review hearings for children younger than
   34         18 years of age; providing criteria for review
   35         hearings for children 17 years of age; requiring the
   36         department to verify that the child has certain
   37         documents; requiring the department to update the case
   38         plan; providing for review hearings for young adults
   39         in foster care; amending s. 409.145, F.S.; requiring
   40         the department to develop and implement a system of
   41         care for children in foster care; specifying the goals
   42         of the foster care system; requiring the department to
   43         assist foster care caregivers to achieve quality
   44         parenting; specifying the roles and responsibilities
   45         of caregivers, the department, and others; providing
   46         for transition from a caregiver; requiring information
   47         sharing; providing for the adoption and use of a
   48         “reasonable and prudent parent” standard; defining
   49         terms; providing for the application for the standard
   50         of care; providing for limiting liability of
   51         caregivers; specifying foster care room and board
   52         rates; directing the department to adopt rules;
   53         deleting obsolete provisions; amending s. 409.1451,
   54         F.S.; providing for the Road-to-Independence program;
   55         providing legislative findings and intent; providing
   56         for postsecondary services and supports; specifying
   57         aftercare services; providing for appeals of a
   58         determination of eligibility; providing for
   59         portability of services across county lines and
   60         between lead agencies; providing for accountability;
   61         creating the Independent Living Services Advisory
   62         Council; providing for membership and specifying the
   63         duties and functions of the council; requiring reports
   64         and recommendations; directing the department to adopt
   65         rules; amending s. 409.175; allowing for young adults
   66         remaining in care to be considered in total number of
   67         children placed in a foster home; amending s. 409.903,
   68         F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; directing the
   69         Department of Children and Families to work in
   70         collaboration with the Board of Governors, the Florida
   71         College System, and the Department of Education to
   72         help address the need for a comprehensive support
   73         structure in the academic arena to assist young adults
   74         who have been or remain in the foster care system;
   75         providing for a transfer of services; providing for
   76         foster care services to be paid from a special
   77         category in the General Appropriations Act; providing
   78         an effective date.
   80  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   82         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 39.013, Florida
   83  Statutes, is amended to read:
   84         39.013 Procedures and jurisdiction; right to counsel.—
   85         (2) The circuit court has exclusive original jurisdiction
   86  of all proceedings under this chapter, of a child voluntarily
   87  placed with a licensed child-caring agency, a licensed child
   88  placing agency, or the department, and of the adoption of
   89  children whose parental rights have been terminated under this
   90  chapter. Jurisdiction attaches when the initial shelter
   91  petition, dependency petition, or termination of parental rights
   92  petition, or a petition for an injunction to prevent child abuse
   93  issued pursuant to s. 39.504, is filed or when a child is taken
   94  into the custody of the department. The circuit court may assume
   95  jurisdiction over any such proceeding regardless of whether the
   96  child was in the physical custody of both parents, was in the
   97  sole legal or physical custody of only one parent, caregiver, or
   98  some other person, or was not in the physical or legal custody
   99  of any person when the event or condition occurred that brought
  100  the child to the attention of the court. When the court obtains
  101  jurisdiction of any child who has been found to be dependent,
  102  the court shall retain jurisdiction, unless relinquished by its
  103  order, until the child reaches 21 18 years of age, with the
  104  following exceptions:
  105         (a)If a young adult chooses to leave foster care upon
  106  reaching 18 years of age.
  107         (b)If a young adult does not meet the eligibility
  108  requirements to remain in foster care under s. 39.6251.
  109         (c)However, If a young adult youth petitions the court at
  110  any time before his or her 19th birthday requesting the court’s
  111  continued jurisdiction, the juvenile court may retain
  112  jurisdiction under this chapter for a period not to exceed 1
  113  year following the young adult’s youth’s 18th birthday for the
  114  purpose of determining whether appropriate aftercare support,
  115  Road-to-Independence Program, transitional support, mental
  116  health, and developmental disability services, that were
  117  required to be provided to the young adult before reaching 18
  118  years of age, to the extent otherwise authorized by law, have
  119  been provided to the formerly dependent child who was in the
  120  legal custody of the department immediately before his or her
  121  18th birthday.
  122         (d) If a petition for special immigrant juvenile status and
  123  an application for adjustment of status have been filed on
  124  behalf of a foster child and the petition and application have
  125  not been granted by the time the child reaches 18 years of age,
  126  the court may retain jurisdiction over the dependency case
  127  solely for the purpose of allowing the continued consideration
  128  of the petition and application by federal authorities. Review
  129  hearings for the child shall be set solely for the purpose of
  130  determining the status of the petition and application. The
  131  court’s jurisdiction terminates upon the final decision of the
  132  federal authorities. Retention of jurisdiction in this instance
  133  does not affect the services available to a young adult under s.
  134  409.1451. The court may not retain jurisdiction of the case
  135  after the immigrant child’s 22nd birthday.
  136         Section 2. Section 39.6035, Florida Statutes, is created to
  137  read:
  138         39.6035Transition plan.—
  139         (1) During the 180-day period after a child reaches 17
  140  years of age, the department and the community-based care
  141  provider, in collaboration with the caregiver and any other
  142  individual whom the child would like to include, shall assist
  143  the child in developing a transition plan. The required
  144  transition plan is in addition to standard case management
  145  requirements. The transition plan must address specific options
  146  for the child to use in obtaining services, including housing,
  147  health insurance, education, and workforce support and
  148  employment services. The plan must also consider establishing
  149  and maintaining naturally occurring mentoring relationships and
  150  other personal support services. The transition plan may be as
  151  detailed as the child chooses. In developing the transition
  152  plan, the department and the community-based provider shall:
  153         (a) Provide the child with the documentation required
  154  pursuant to s. 39.701(7); and
  155         (b) Coordinate the transition plan with the independent
  156  living provisions in the case plan and, for a child with
  157  disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  158  transition plan.
  159         (2) The department and the child shall schedule a time,
  160  date, and place for a meeting to assist the child in drafting
  161  the transition plan. The time, date, and place must be
  162  convenient for the child and any individual whom the child would
  163  like to include. This meeting shall be conducted in the child’s
  164  primary language.
  165         (3) The transition plan shall be reviewed periodically with
  166  the child, the department, and other individuals of the child’s
  167  choice and updated when necessary before each judicial review so
  168  long as the child or young adult remains in care.
  169         (4) If a child is planning to leave care upon reaching 18
  170  years of age, the transition plan must be approved by the court
  171  before the child leaves care and the court terminates
  172  jurisdiction.
  173         Section 3. Section 39.6251, Florida Statutes, is created to
  174  read:
  175         39.6251Continuing care for young adults.—
  176         (1) As used in this section, the term “child” means an
  177  individual who has not attained 21 years of age, and the term
  178  “young adult” means an individual who has attained 18 years of
  179  age but who has not attained 21 years of age.
  180         (2) The primary goal for a child in care is permanency. A
  181  child who is living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
  182  and who has not achieved permanency under s. 39.621, is eligible
  183  to remain in licensed care under the jurisdiction of the court
  184  and in the care of the department. A child is eligible to remain
  185  in licensed care if he or she is:
  186         (a) Completing secondary education or a program leading to
  187  an equivalent credential;
  188         (b) Enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary
  189  or vocational education;
  190         (c) Participating in a program or activity designed to
  191  promote or eliminate barriers to employment;
  192         (d) Employed for at least 80 hours per month; or
  193         (e) Unable to participate in programs or activities listed
  194  in (a)-(d) full time due to a physical, intellectual, emotional,
  195  or psychiatric condition that limits participation. Any such
  196  barrier to participation must be supported by documentation in
  197  the child’s case file or school or medical records of a
  198  physical, intellectual, or psychiatric condition that impairs
  199  the child’s ability to perform one or more life activities.
  200         (3) The permanency goal for a young adult who chooses to
  201  remain in care is transition from licensed care to independent
  202  living.
  203         (4)(a) The young adult must reside in a supervised living
  204  environment that is approved by the department or a community
  205  based care lead agency. The young adult shall live
  206  independently, but in an environment in which he or she is
  207  provided supervision, case management, and supportive services
  208  by the department or lead agency. Such an environment must offer
  209  developmentally appropriate freedom and responsibility to
  210  prepare the young adult for adulthood. For the purposes of this
  211  subsection, a supervised living arrangement may include a
  212  licensed foster home, licensed group home, college dormitory,
  213  shared housing, apartment, or another housing arrangement if the
  214  arrangement is approved by the community-based care lead agency
  215  and is acceptable to the young adult, with first choice being a
  216  licensed foster home. A young adult may continue to reside with
  217  the same licensed foster family or group care provider with whom
  218  he or she was residing at the time he or she reached the age of
  219  18 years.
  220         (b) Before approving the residential setting in which the
  221  young adult will live, the department or community-based care
  222  lead agency must ensure that:
  223         1. The young adult will be provided with a level of
  224  supervision consistent with his or her individual education,
  225  health care needs, permanency plan, and independent living goals
  226  as assessed by the department or lead agency with input from the
  227  young adult. Twenty-four hour on-site supervision is not
  228  required, however, 24-hour crisis intervention and support must
  229  be available.
  230         2. The young adult will live in an independent living
  231  environment that offers, at a minimum, life skills instruction,
  232  counseling, educational support, employment preparation and
  233  placement, and development of support networks. The
  234  determination of the type and duration of services shall be
  235  based on the young adult’s assessed needs, interests, and input
  236  and must be consistent with the goals set in the young adult’s
  237  case plan.
  238         (5) Eligibility for a young adult to remain in extended
  239  foster care ends on the earliest of the dates that the young
  240  adult:
  241         1. Reaches 21 years of age or, in the case of a young adult
  242  with a disability, reaches 22 years of age;
  243         2. Leaves care to live in a permanent home consistent with
  244  his or her permanency plan; or
  245         3. Knowingly and voluntarily withdraws his or her consent
  246  to participate in extended care. Withdrawal of consent to
  247  participate in extended care shall be verified by the court
  248  pursuant to s. 39.701, unless the young adult refuses to
  249  participate in any further court proceeding.
  250         (6) A young adult who is between the ages of 18 and 21 and
  251  who has left care may return to care by applying to the
  252  community-based care lead agency for readmission. The community
  253  based care lead agency shall readmit the young adult if he or
  254  she continues to meet the eligibility requirements in this
  255  section.
  256         (a) The department shall develop a standard procedure and
  257  application packet for readmission to care to be used by all
  258  community-based care lead agencies.
  259         (b) Within 30 days after the young adult has been
  260  readmitted to care, the community-based care lead agency shall
  261  assign a case manager to update the case plan and the transition
  262  plan and to arrange for the required services. Such activities
  263  shall be undertaken in consultation with the young adult. The
  264  department shall petition the court to reinstate jurisdiction
  265  over the young adult.
  266         (7)During each period of time that a young adult is in
  267  care, the community-based lead agency shall provide regular case
  268  management reviews that must include at least monthly contact
  269  with the case manager. If a young adult lives outside the
  270  service area of his or her community-based care lead agency,
  271  monthly contact may occur by telephone.
  272         (8) During the time that a young adult is in care, the
  273  court shall maintain jurisdiction to ensure that the department
  274  and the lead agencies are providing services and coordinate
  275  with, and maintain oversight of, other agencies involved in
  276  implementing the young adult’s case plan, individual education
  277  plan, and transition plan. The court shall review the status of
  278  the young adult at least every 6 months and hold a permanency
  279  review hearing at least annually. The court may appoint a
  280  guardian ad litem or continue the appointment of a guardian ad
  281  litem with the young adult’s consent. The young adult or any
  282  other party to the dependency case may request an additional
  283  hearing or review.
  284         (9)The department shall establish a procedure by which a
  285  young adult may appeal a determination of eligibility to remain
  286  in care that was made by a community-based care lead agency. The
  287  procedure must be readily accessible to young adults, must
  288  provide for timely decisions, and must provide for an appeal to
  289  the department. The decision of the department constitutes final
  290  agency action and is reviewable by the court as provided in s.
  291  120.68.
  292         Section 4. Section 39.701, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  293  read:
  294         39.701 Judicial review.—
  295         (1) GENERAL PROVISIONS.—
  296         (a) The court shall have continuing jurisdiction in
  297  accordance with this section and shall review the status of the
  298  child at least every 6 months as required by this subsection or
  299  more frequently if the court deems it necessary or desirable.
  300         (b) The court shall retain jurisdiction over a child
  301  returned to his or her parents for a minimum period of 6 months
  302  following the reunification, but, at that time, based on a
  303  report of the social service agency and the guardian ad litem,
  304  if one has been appointed, and any other relevant factors, the
  305  court shall make a determination as to whether supervision by
  306  the department and the court’s jurisdiction shall continue or be
  307  terminated.
  308         (c)1.(2)(a) The court shall review the status of the child
  309  and shall hold a hearing as provided in this part at least every
  310  6 months until the child reaches permanency status. The court
  311  may dispense with the attendance of the child at the hearing,
  312  but may not dispense with the hearing or the presence of other
  313  parties to the review unless before the review a hearing is held
  314  before a citizen review panel.
  315         2.(b) Citizen review panels may conduct hearings to review
  316  the status of a child. The court shall select the cases
  317  appropriate for referral to the citizen review panels and may
  318  order the attendance of the parties at the review panel
  319  hearings. However, any party may object to the referral of a
  320  case to a citizen review panel. Whenever such an objection has
  321  been filed with the court, the court shall review the substance
  322  of the objection and may conduct the review itself or refer the
  323  review to a citizen review panel. All parties retain the right
  324  to take exception to the findings or recommended orders of a
  325  citizen review panel in accordance with Rule 1.490(h), Florida
  326  Rules of Civil Procedure.
  327         3.(c) Notice of a hearing by a citizen review panel must be
  328  provided as set forth in paragraph (f) subsection (5). At the
  329  conclusion of a citizen review panel hearing, each party may
  330  propose a recommended order to the chairperson of the panel.
  331  Thereafter, the citizen review panel shall submit its report,
  332  copies of the proposed recommended orders, and a copy of the
  333  panel’s recommended order to the court. The citizen review
  334  panel’s recommended order must be limited to the dispositional
  335  options available to the court in paragraph (2)(d) subsection
  336  (10). Each party may file exceptions to the report and
  337  recommended order of the citizen review panel in accordance with
  338  Rule 1.490, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
  339         (d)1.(3)(a) The initial judicial review hearing must be
  340  held no later than 90 days after the date of the disposition
  341  hearing or after the date of the hearing at which the court
  342  approves the case plan, whichever comes first, but in no event
  343  shall the review be held later than 6 months after the date the
  344  child was removed from the home. Citizen review panels may shall
  345  not conduct more than two consecutive reviews without the child
  346  and the parties coming before the court for a judicial review.
  347         2.(b) If the citizen review panel recommends extending the
  348  goal of reunification for any case plan beyond 12 months from
  349  the date the child was removed from the home, the case plan was
  350  adopted, or the child was adjudicated dependent, whichever date
  351  came first, the court must schedule a judicial review hearing to
  352  be conducted by the court within 30 days after receiving the
  353  recommendation from the citizen review panel.
  354         3.(c) If the child is placed in the custody of the
  355  department or a licensed child-placing agency for the purpose of
  356  adoptive placement, judicial reviews must be held at least every
  357  6 months until the adoption is finalized.
  358         4.(d) If the department and the court have established a
  359  formal agreement that includes specific authorization for
  360  particular cases, the department may conduct administrative
  361  reviews instead of the judicial reviews for children in out-of
  362  home care. Notices of such administrative reviews must be
  363  provided to all parties. However, an administrative review may
  364  not be substituted for the first judicial review, and in every
  365  case the court must conduct a judicial review at least every 6
  366  months. Any party dissatisfied with the results of an
  367  administrative review may petition for a judicial review.
  368         5.(e) The clerk of the circuit court shall schedule
  369  judicial review hearings in order to comply with the mandated
  370  times cited in this section.
  371         6.(f) In each case in which a child has been voluntarily
  372  placed with the licensed child-placing agency, the agency shall
  373  notify the clerk of the court in the circuit where the child
  374  resides of such placement within 5 working days. Notification of
  375  the court is not required for any child who will be in out-of
  376  home care no longer than 30 days unless that child is placed in
  377  out-of-home care a second time within a 12-month period. If the
  378  child is returned to the custody of the parents before the
  379  scheduled review hearing or if the child is placed for adoption,
  380  the child-placing agency shall notify the court of the child’s
  381  return or placement within 5 working days, and the clerk of the
  382  court shall cancel the review hearing.
  383         (e)(4) The court shall schedule the date, time, and
  384  location of the next judicial review during the judicial review
  385  hearing and shall list same in the judicial review order.
  386         (f)(5) Notice of a judicial review hearing or a citizen
  387  review panel hearing, and a copy of the motion for judicial
  388  review, if any, must be served by the clerk of the court upon
  389  all of the following persons, if available to be served,
  390  regardless of whether the person was present at the previous
  391  hearing at which the date, time, and location of the hearing was
  392  announced:
  393         1.(a) The social service agency charged with the
  394  supervision of care, custody, or guardianship of the child, if
  395  that agency is not the movant.
  396         2.(b) The foster parent or legal custodian in whose home
  397  the child resides.
  398         3.(c) The parents.
  399         4.(d) The guardian ad litem for the child, or the
  400  representative of the guardian ad litem program if the program
  401  has been appointed.
  402         5.(e) The attorney for the child.
  403         6.(f) The child, if the child is 13 years of age or older.
  404         7.(g) Any preadoptive parent.
  405         8.(h) Such other persons as the court may direct.
  406         (g)(6) The attorney for the department shall notify a
  407  relative who submits a request for notification of all
  408  proceedings and hearings pursuant to s. 39.301(14)(b). The
  409  notice shall include the date, time, and location of the next
  410  judicial review hearing.
  411         (7)(a) In addition to paragraphs (1)(a) and (2)(a), the
  412  court shall hold a judicial review hearing within 90 days after
  413  a youth’s 17th birthday. The court shall also issue an order,
  414  separate from the order on judicial review, that the disability
  415  of nonage of the youth has been removed pursuant to s. 743.045.
  416  The court shall continue to hold timely judicial review hearings
  417  thereafter. In addition, the court may review the status of the
  418  child more frequently during the year prior to the youth’s 18th
  419  birthday if necessary. At each review held under this
  420  subsection, in addition to any information or report provided to
  421  the court, the foster parent, legal custodian, guardian ad
  422  litem, and the child shall be given the opportunity to address
  423  the court with any information relevant to the child’s best
  424  interests, particularly as it relates to independent living
  425  transition services. In addition to any information or report
  426  provided to the court, the department shall include in its
  427  judicial review social study report written verification that
  428  the child:
  429         1. Has been provided with a current Medicaid card and has
  430  been provided all necessary information concerning the Medicaid
  431  program sufficient to prepare the youth to apply for coverage
  432  upon reaching age 18, if such application would be appropriate.
  433         2. Has been provided with a certified copy of his or her
  434  birth certificate and, if the child does not have a valid
  435  driver’s license, a Florida identification card issued under s.
  436  322.051.
  437         3. Has been provided information relating to Social
  438  Security Insurance benefits if the child is eligible for these
  439  benefits. If the child has received these benefits and they are
  440  being held in trust for the child, a full accounting of those
  441  funds must be provided and the child must be informed about how
  442  to access those funds.
  443         4. Has been provided with information and training related
  444  to budgeting skills, interviewing skills, and parenting skills.
  445         5. Has been provided with all relevant information related
  446  to the Road-to-Independence Program, including, but not limited
  447  to, eligibility requirements, forms necessary to apply, and
  448  assistance in completing the forms. The child shall also be
  449  informed that, if he or she is eligible for the Road-to
  450  Independence Program, he or she may reside with the licensed
  451  foster family or group care provider with whom the child was
  452  residing at the time of attaining his or her 18th birthday or
  453  may reside in another licensed foster home or with a group care
  454  provider arranged by the department.
  455         6. Has an open bank account, or has identification
  456  necessary to open an account, and has been provided with
  457  essential banking skills.
  458         7. Has been provided with information on public assistance
  459  and how to apply.
  460         8. Has been provided a clear understanding of where he or
  461  she will be living on his or her 18th birthday, how living
  462  expenses will be paid, and what educational program or school he
  463  or she will be enrolled in.
  464         9. Has been provided with notice of the youth’s right to
  465  petition for the court’s continuing jurisdiction for 1 year
  466  after the youth’s 18th birthday as specified in s. 39.013(2) and
  467  with information on how to obtain access to the court.
  468         10. Has been encouraged to attend all judicial review
  469  hearings occurring after his or her 17th birthday.
  470         (b) At the first judicial review hearing held subsequent to
  471  the child’s 17th birthday, in addition to the requirements of
  472  subsection (8), the department shall provide the court with an
  473  updated case plan that includes specific information related to
  474  independent living services that have been provided since the
  475  child’s 13th birthday, or since the date the child came into
  476  foster care, whichever came later.
  477         (c) At the time of a judicial review hearing held pursuant
  478  to this subsection, if, in the opinion of the court, the
  479  department has not complied with its obligations as specified in
  480  the written case plan or in the provision of independent living
  481  services as required by s. 409.1451 and this subsection, the
  482  court shall issue a show cause order. If cause is shown for
  483  failure to comply, the court shall give the department 30 days
  484  within which to comply and, on failure to comply with this or
  485  any subsequent order, the department may be held in contempt.
  487  OF AGE.—
  488         (a) Social study report for judicial review.—Before every
  489  judicial review hearing or citizen review panel hearing, the
  490  social service agency shall make an investigation and social
  491  study concerning all pertinent details relating to the child and
  492  shall furnish to the court or citizen review panel a written
  493  report that includes, but is not limited to:
  494         1. A description of the type of placement the child is in
  495  at the time of the hearing, including the safety of the child
  496  and the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the
  497  placement.
  498         2. Documentation of the diligent efforts made by all
  499  parties to the case plan to comply with each applicable
  500  provision of the plan.
  501         3. The amount of fees assessed and collected during the
  502  period of time being reported.
  503         4. The services provided to the foster family or legal
  504  custodian in an effort to address the needs of the child as
  505  indicated in the case plan.
  506         5. A statement that either:
  507         a. The parent, though able to do so, did not comply
  508  substantially with the case plan, and the agency
  509  recommendations;
  510         b. The parent did substantially comply with the case plan;
  511  or
  512         c. The parent has partially complied with the case plan,
  513  with a summary of additional progress needed and the agency
  514  recommendations.
  515         6. A statement from the foster parent or legal custodian
  516  providing any material evidence concerning the return of the
  517  child to the parent or parents.
  518         7. A statement concerning the frequency, duration, and
  519  results of the parent-child visitation, if any, and the agency
  520  recommendations for an expansion or restriction of future
  521  visitation.
  522         8. The number of times a child has been removed from his or
  523  her home and placed elsewhere, the number and types of
  524  placements that have occurred, and the reason for the changes in
  525  placement.
  526         9. The number of times a child’s educational placement has
  527  been changed, the number and types of educational placements
  528  which have occurred, and the reason for any change in placement.
  529         10. If the child has reached 13 years of age but is not yet
  530  18 years of age, a statement from the caregiver on the progress
  531  the child has made in acquiring independent living skills the
  532  results of the preindependent living, life skills, or
  533  independent living assessment; the specific services needed; and
  534  the status of the delivery of the identified services.
  535         11. Copies of all medical, psychological, and educational
  536  records that support the terms of the case plan and that have
  537  been produced concerning the parents or any caregiver since the
  538  last judicial review hearing.
  539         12. Copies of the child’s current health, mental health,
  540  and education records as identified in s. 39.6012.
  541         (b) Submission and distribution of reports.—
  542         1. A copy of the social service agency’s written report and
  543  the written report of the guardian ad litem must be served on
  544  all parties whose whereabouts are known; to the foster parents
  545  or legal custodians; and to the citizen review panel, at least
  546  72 hours before the judicial review hearing or citizen review
  547  panel hearing. The requirement for providing parents with a copy
  548  of the written report does not apply to those parents who have
  549  voluntarily surrendered their child for adoption or who have had
  550  their parental rights to the child terminated.
  551         2.(c) In a case in which the child has been permanently
  552  placed with the social service agency, the agency shall furnish
  553  to the court a written report concerning the progress being made
  554  to place the child for adoption. If the child cannot be placed
  555  for adoption, a report on the progress made by the child towards
  556  alternative permanency goals or placements, including, but not
  557  limited to, guardianship, long-term custody, long-term licensed
  558  custody, or independent living, must be submitted to the court.
  559  The report must be submitted to the court at least 72 hours
  560  before each scheduled judicial review.
  561         3.(d) In addition to or in lieu of any written statement
  562  provided to the court, the foster parent or legal custodian, or
  563  any preadoptive parent, shall be given the opportunity to
  564  address the court with any information relevant to the best
  565  interests of the child at any judicial review hearing.
  566         (c)(9)Review determinations.—The court and any citizen
  567  review panel shall take into consideration the information
  568  contained in the social services study and investigation and all
  569  medical, psychological, and educational records that support the
  570  terms of the case plan; testimony by the social services agency,
  571  the parent, the foster parent or legal custodian, the guardian
  572  ad litem or surrogate parent for educational decisionmaking if
  573  one has been appointed for the child, and any other person
  574  deemed appropriate; and any relevant and material evidence
  575  submitted to the court, including written and oral reports to
  576  the extent of their probative value. These reports and evidence
  577  may be received by the court in its effort to determine the
  578  action to be taken with regard to the child and may be relied
  579  upon to the extent of their probative value, even though not
  580  competent in an adjudicatory hearing. In its deliberations, the
  581  court and any citizen review panel shall seek to determine:
  582         1.(a) If the parent was advised of the right to receive
  583  assistance from any person or social service agency in the
  584  preparation of the case plan.
  585         2.(b) If the parent has been advised of the right to have
  586  counsel present at the judicial review or citizen review
  587  hearings. If not so advised, the court or citizen review panel
  588  shall advise the parent of such right.
  589         3.(c) If a guardian ad litem needs to be appointed for the
  590  child in a case in which a guardian ad litem has not previously
  591  been appointed or if there is a need to continue a guardian ad
  592  litem in a case in which a guardian ad litem has been appointed.
  593         4.(d) Who holds the rights to make educational decisions
  594  for the child. If appropriate, the court may refer the child to
  595  the district school superintendent for appointment of a
  596  surrogate parent or may itself appoint a surrogate parent under
  597  the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and s. 39.0016.
  598         5.(e) The compliance or lack of compliance of all parties
  599  with applicable items of the case plan, including the parents’
  600  compliance with child support orders.
  601         6.(f) The compliance or lack of compliance with a
  602  visitation contract between the parent and the social service
  603  agency for contact with the child, including the frequency,
  604  duration, and results of the parent-child visitation and the
  605  reason for any noncompliance.
  606         7.(g) The compliance or lack of compliance of the parent in
  607  meeting specified financial obligations pertaining to the care
  608  of the child, including the reason for failure to comply if such
  609  is the case.
  610         8.(h) Whether the child is receiving safe and proper care
  611  according to s. 39.6012, including, but not limited to, the
  612  appropriateness of the child’s current placement, including
  613  whether the child is in a setting that is as family-like and as
  614  close to the parent’s home as possible, consistent with the
  615  child’s best interests and special needs, and including
  616  maintaining stability in the child’s educational placement, as
  617  documented by assurances from the community-based care provider
  618  that:
  619         a.1. The placement of the child takes into account the
  620  appropriateness of the current educational setting and the
  621  proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the
  622  time of placement.
  623         b.2. The community-based care agency has coordinated with
  624  appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child
  625  remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time
  626  of placement.
  627         9.(i) A projected date likely for the child’s return home
  628  or other permanent placement.
  629         10.(j) When appropriate, the basis for the unwillingness or
  630  inability of the parent to become a party to a case plan. The
  631  court and the citizen review panel shall determine if the
  632  efforts of the social service agency to secure party
  633  participation in a case plan were sufficient.
  634         11.(k) For a child who has reached 13 years of age but is
  635  not yet 18 years of age, the adequacy of the child’s preparation
  636  for adulthood and independent living.
  637         12.(l) If amendments to the case plan are required.
  638  Amendments to the case plan must be made under s. 39.6013.
  639         (d)(10)(a)Orders.—
  640         1. Based upon the criteria set forth in paragraph (c)
  641  subsection (9) and the recommended order of the citizen review
  642  panel, if any, the court shall determine whether or not the
  643  social service agency shall initiate proceedings to have a child
  644  declared a dependent child, return the child to the parent,
  645  continue the child in out-of-home care for a specified period of
  646  time, or initiate termination of parental rights proceedings for
  647  subsequent placement in an adoptive home. Amendments to the case
  648  plan must be prepared as prescribed in s. 39.6013. If the court
  649  finds that the prevention or reunification efforts of the
  650  department will allow the child to remain safely at home or be
  651  safely returned to the home, the court shall allow the child to
  652  remain in or return to the home after making a specific finding
  653  of fact that the reasons for the creation of the case plan have
  654  been remedied to the extent that the child’s safety, well-being,
  655  and physical, mental, and emotional health will not be
  656  endangered.
  657         2.(b) The court shall return the child to the custody of
  658  the parents at any time it determines that they have
  659  substantially complied with the case plan, if the court is
  660  satisfied that reunification will not be detrimental to the
  661  child’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional
  662  health.
  663         3.(c) If, in the opinion of the court, the social service
  664  agency has not complied with its obligations as specified in the
  665  written case plan, the court may find the social service agency
  666  in contempt, shall order the social service agency to submit its
  667  plans for compliance with the agreement, and shall require the
  668  social service agency to show why the child could not safely be
  669  returned to the home of the parents.
  670         4.(d) If, at any judicial review, the court finds that the
  671  parents have failed to substantially comply with the case plan
  672  to the degree that further reunification efforts are without
  673  merit and not in the best interest of the child, on its own
  674  motion, the court may order the filing of a petition for
  675  termination of parental rights, whether or not the time period
  676  as contained in the case plan for substantial compliance has
  677  expired.
  678         5.(e) Within 6 months after the date that the child was
  679  placed in shelter care, the court shall conduct a judicial
  680  review hearing to review the child’s permanency goal as
  681  identified in the case plan. At the hearing the court shall make
  682  findings regarding the likelihood of the child’s reunification
  683  with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
  684  removal of the child from the home. If the court makes a written
  685  finding that it is not likely that the child will be reunified
  686  with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
  687  child was removed from the home, the department must file with
  688  the court, and serve on all parties, a motion to amend the case
  689  plan under s. 39.6013 and declare that it will use concurrent
  690  planning for the case plan. The department must file the motion
  691  within 10 business days after receiving the written finding of
  692  the court. The department must attach the proposed amended case
  693  plan to the motion. If concurrent planning is already being
  694  used, the case plan must document the efforts the department is
  695  taking to complete the concurrent goal.
  696         6.(f) The court may issue a protective order in assistance,
  697  or as a condition, of any other order made under this part. In
  698  addition to the requirements included in the case plan, the
  699  protective order may set forth requirements relating to
  700  reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specified
  701  period of time by a person or agency who is before the court;
  702  and the order may require any person or agency to make periodic
  703  reports to the court containing such information as the court in
  704  its discretion may prescribe.
  706         (a) In addition to the review and report required under
  707  paragraphs (1)(a) and (2)(a), respectively, the court shall hold
  708  a judicial review hearing within 90 days after a child’s 17th
  709  birthday. The court shall also issue an order, separate from the
  710  order on judicial review, that the disability of nonage of the
  711  child has been removed pursuant to s. 743.045 and shall continue
  712  to hold timely judicial review hearings. If necessary, the court
  713  may review the status of the child more frequently during the
  714  year before the child’s 18th birthday. At each review hearing
  715  held under this subsection, in addition to any information or
  716  report provided to the court by the foster parent, legal
  717  custodian, or guardian ad litem, the child shall be given the
  718  opportunity to address the court with any information relevant
  719  to the child’s best interest, particularly in relation to
  720  independent living transition services. The department shall
  721  include in the social study report for judicial review written
  722  verification that the child has:
  723         1. A current Medicaid card and all necessary information
  724  concerning the Medicaid program sufficient to prepare the child
  725  to apply for coverage upon reaching the age of 18, if such
  726  application is appropriate.
  727         2. A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate and,
  728  if the child does not have a valid driver license, a Florida
  729  identification card issued under s. 322.051.
  730         3. A social security card and information relating to
  731  social security insurance benefits if the child is eligible for
  732  those benefits. If the child has received such benefits and they
  733  are being held in trust for the child, a full accounting of
  734  these funds must be provided and the child must be informed as
  735  to how to access those funds.
  736         4. All relevant information related to the Road-to
  737  Independence Program, including, but not limited to, eligibility
  738  requirements, information on participation, and assistance in
  739  gaining admission to the program. If the child is eligible for
  740  the Road-to-Independence Program, he or she must be advised that
  741  he or she may continue to reside with the licensed family home
  742  or group care provider with whom the child was residing at the
  743  time the child attained his or her 18th birthday, in another
  744  licensed family home, or with a group care provider arranged by
  745  the department.
  746         5. An open bank account or the identification necessary to
  747  open a bank account and to acquire essential banking and
  748  budgeting skills.
  749         6. Information on public assistance and how to apply for
  750  public assistance.
  751         7. A clear understanding of where he or she will be living
  752  on his or her 18th birthday, how living expenses will be paid,
  753  and the educational program or school in which he or she will be
  754  enrolled.
  755         8. Information related to the ability of the child to
  756  remain in care until he or she reaches 21 years of age under s.
  757  39.013.
  758         9. A letter providing the dates that the child is under the
  759  jurisdiction of the court.
  760         10.A letter stating that the child is in compliance with
  761  financial aid documentation requirements.
  762         11. The child’s educational records.
  763         12. The child’s entire health and mental health records.
  764         13. The process for accessing his or her case file.
  765         14. A statement encouraging the child to attend all
  766  judicial review hearings occurring after the child’s 17th
  767  birthday.
  768         (b) At the first judicial review hearing held subsequent to
  769  the child’s 17th birthday, the department shall provide the
  770  court with an updated case plan that includes specific
  771  information related to the independent living skills that the
  772  child has acquired since the child’s 13th birthday, or since the
  773  date the child came into foster care, whichever came later.
  774         (c) If the court finds at the judicial review hearing that
  775  the department has not met with its obligations to the child as
  776  stated in the written case plan or in the provision of
  777  independent living services, the court may issue an order
  778  directing the department to show cause as to why it has not done
  779  so. If the department cannot justify its noncompliance, the
  780  court may give the department 30 days within which to comply. If
  781  the department fails to comply within 30 days, the court may
  782  hold the department in contempt.
  783         (d)At the last review hearing before the child reaches 18
  784  years of age, and in addition to the requirements of subsection
  785  (2), the court shall:
  786         1.Address whether the child plans to remain in foster
  787  care, and, if so, ensure that the child’s transition plan
  788  includes a plan for meeting one or more of the criteria
  789  specified in s. 39.6251.
  790         2.Ensure that the transition plan includes a supervised
  791  living arrangement under s. 39.6251.
  792         3.Ensure the child has been informed of:
  793         a.The right to continued support and services from the
  794  department and the community-based care lead agency.
  795         b. The right to request termination of dependency
  796  jurisdiction and be discharged from foster care.
  797         c. The opportunity to reenter foster care pursuant to s.
  798  39.6251.
  799         4. Ensure that the young adult, if he or she requests
  800  termination of dependency jurisdiction and discharge from foster
  801  care, has been informed of:
  802         a.Services or benefits for which the young adult may be
  803  eligible based on his or her former placement in foster care;
  804         b.Services or benefits that may be lost through
  805  termination of dependency jurisdiction; and
  806         c.Other federal, state, local, or community-based services
  807  or supports available to the him or her.
  809  During each period of time that a young adult remains in foster
  810  care, the court shall review the status of the young adult at
  811  least every 6 months and must hold a permanency review hearing
  812  at least annually.
  813         (a)The department and community-based care lead agency
  814  shall prepare and submit to the court a report, developed in
  815  collaboration with the young adult, which addresses the young
  816  adult’s progress in meeting the goals in the case plan. The
  817  report must include progress information related to the young
  818  adult’s independent living plan and transition plan, if
  819  applicable, and shall propose modifications as necessary to
  820  further the young adult’s goals.
  821         (b)The court shall attempt to determine whether the
  822  department and any service provider under contract with the
  823  department are providing the appropriate services as provided in
  824  the case plan.
  825         (c)If the court believes that the young adult is entitled
  826  under department policy or under a contract with a service
  827  provider to additional services to achieve the goals enumerated
  828  in the case plan, it may order the department to take action to
  829  ensure that the young adult receives the identified services.
  830         (d)The young adult or any other party to the dependency
  831  case may request an additional hearing or judicial review.
  832         (e) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, if a
  833  young adult has chosen to remain in extended foster care after
  834  he or she has reached 18 years of age, the department may not
  835  close a case and the court may not terminate jurisdiction until
  836  the court finds, following a hearing, that the following
  837  criteria have been met:
  838         1.Attendance of the young adult at the hearing; or
  839         2.Findings by the court that:
  840         a.The young adult has been informed by the department of
  841  his or her right to attend the hearing and has provided written
  842  consent to waive this right; and
  843         b.The young adult has been informed of the potential
  844  negative effects of early termination of care, the option to
  845  reenter care before reaching 21 years of age, the procedure for,
  846  and limitations on, reentering care, and the availability of
  847  alternative services, and has signed a document attesting that
  848  he or she has been so informed and understands these provisions;
  849  or
  850         c.The young adult has voluntarily left the program, has
  851  not signed the document in sub-subparagraph b., and is unwilling
  852  to participate in any further court proceeding.
  853         3.In all permanency hearings or hearings regarding the
  854  transition of the young adult from care to independent living,
  855  the court shall consult with the young adult regarding the
  856  proposed permanency plan, case plan, and individual education
  857  plan for the young adult and ensure that he or she has
  858  understood the conversation.
  859         Section 5. Section 409.145, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  860  read:
  861         409.145 Care of children; quality parenting; “reasonable
  862  and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the
  863  department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system
  864  of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster
  865  care to provide quality parenting, including approving or
  866  disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the
  867  caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent”
  868  standard.
  869         (1) SYSTEM OF CARE.—The department shall develop, implement
  870  conduct, supervise, and administer a coordinated community-based
  871  system of care program for dependent children who are found to
  872  be dependent and their families. This system of care must The
  873  services of the department are to be directed toward the
  874  following goals:
  875         (a) The Prevention of separation of children from their
  876  families.
  877         (b)Intervention to allow children to remain safely in
  878  their own homes.
  879         (c)(b)The Reunification of families who have had children
  880  removed from their care placed in foster homes or institutions.
  881         (d)Safety for children who are separated from their
  882  families by providing alternative emergency or longer-term
  883  parenting arrangements.
  884         (e)Focus on the well-being of children through emphasis on
  885  maintaining educational stability and providing timely health
  886  care.
  887         (f)(c)Permanency for The permanent placement of children
  888  for whom reunification who cannot be reunited with their
  889  families is not possible or when reunification would is not be
  890  in the best interest of the child.
  891         (d) The protection of dependent children or children
  892  alleged to be dependent, including provision of emergency and
  893  long-term alternate living arrangements.
  894         (g)(e) The transition to independence and self-sufficiency
  895  for older children who remain in foster care through adolescence
  896  continue to be in foster care as adolescents.
  897         (2) The following dependent children shall be subject to
  898  the protection, care, guidance, and supervision of the
  899  department or any duly licensed public or private agency:
  900         (a) Any child who has been temporarily or permanently taken
  901  from the custody of the parents, custodians, or guardians in
  902  accordance with those provisions in chapter 39 that relate to
  903  dependent children.
  904         (b) Any child who is in need of the protective supervision
  905  of the department as determined by intake or by the court in
  906  accordance with those provisions of chapter 39 that relate to
  907  dependent children.
  908         (c) Any child who is voluntarily placed, with the written
  909  consent of the parents or guardians, in the department’s foster
  910  care program or the foster care program of a licensed private
  911  agency.
  912         (3) The circuit courts exercising juvenile jurisdiction in
  913  the various counties of this state shall cooperate with the
  914  department and its employees in carrying out the purposes and
  915  intent of this chapter.
  916         (4) The department is authorized to accept children on a
  917  permanent placement basis by order of a court of competent
  918  jurisdiction for the single purpose of adoption placement of
  919  these children. The department is authorized to provide the
  920  necessary services to place these children ordered to the
  921  department on a permanent placement basis for adoption.
  922         (5) Any funds appropriated by counties for child welfare
  923  services may be matched by state and federal funds, such funds
  924  to be utilized by the department for the benefit of children in
  925  those counties.
  926         (6) Whenever any child is placed under the protection,
  927  care, and guidance of the department or a duly licensed public
  928  or private agency, or as soon thereafter as is practicable, the
  929  department or agency, as the case may be, shall endeavor to
  930  obtain such information concerning the family medical history of
  931  the child and the natural parents as is available or readily
  932  obtainable. This information shall be kept on file by the
  933  department or agency for possible future use as provided in ss.
  934  63.082 and 63.162 or as may be otherwise provided by law.
  935         (7) Whenever any child is placed by the department in a
  936  shelter home, foster home, or other residential placement, the
  937  department shall make available to the operator of the shelter
  938  home, foster home, other residential placement, or other
  939  caretaker as soon thereafter as is practicable, all relevant
  940  information concerning the child’s demographic, social, and
  941  medical history.
  942         (2) QUALITY PARENTING.—A child in foster care shall be
  943  placed only with a caregiver who has the ability to care for the
  944  child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care,
  945  and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the
  946  child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or
  947  psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and
  948  family relationships. The department, the community-based care
  949  lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver
  950  with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver
  951  in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care
  952  for a particular child.
  953         (a)Roles and responsibilities of caregivers.—A caregiver
  954  shall:
  955         1.Participate in developing the case plan for the child
  956  and his or her family and work with others involved in his or
  957  her care to implement this plan. This participation includes the
  958  caregiver’s involvement in all team meetings or court hearings
  959  related to the child’s care.
  960         2.Complete all training needed to improve skills in
  961  parenting a child who has experienced trauma due to neglect,
  962  abuse, or separation from home, to meet the child’s special
  963  needs, and to work effectively with child welfare agencies, the
  964  court, the schools, and other community and governmental
  965  agencies.
  966         3.Respect and support the child’s ties to members of his
  967  or her biological family and assist the child in maintaining
  968  allowable visitation and other forms of communication.
  969         4. Effectively advocate for the child in the caregiver’s
  970  care with the child welfare system, the court, and community
  971  agencies, including the school, child care, health and mental
  972  health providers, and employers.
  973         5.Participate fully in the child’s medical, psychological,
  974  and dental care as the caregiver would for his or her biological
  975  child.
  976         6.Support the child’s school success by participating in
  977  school activities and meetings, including Individual Education
  978  Plan meetings, assisting with school assignments, supporting
  979  tutoring programs, meeting with teachers and working with an
  980  educational surrogate if one has been appointed, and encouraging
  981  the child’s participation in extracurricular activities.
  982         7.Work in partnership with other stakeholders to obtain
  983  and maintain records that are important to the child’s well
  984  being, including child resource records, medical records, school
  985  records, photographs, and records of special events and
  986  achievements.
  987         8.Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care who is
  988  between 13 and 17 years of age learns and masters independent
  989  living skills.
  990         9.Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care is aware
  991  of the requirements and benefits of the Road-to-Independence
  992  Program.
  993         10.Work to enable the child in the caregiver’s care to
  994  establish and maintain naturally occurring mentoring
  995  relationships.
  996         (b)Roles and responsibilities of the department, the
  997  community-based care lead agency, and other agency staff.—The
  998  department, the community-based care lead agency, and other
  999  agency staff shall:
 1000         1.Include a caregiver in the development and
 1001  implementation of the case plan for the child and his or her
 1002  family. The caregiver shall be authorized to participate in all
 1003  team meetings or court hearings related to the child’s care and
 1004  future plans. The caregiver’s participation shall be facilitated
 1005  through timely notification, an inclusive process, and
 1006  alternative methods for participation for a caregiver who cannot
 1007  be physically present.
 1008         2.Develop and make available to the caregiver the
 1009  information, services, training, and support that the caregiver
 1010  needs to improve his or her skills in parenting children who
 1011  have experienced trauma due to neglect, abuse, or separation
 1012  from home, to meet these children’s special needs and to
 1013  advocate effectively with child welfare agencies, the courts,
 1014  schools, and other community and governmental agencies.
 1015         3.Provide the caregiver with all information related to
 1016  services and other benefits that are available to the child.
 1017         (c)Transitions.—
 1018         1.Once a caregiver accepts the responsibility of caring
 1019  for a child, the child will be removed from the home of that
 1020  caregiver only if:
 1021         a.The caregiver is clearly unable to safely or legally
 1022  care for the child;
 1023         b. The child and his or her biological family are
 1024  reunified;
 1025         c. The child is being placed in a legally permanent home
 1026  pursuant to the case plan or a court order; or
 1027         d. The removal is demonstrably in the child’s best
 1028  interest.
 1029         2.In the absence of an emergency, if a child leaves the
 1030  caregiver’s home for a reason provided under subparagraph 1.,
 1031  the transition must be accomplished according to a plan that
 1032  involves cooperation and sharing of information among all
 1033  persons involved, respects the child’s developmental stage and
 1034  psychological needs, ensures the child has all of his or her
 1035  belongings, allows for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s
 1036  home and, if possible, for continued contact with the caregiver
 1037  after the child leaves.
 1038         (d)Information sharing.—Whenever a foster home or
 1039  residential group home assumes responsibility for the care of a
 1040  child, the department and any additional providers shall make
 1041  available to the caregiver as soon as is practicable all
 1042  relevant information concerning the child. Records and
 1043  information that are required to be shared with caregivers
 1044  include, but are not limited to:
 1045         1.Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric, and
 1046  behavioral history, as well as ongoing evaluation or treatment
 1047  needs;
 1048         2.School records;
 1049         3.Copies of his or her birth certificate and, if
 1050  appropriate, immigration status documents;
 1051         4.Consents signed by parents;
 1052         5.Comprehensive behavioral assessments and other social
 1053  assessments;
 1054         6.Court orders;
 1055         7.Visitation and case plans;
 1056         8.Guardian ad litem reports;
 1057         9. Staffing forms; and
 1058         10.Judicial or citizen review panel reports and
 1059  attachments filed with the court, except confidential medical,
 1060  psychiatric, and psychological information regarding any party
 1061  or participant other than the child.
 1062         (e)Caregivers employed by residential group homes.–All
 1063  caregivers in residential group homes shall meet the same
 1064  education, training, and background and other screening
 1065  requirements as foster parents.
 1067         (a) Definitions.—As used in this subsection, the term:
 1068         1. “Age-appropriate” means an activity or item that is
 1069  generally accepted as suitable for a child of the same
 1070  chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is
 1071  based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and
 1072  behavioral capacity which is typical for an age or age group.
 1073         2. “Caregiver” means a person with whom the child is placed
 1074  in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group care
 1075  facility licensed by the department under s. 409.175.
 1076         3. “Reasonable and prudent parent” standard means the
 1077  standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to
 1078  allow a child in his or her care to participate in
 1079  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This
 1080  standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental
 1081  decisionmaking that is intended to maintain a child’s health,
 1082  safety, and best interest while encouraging the child’s
 1083  emotional and developmental growth.
 1084         (b) Application of standard of care.—
 1085         1. Every child who comes into out-of-home care pursuant to
 1086  this chapter is entitled to participate in age-appropriate
 1087  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
 1088         2. Each caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent
 1089  parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a
 1090  child living in out-of-home care to participate in
 1091  extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. When using
 1092  the reasonable and prudent parent standard, the caregiver must
 1093  consider:
 1094         a. The child’s age, maturity, and developmental level to
 1095  maintain the overall health and safety of the child.
 1096         b. The potential risk factors and the appropriateness of
 1097  the extracurricular, enrichment, or social activity.
 1098         c. The best interest of the child, based on information
 1099  known by the caregiver.
 1100         d. The importance of encouraging the child’s emotional and
 1101  developmental growth.
 1102         e. The importance of providing the child with the most
 1103  family-like living experience possible.
 1104         f. The behavioral history of the child and the child’s
 1105  ability to safely participate in the proposed activity.
 1106         (c) Verification of services delivered.—The department and
 1107  each community-based care lead agency shall verify that private
 1108  agencies providing out-of-home care services to dependent
 1109  children have policies in place which are consistent with this
 1110  section and that these agencies promote and protect the ability
 1111  of dependent children to participate in age-appropriate
 1112  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
 1113         (d) Limitation of liability.—A caregiver is not liable for
 1114  harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved
 1115  by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in
 1116  accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard. This
 1117  paragraph may not be interpreted as removing or limiting any
 1118  existing liability protection afforded by law.
 1120         (a)Effective October 1, 2013, room and board rates paid to
 1121  foster parents are as follows:
 1124  Monthly Foster Care Rate0-5 Years Age    6-12 Years Age   13-21 Years Age  
 1128         (b)Foster parents shall receive an annual cost of living
 1129  increase. The department shall calculate the new room and board
 1130  rate increase equal to the percentage change in the Consumer
 1131  Price Index for All Urban Consumers, U.S. City Average, All
 1132  Items, not seasonally adjusted, or successor reports, for the
 1133  preceding December compared to the prior December as initially
 1134  reported by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of
 1135  Labor Statistics.
 1136         (c)The amount of the monthly foster care board rate may be
 1137  increased upon agreement among the department, the community
 1138  based care lead agency, and the foster parent.
 1139         (5)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt by rule
 1140  procedures to administer this section.
 1141         Section 6. Section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended
 1142  to read:
 1143         (Substantial rewording of section. See
 1144         s. 409.1451, F.S., for present text).
 1145         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
 1147         (a)The Legislature recognizes that most children and young
 1148  adults are resilient and, with adequate support, can expect to
 1149  be successful as independent adults. Not unlike many young
 1150  adults, some young adults who have lived in foster care need
 1151  additional support and resources for a period of time after
 1152  reaching 18 years of age.
 1153         (b)The Legislature finds that while it is important to
 1154  provide young adults who have lived in foster care with
 1155  education and independent living skills, there is also a need to
 1156  focus more broadly on creating and preserving family
 1157  relationships so that young adults have a permanent connection
 1158  with at least one committed adult who provides a safe and stable
 1159  parenting relationship.
 1160         (c)It is the intent of the Legislature that young adults
 1161  who choose to participate in the program receive the skills,
 1162  education, and support necessary to become self-sufficient and
 1163  leave foster care with a lifelong connection to a supportive
 1164  adult through the Road-to-Independence Program, either through
 1165  postsecondary education services and support, as provided in
 1166  subsection (2), or aftercare services.
 1168         (a)A young adult is eligible for services and support
 1169  under this subsection if he or she:
 1170         1.Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
 1171  or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
 1172  years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
 1173  court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
 1174  months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
 1175  preceding such placement or adoption;
 1176         2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
 1177  his or her 18th birthday;
 1178         3.Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
 1179  pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.43,
 1180  or s. 1003.435;
 1181         4.Has been admitted for enrollment in an eligible
 1182  postsecondary educational institution as provided in s.
 1183  1009.533;
 1184         5.Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
 1185  age;
 1186         6.Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
 1187  caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
 1188  grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
 1189         7.Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
 1190  which is complete and error free; and
 1191         8.Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
 1192  community-based care lead agency access to school records.
 1193         (b)The amount of the financial assistance shall be as
 1194  follows:
 1195         1.For a young adult who does not remain in foster care and
 1196  is attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1197  the amount is $1,256 monthly.
 1198         2.For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
 1199  attending a postsecondary school, as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1200  and continues to reside in a licensed foster home, the amount is
 1201  the established room and board rate for foster parents. This
 1202  takes the place of the payment provided for in subsection (4).
 1203         3.For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
 1204  temporarily resides away from a licensed foster home for
 1205  purposes of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s.
 1206  1009.533, the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of
 1207  the payment provided for in subsection (4).
 1208         4.For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
 1209  attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, and
 1210  continues to reside in a licensed group home, the amount is
 1211  negotiated between the community-based care lead agency and the
 1212  licensed group home provider.
 1213         5.For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
 1214  temporarily resides away from a licensed group home for purposes
 1215  of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1216  the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of a
 1217  negotiated room and board rate.
 1218         6. The amount of the award may be disregarded for purposes
 1219  of determining the eligibility for, or the amount of, any other
 1220  federal or federally supported assistance.
 1221         7.A young adult is eligible to receive financial
 1222  assistance during the months when enrolled in a postsecondary
 1223  educational institution.
 1224         (c)Payment of financial assistance for a young adult who:
 1225         1. Has chosen not to remain in foster care and is attending
 1226  a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, shall be made
 1227  to the community-based care lead agency in order to secure
 1228  housing and utilities, with the balance being paid directly to
 1229  the young adult until such time the lead agency and the young
 1230  adult determine that the young adult can successfully manage the
 1231  full amount of the assistance.
 1232         2.Has remained in foster care under s. 39.6251 and who is
 1233  attending postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, shall
 1234  be made directly to the foster parent or group home provider.
 1235         (d)1. The department must advertise the availability of the
 1236  stipend and must provide notification of the criteria and
 1237  application procedures for the stipend to children and young
 1238  adults leaving, or who were formerly in, foster care;
 1239  caregivers; case managers; guidance and family services
 1240  counselors; principals or other relevant school administrators;
 1241  and guardians ad litem.
 1242         2.If the award recipient transfers from one eligible
 1243  institution to another and continues to meet eligibility
 1244  requirements, the award shall be transferred with the recipient.
 1245         (3) AFTERCARE SERVICES.—
 1246         (a)Aftercare services are available to young adults who
 1247  have chosen not to remain in foster care after reaching 18 years
 1248  of age and who are not receiving financial assistance under
 1249  subsection (2) to pursue postsecondary education. These
 1250  aftercare services include, but are not limited to, the
 1251  following:
 1252         1. Mentoring and tutoring.
 1253         2. Mental health services and substance abuse counseling.
 1254         3. Life skills classes, including credit management and
 1255  preventive health activities.
 1256         4. Parenting classes.
 1257         5. Job and career skills training.
 1258         6. Counselor consultations.
 1259         7. Temporary financial assistance for emergency situations.
 1260         8. Financial literacy skills training.
 1262  The specific services to be provided under this paragraph shall
 1263  be determined by an assessment of the young adult and may be
 1264  provided by the community-based care provider or through
 1265  referrals in the community.
 1266         (b)Temporary assistance provided to prevent homelessness
 1267  shall be provided as expeditiously as possible and within the
 1268  limitations defined by the department.
 1269         (c)A young adult who has reached 18 years of age but is
 1270  not yet 23 years of age who leaves foster care at 18 years of
 1271  age may request and is eligible for such services before
 1272  reaching 23 years of age.
 1273         (4) APPEALS PROCESS.—
 1274         (a) The department shall have a procedure by which a young
 1275  adult may appeal the department’s refusal to provide Road-to
 1276  Independence Program services or support, or the termination of
 1277  such services or support if funds for such services or support
 1278  are available.
 1279         (b) The appeal procedure must be readily accessible to
 1280  young adults, must provide for timely decisions, and must
 1281  provide for an appeal to the department. The decision of the
 1282  department constitutes final agency action and is reviewable by
 1283  the court as provided in s. 120.68.
 1284         (5)PORTABILITY.—The services provided under this section
 1285  are portable across county lines and between lead agencies.
 1286         (a) The service needs that are identified in the original
 1287  or updated transition plan, pursuant to s. 39.6035, shall be
 1288  provided by the lead agency where the young adult is currently
 1289  residing but shall be funded by the lead agency who initiated
 1290  the transition plan.
 1291         (b)The lead agency with primary case management
 1292  responsibilities shall provide maintenance payments, case
 1293  planning, including a written description of all services that
 1294  will assist a child 16 years of age or older in preparing for
 1295  the transition from care to independence, as well as regular
 1296  case reviews that conform with all federal scheduling and
 1297  content requirements, for all children in foster care who are
 1298  placed or visiting out-of-state.
 1299         (6) ACCOUNTABILITY.—The department shall develop outcome
 1300  measures for the program and other performance measures in order
 1301  to maintain oversight of the program. No later than January 31
 1302  of each year, the department shall prepare a report on the
 1303  outcome measures and the department’s oversight activities and
 1304  submit the report to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of
 1305  the House of Representatives, and the committees with
 1306  jurisdiction over issues relating to children and families in
 1307  the Senate and the House of Representatives. The report must
 1308  include:
 1309         (a)An analysis of performance on the outcome measures
 1310  developed under this section reported for each community-based
 1311  care lead agency and compared with the performance of the
 1312  department on the same measures.
 1313         (b)A description of the department’s oversight of the
 1314  program, including, by lead agency, any programmatic or fiscal
 1315  deficiencies found, corrective actions required, and current
 1316  status of compliance.
 1317         (c)Any rules adopted or proposed under this section since
 1318  the last report. For the purposes of the first report, any rules
 1319  adopted or proposed under this section must be included.
 1321  secretary shall establish the Independent Living Services
 1322  Advisory Council for the purpose of reviewing and making
 1323  recommendations concerning the implementation and operation of
 1324  the provisions of s. 39.6015 and the Road-to-Independence
 1325  Program. The advisory council shall function as specified in
 1326  this subsection until the Legislature determines that the
 1327  advisory council can no longer provide a valuable contribution
 1328  to the department’s efforts to achieve the goals of the services
 1329  designed to enable a young adult to live independently.
 1330         (a) The advisory council shall assess the implementation
 1331  and operation of the Road-to-Independence Program and advise the
 1332  department on actions that would improve the ability of these
 1333  Road-to-Independence Program services to meet the established
 1334  goals. The advisory council shall keep the department informed
 1335  of problems being experienced with the services, barriers to the
 1336  effective and efficient integration of services and support
 1337  across systems, and successes that the system of services has
 1338  achieved. The department shall consider, but is not required to
 1339  implement, the recommendations of the advisory council.
 1340         (b) The advisory council shall report to the secretary on
 1341  the status of the implementation of the Road-To-Independence
 1342  Program, efforts to publicize the availability of the Road-to
 1343  Independence Program, the success of the services, problems
 1344  identified, recommendations for department or legislative
 1345  action, and the department’s implementation of the
 1346  recommendations contained in the Independent Living Services
 1347  Integration Workgroup Report submitted to the appropriate
 1348  substantive committees of the Legislature by December 31, 2013.
 1349  The department shall submit a report by December 31 of each year
 1350  to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
 1351  the House of Representatives which includes a summary of the
 1352  factors reported on by the council and identifies the
 1353  recommendations of the advisory council and either describes the
 1354  department’s actions to implement the recommendations or
 1355  provides the department’s rationale for not implementing the
 1356  recommendations.
 1357         (c) Members of the advisory council shall be appointed by
 1358  the secretary of the department. The membership of the advisory
 1359  council must include, at a minimum, representatives from the
 1360  headquarters and regional offices of the Department of Children
 1361  and Families, community-based care lead agencies, the Department
 1362  of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Economic Opportunity, the
 1363  Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care
 1364  Administration, the State Youth Advisory Board, Workforce
 1365  Florida, Inc., the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office, foster
 1366  parents, recipients of services and funding through the Road-to
 1367  Independence Program, and advocates for children in care. The
 1368  secretary shall determine the length of the term to be served by
 1369  each member appointed to the advisory council, which may not
 1370  exceed 4 years.
 1371         (d) The department shall provide administrative support to
 1372  the Independent Living Services Advisory Council to accomplish
 1373  its assigned tasks. The advisory council shall be afforded
 1374  access to all appropriate data from the department, each
 1375  community-based care lead agency, and other relevant agencies in
 1376  order to accomplish the tasks set forth in this section. The
 1377  data collected may not include any information that would
 1378  identify a specific child or young adult.
 1379         (e) The advisory council report required under paragraph
 1380  (b), must include an analysis of the system of independent
 1381  living transition services for young adults who reach 18 years
 1382  of age while in foster care before completing high school or its
 1383  equivalent and recommendations for department or legislative
 1384  action. The council shall assess and report on the most
 1385  effective method of assisting these young adults to complete
 1386  high school or its equivalent by examining the practices of
 1387  other states.
 1388         (8) PERSONAL PROPERTY.—Property acquired on behalf of a
 1389  young adult in this program shall become the personal property
 1390  of the young adult and is not subject to the requirements of
 1391  chapter 273 relating to state-owned tangible personal property.
 1392  Such property continues to be subject to applicable federal
 1393  laws.
 1395  The department or community-based care lead agency shall
 1396  document that eligible young adults are enrolled in Medicaid
 1397  under s. 409.903(4).
 1398         (10)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to
 1399  administer this section.
 1400         Section 7. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
 1401  409.175, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1402         409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential
 1403  child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public
 1404  records exemption.—
 1405         (3)(a) The total number of children placed in each family
 1406  foster home shall be based on the recommendation of the
 1407  department, or the community-based care lead agency where one is
 1408  providing foster care and related services, based on the needs
 1409  of each child in care, the ability of the foster family to meet
 1410  the individual needs of each child, including any adoptive or
 1411  biological children or young adults remaining in foster care
 1412  living in the home, the amount of safe physical plant space, the
 1413  ratio of active and appropriate adult supervision, and the
 1414  background, experience, and skill of the family foster parents.
 1415         Section 8. Subsection (4) of section 409.903, Florida
 1416  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1417         409.903 Mandatory payments for eligible persons.—The agency
 1418  shall make payments for medical assistance and related services
 1419  on behalf of the following persons who the department, or the
 1420  Social Security Administration by contract with the Department
 1421  of Children and Family Services, determines to be eligible,
 1422  subject to the income, assets, and categorical eligibility tests
 1423  set forth in federal and state law. Payment on behalf of these
 1424  Medicaid eligible persons is subject to the availability of
 1425  moneys and any limitations established by the General
 1426  Appropriations Act or chapter 216.
 1427         (4) A child who is eligible under Title IV-E of the Social
 1428  Security Act for subsidized board payments, foster care, or
 1429  adoption subsidies, and a child for whom the state has assumed
 1430  temporary or permanent responsibility and who does not qualify
 1431  for Title IV-E assistance but is in foster care, shelter or
 1432  emergency shelter care, or subsidized adoption. This category
 1433  includes a young adult who is eligible to receive services under
 1434  s. 409.1451(5), until the young adult reaches 21 years of age,
 1435  without regard to any income, resource, or categorical
 1436  eligibility test that is otherwise required. This category also
 1437  includes a person who as a child was eligible under Title IV-E
 1438  of the Social Security Act for foster care or the state-provided
 1439  foster care and who is a participant in the Road-to-Independence
 1440  Program.
 1441         Section 9. The Department of Children and Families shall
 1442  work in collaboration with the Board of Governors, the Florida
 1443  College System, and the Department of Education to help address
 1444  the need for a comprehensive support structure in the academic
 1445  arena to assist young adults who have been or continue to remain
 1446  in the foster care system in making the transition from a
 1447  structured care system into an independent living setting.
 1448         Section 10. Effective October 1, 2013, a child or young
 1449  adult who is a participant in the Road-to-Independence Program
 1450  may continue in the program as it exists through December 31,
 1451  2013. Effective January 1, 2014, a child or young adult who is a
 1452  participant in the program shall transfer to the program
 1453  services provided in this act and his or her monthly stipend may
 1454  not be reduced, the method of payment of the monthly stipend may
 1455  not be changed, and the young adult may not be required to
 1456  change his or her living arrangement. These conditions shall
 1457  remain in effect for a child or young adult until he or she
 1458  ceases to meet the eligibility requirements under which he or
 1459  she entered the Road-to-Independence Program. A child or young
 1460  adult applying or reapplying for the Road-to-Independence
 1461  Program on or after October 1, 2013, may apply for program
 1462  services only as provided in this act.
 1463         Section 11. The cost of foster care payments for children
 1464  in foster care from age 18 until age 21, and the cost of
 1465  independent living services for those qualified former foster
 1466  care children up until the age of 23, shall be paid from a
 1467  special category established for that purpose in the General
 1468  Appropriations Act. The amount and fund source in this special
 1469  category will be set each year by the legislature.
 1470         Section 12. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.