CS for SB 1036                                   First Engrossed
    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         amending s. 39.6013, F.S.; conforming a cross
    8         reference; creating s. 39.6035, F.S.; requiring the
    9         Department of Children and Families, the community
   10         based care provider, and others to assist a child in
   11         developing a transition plan after the child reaches
   12         17 years of age and requiring a meeting to develop the
   13         plan; specifying requirements and procedures for the
   14         transition plan; requiring periodic review of the
   15         transition plan; requiring the court to approve the
   16         transition plan before the child leaves foster care
   17         and the court terminates jurisdiction; creating s.
   18         39.6251, F.S.; providing definitions; providing that a
   19         young adult may remain in foster care under certain
   20         circumstances after attaining 18 years of age;
   21         specifying criteria for extended foster care;
   22         providing that the permanency goal for a young adult
   23         who chooses to remain in care is transition from care
   24         to independent living; specifying dates for
   25         eligibility for a young adult to remain in extended
   26         foster care; providing for supervised living
   27         arrangements in extended foster care; authorizing a
   28         young adult to return to foster care under certain
   29         circumstances; specifying services that must be
   30         provided to the young adult; directing the court to
   31         retain jurisdiction and hold review hearings; amending
   32         s. 39.701, F.S.; revising judicial review of foster
   33         care cases; making technical changes; providing
   34         criteria for review hearings for children younger than
   35         18 years of age; providing criteria for review
   36         hearings for children 17 years of age; requiring the
   37         department to verify that the child has certain
   38         documents; requiring the department to update the case
   39         plan; providing for review hearings for young adults
   40         in foster care; amending s. 409.145, F.S.; requiring
   41         the department to develop and implement a system of
   42         care for children in foster care; specifying the goals
   43         of the foster care system; requiring the department to
   44         assist foster care caregivers to achieve quality
   45         parenting; specifying the roles and responsibilities
   46         of caregivers, the department, and others; providing
   47         for transition from a caregiver; requiring information
   48         sharing; providing for the adoption and use of a
   49         “reasonable and prudent parent” standard; defining
   50         terms; providing for the application for the standard
   51         of care; providing for limiting liability of
   52         caregivers; specifying foster care room and board
   53         rates; authorizing community-based care service
   54         providers to pay a supplemental monthly room and board
   55         payment to foster parents for providing certain
   56         services; directing the department to adopt rules;
   57         deleting obsolete provisions; amending s. 409.1451,
   58         F.S.; providing for the Road-to-Independence program;
   59         providing legislative findings and intent; providing
   60         for postsecondary services and supports; specifying
   61         aftercare services; providing for appeals of a
   62         determination of eligibility; providing for
   63         portability of services across county lines and
   64         between lead agencies; providing for accountability;
   65         creating the Independent Living Services Advisory
   66         Council; providing for membership and specifying the
   67         duties and functions of the council; requiring reports
   68         and recommendations; directing the department to adopt
   69         rules; amending s. 409.175; allowing for young adults
   70         remaining in care to be considered in total number of
   71         children placed in a foster home; amending s. 409.903,
   72         F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; directing the
   73         Department of Children and Families to work in
   74         collaboration with the Board of Governors, the Florida
   75         College System, and the Department of Education to
   76         help address the need for a comprehensive support
   77         structure in the academic arena to assist young adults
   78         who have been or remain in the foster care system;
   79         providing for an annual report; directing the
   80         Department of Children and Families in collaboration
   81         with the Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent
   82         Association and the Quality Parenting Initiative to
   83         develop design training for caregivers; providing
   84         effective dates.
   86  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   88         Section 1. Subsection (2) of section 39.013, Florida
   89  Statutes, is amended to read:
   90         39.013 Procedures and jurisdiction; right to counsel.—
   91         (2) The circuit court has exclusive original jurisdiction
   92  of all proceedings under this chapter, of a child voluntarily
   93  placed with a licensed child-caring agency, a licensed child
   94  placing agency, or the department, and of the adoption of
   95  children whose parental rights have been terminated under this
   96  chapter. Jurisdiction attaches when the initial shelter
   97  petition, dependency petition, or termination of parental rights
   98  petition, or a petition for an injunction to prevent child abuse
   99  issued pursuant to s. 39.504, is filed or when a child is taken
  100  into the custody of the department. The circuit court may assume
  101  jurisdiction over any such proceeding regardless of whether the
  102  child was in the physical custody of both parents, was in the
  103  sole legal or physical custody of only one parent, caregiver, or
  104  some other person, or was not in the physical or legal custody
  105  of any person when the event or condition occurred that brought
  106  the child to the attention of the court. When the court obtains
  107  jurisdiction of any child who has been found to be dependent,
  108  the court shall retain jurisdiction, unless relinquished by its
  109  order, until the child reaches 21 18 years of age, with the
  110  following exceptions:
  111         (a)If a young adult chooses to leave foster care upon
  112  reaching 18 years of age.
  113         (b)If a young adult does not meet the eligibility
  114  requirements to remain in foster care under s. 39.6251 or
  115  chooses to leave care under that section.
  116         (c)However, If a young adult youth petitions the court at
  117  any time before his or her 19th birthday requesting the court’s
  118  continued jurisdiction, the juvenile court may retain
  119  jurisdiction under this chapter for a period not to exceed 1
  120  year following the young adult’s youth’s 18th birthday for the
  121  purpose of determining whether appropriate aftercare support,
  122  Road-to-Independence Program, transitional support, mental
  123  health, and developmental disability services, that were
  124  required to be provided to the young adult before reaching 18
  125  years of age, to the extent otherwise authorized by law, have
  126  been provided to the formerly dependent child who was in the
  127  legal custody of the department immediately before his or her
  128  18th birthday.
  129         (d) If a petition for special immigrant juvenile status and
  130  an application for adjustment of status have been filed on
  131  behalf of a foster child and the petition and application have
  132  not been granted by the time the child reaches 18 years of age,
  133  the court may retain jurisdiction over the dependency case
  134  solely for the purpose of allowing the continued consideration
  135  of the petition and application by federal authorities. Review
  136  hearings for the child shall be set solely for the purpose of
  137  determining the status of the petition and application. The
  138  court’s jurisdiction terminates upon the final decision of the
  139  federal authorities. Retention of jurisdiction in this instance
  140  does not affect the services available to a young adult under s.
  141  409.1451. The court may not retain jurisdiction of the case
  142  after the immigrant child’s 22nd birthday.
  143         Section 2. Subsection (6) of section 39.6013, Florida
  144  Statutes, is amended to read:
  145         39.6013 Case plan amendments.—
  146         (6) The case plan is deemed amended as to the child’s
  147  health, mental health, and education records required by s.
  148  39.6012 when the child’s updated health and education records
  149  are filed by the department under s. 39.701(2)(a) s.
  150  39.701(8)(a).
  151         Section 3. Section 39.6035, Florida Statutes, is created to
  152  read:
  153         39.6035Transition plan.—
  154         (1) During the 180-day period after a child reaches 17
  155  years of age, the department and the community-based care
  156  provider, in collaboration with the caregiver and any other
  157  individual whom the child would like to include, shall assist
  158  the child in developing a transition plan. The required
  159  transition plan is in addition to standard case management
  160  requirements. The transition plan must address specific options
  161  for the child to use in obtaining services, including housing,
  162  health insurance, education, and workforce support and
  163  employment services. The plan must also consider establishing
  164  and maintaining naturally occurring mentoring relationships and
  165  other personal support services. The transition plan may be as
  166  detailed as the child chooses. In developing the transition
  167  plan, the department and the community-based provider shall:
  168         (a) Provide the child with the documentation required
  169  pursuant to s. 39.701(3); and
  170         (b) Coordinate the transition plan with the independent
  171  living provisions in the case plan and, for a child with
  172  disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  173  transition plan.
  174         (2) The department and the child shall schedule a time,
  175  date, and place for a meeting to assist the child in drafting
  176  the transition plan. The time, date, and place must be
  177  convenient for the child and any individual whom the child would
  178  like to include. This meeting shall be conducted in the child’s
  179  primary language.
  180         (3) The transition plan shall be reviewed periodically with
  181  the child, the department, and other individuals of the child’s
  182  choice and updated when necessary before each judicial review so
  183  long as the child or young adult remains in care.
  184         (4) If a child is planning to leave care upon reaching 18
  185  years of age, the transition plan must be approved by the court
  186  before the child leaves care and the court terminates
  187  jurisdiction.
  188         Section 4. Section 39.6251, Florida Statutes, is created to
  189  read:
  190         39.6251Continuing care for young adults.—
  191         (1) As used in this section, the term “child” means an
  192  individual who has not attained 21 years of age, and the term
  193  “young adult” means an individual who has attained 18 years of
  194  age but who has not attained 21 years of age.
  195         (2) The primary goal for a child in care is permanency. A
  196  child who is living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
  197  and who has not achieved permanency under s. 39.621, is eligible
  198  to remain in licensed care under the jurisdiction of the court
  199  and in the care of the department. A child is eligible to remain
  200  in licensed care if he or she is:
  201         (a) Completing secondary education or a program leading to
  202  an equivalent credential;
  203         (b) Enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary
  204  or vocational education;
  205         (c) Participating in a program or activity designed to
  206  promote or eliminate barriers to employment;
  207         (d) Employed for at least 80 hours per month; or
  208         (e) Unable to participate in programs or activities listed
  209  in (a)-(d) full time due to a physical, intellectual, emotional,
  210  or psychiatric condition that limits participation. Any such
  211  barrier to participation must be supported by documentation in
  212  the child’s case file or school or medical records of a
  213  physical, intellectual, or psychiatric condition that impairs
  214  the child’s ability to perform one or more life activities.
  215         (3) The permanency goal for a young adult who chooses to
  216  remain in care is transition from licensed care to independent
  217  living.
  218         (4)(a) The young adult must reside in a supervised living
  219  environment that is approved by the department or a community
  220  based care lead agency. The young adult shall live
  221  independently, but in an environment in which he or she is
  222  provided supervision, case management, and supportive services
  223  by the department or lead agency. Such an environment must offer
  224  developmentally appropriate freedom and responsibility to
  225  prepare the young adult for adulthood. For the purposes of this
  226  subsection, a supervised living arrangement may include a
  227  licensed foster home, licensed group home, college dormitory,
  228  shared housing, apartment, or another housing arrangement if the
  229  arrangement is approved by the community-based care lead agency
  230  and is acceptable to the young adult, with first choice being a
  231  licensed foster home. A young adult may continue to reside with
  232  the same licensed foster family or group care provider with whom
  233  he or she was residing at the time he or she reached the age of
  234  18 years.
  235         (b) Before approving the residential setting in which the
  236  young adult will live, the department or community-based care
  237  lead agency must ensure that:
  238         1. The young adult will be provided with a level of
  239  supervision consistent with his or her individual education,
  240  health care needs, permanency plan, and independent living goals
  241  as assessed by the department or lead agency with input from the
  242  young adult. Twenty-four hour on-site supervision is not
  243  required, however, 24-hour crisis intervention and support must
  244  be available.
  245         2. The young adult will live in an independent living
  246  environment that offers, at a minimum, life skills instruction,
  247  counseling, educational support, employment preparation and
  248  placement, and development of support networks. The
  249  determination of the type and duration of services shall be
  250  based on the young adult’s assessed needs, interests, and input
  251  and must be consistent with the goals set in the young adult’s
  252  case plan.
  253         (5) Eligibility for a young adult to remain in extended
  254  foster care ends on the earliest of the dates that the young
  255  adult:
  256         1. Reaches 21 years of age or, in the case of a young adult
  257  with a disability, reaches 22 years of age;
  258         2. Leaves care to live in a permanent home consistent with
  259  his or her permanency plan; or
  260         3. Knowingly and voluntarily withdraws his or her consent
  261  to participate in extended care. Withdrawal of consent to
  262  participate in extended care shall be verified by the court
  263  pursuant to s. 39.701, unless the young adult refuses to
  264  participate in any further court proceeding.
  265         (6) A young adult who is between the ages of 18 and 21 and
  266  who has left care may return to care by applying to the
  267  community-based care lead agency for readmission. The community
  268  based care lead agency shall readmit the young adult if he or
  269  she continues to meet the eligibility requirements in this
  270  section.
  271         (a) The department shall develop a standard procedure and
  272  application packet for readmission to care to be used by all
  273  community-based care lead agencies.
  274         (b)Within 30 days after the young adult has been
  275  readmitted to care, the community-based care lead agency shall
  276  assign a case manager to update the case plan and the transition
  277  plan and to arrange for the required services. Such activities
  278  shall be undertaken in consultation with the young adult. The
  279  department shall petition the court to reinstate jurisdiction
  280  over the young adult. Notwithstanding s. 39.013(2), the court
  281  shall resume jurisdiction over the young adult if the department
  282  establishes that he or she continues to meet the eligibility
  283  requirements in this section.
  284         (7)During each period of time that a young adult is in
  285  care, the community-based lead agency shall provide regular case
  286  management reviews that must include at least monthly contact
  287  with the case manager. If a young adult lives outside the
  288  service area of his or her community-based care lead agency,
  289  monthly contact may occur by telephone.
  290         (8) During the time that a young adult is in care, the
  291  court shall maintain jurisdiction to ensure that the department
  292  and the lead agencies are providing services and coordinate
  293  with, and maintain oversight of, other agencies involved in
  294  implementing the young adult’s case plan, individual education
  295  plan, and transition plan. The court shall review the status of
  296  the young adult at least every 6 months and hold a permanency
  297  review hearing at least annually. The court may appoint a
  298  guardian ad litem or continue the appointment of a guardian ad
  299  litem with the young adult’s consent. The young adult or any
  300  other party to the dependency case may request an additional
  301  hearing or review.
  302         (9)The department shall establish a procedure by which a
  303  young adult may appeal a determination of eligibility to remain
  304  in care that was made by a community-based care lead agency. The
  305  procedure must be readily accessible to young adults, must
  306  provide for timely decisions, and must provide for an appeal to
  307  the department. The decision of the department constitutes final
  308  agency action and is reviewable by the court as provided in s.
  309  120.68.
  310         Section 5. Section 39.701, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  311  read:
  312         39.701 Judicial review.—
  313         (1) GENERAL PROVISIONS.—
  314         (a) The court shall have continuing jurisdiction in
  315  accordance with this section and shall review the status of the
  316  child at least every 6 months as required by this subsection or
  317  more frequently if the court deems it necessary or desirable.
  318         (b) The court shall retain jurisdiction over a child
  319  returned to his or her parents for a minimum period of 6 months
  320  following the reunification, but, at that time, based on a
  321  report of the social service agency and the guardian ad litem,
  322  if one has been appointed, and any other relevant factors, the
  323  court shall make a determination as to whether supervision by
  324  the department and the court’s jurisdiction shall continue or be
  325  terminated.
  326         (c)1.(2)(a) The court shall review the status of the child
  327  and shall hold a hearing as provided in this part at least every
  328  6 months until the child reaches permanency status. The court
  329  may dispense with the attendance of the child at the hearing,
  330  but may not dispense with the hearing or the presence of other
  331  parties to the review unless before the review a hearing is held
  332  before a citizen review panel.
  333         2.(b) Citizen review panels may conduct hearings to review
  334  the status of a child. The court shall select the cases
  335  appropriate for referral to the citizen review panels and may
  336  order the attendance of the parties at the review panel
  337  hearings. However, any party may object to the referral of a
  338  case to a citizen review panel. Whenever such an objection has
  339  been filed with the court, the court shall review the substance
  340  of the objection and may conduct the review itself or refer the
  341  review to a citizen review panel. All parties retain the right
  342  to take exception to the findings or recommended orders of a
  343  citizen review panel in accordance with Rule 1.490(h), Florida
  344  Rules of Civil Procedure.
  345         3.(c) Notice of a hearing by a citizen review panel must be
  346  provided as set forth in paragraph (f) subsection (5). At the
  347  conclusion of a citizen review panel hearing, each party may
  348  propose a recommended order to the chairperson of the panel.
  349  Thereafter, the citizen review panel shall submit its report,
  350  copies of the proposed recommended orders, and a copy of the
  351  panel’s recommended order to the court. The citizen review
  352  panel’s recommended order must be limited to the dispositional
  353  options available to the court in paragraph (2)(d) subsection
  354  (10). Each party may file exceptions to the report and
  355  recommended order of the citizen review panel in accordance with
  356  Rule 1.490, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
  357         (d)1.(3)(a) The initial judicial review hearing must be
  358  held no later than 90 days after the date of the disposition
  359  hearing or after the date of the hearing at which the court
  360  approves the case plan, whichever comes first, but in no event
  361  shall the review be held later than 6 months after the date the
  362  child was removed from the home. Citizen review panels may shall
  363  not conduct more than two consecutive reviews without the child
  364  and the parties coming before the court for a judicial review.
  365         2.(b) If the citizen review panel recommends extending the
  366  goal of reunification for any case plan beyond 12 months from
  367  the date the child was removed from the home, the case plan was
  368  adopted, or the child was adjudicated dependent, whichever date
  369  came first, the court must schedule a judicial review hearing to
  370  be conducted by the court within 30 days after receiving the
  371  recommendation from the citizen review panel.
  372         3.(c) If the child is placed in the custody of the
  373  department or a licensed child-placing agency for the purpose of
  374  adoptive placement, judicial reviews must be held at least every
  375  6 months until the adoption is finalized.
  376         4.(d) If the department and the court have established a
  377  formal agreement that includes specific authorization for
  378  particular cases, the department may conduct administrative
  379  reviews instead of the judicial reviews for children in out-of
  380  home care. Notices of such administrative reviews must be
  381  provided to all parties. However, an administrative review may
  382  not be substituted for the first judicial review, and in every
  383  case the court must conduct a judicial review at least every 6
  384  months. Any party dissatisfied with the results of an
  385  administrative review may petition for a judicial review.
  386         5.(e) The clerk of the circuit court shall schedule
  387  judicial review hearings in order to comply with the mandated
  388  times cited in this section.
  389         6.(f) In each case in which a child has been voluntarily
  390  placed with the licensed child-placing agency, the agency shall
  391  notify the clerk of the court in the circuit where the child
  392  resides of such placement within 5 working days. Notification of
  393  the court is not required for any child who will be in out-of
  394  home care no longer than 30 days unless that child is placed in
  395  out-of-home care a second time within a 12-month period. If the
  396  child is returned to the custody of the parents before the
  397  scheduled review hearing or if the child is placed for adoption,
  398  the child-placing agency shall notify the court of the child’s
  399  return or placement within 5 working days, and the clerk of the
  400  court shall cancel the review hearing.
  401         (e)(4) The court shall schedule the date, time, and
  402  location of the next judicial review during the judicial review
  403  hearing and shall list same in the judicial review order.
  404         (f)(5) Notice of a judicial review hearing or a citizen
  405  review panel hearing, and a copy of the motion for judicial
  406  review, if any, must be served by the clerk of the court upon
  407  all of the following persons, if available to be served,
  408  regardless of whether the person was present at the previous
  409  hearing at which the date, time, and location of the hearing was
  410  announced:
  411         1.(a) The social service agency charged with the
  412  supervision of care, custody, or guardianship of the child, if
  413  that agency is not the movant.
  414         2.(b) The foster parent or legal custodian in whose home
  415  the child resides.
  416         3.(c) The parents.
  417         4.(d) The guardian ad litem for the child, or the
  418  representative of the guardian ad litem program if the program
  419  has been appointed.
  420         5.(e) The attorney for the child.
  421         6.(f) The child, if the child is 13 years of age or older.
  422         7.(g) Any preadoptive parent.
  423         8.(h) Such other persons as the court may direct.
  424         (g)(6) The attorney for the department shall notify a
  425  relative who submits a request for notification of all
  426  proceedings and hearings pursuant to s. 39.301(14)(b). The
  427  notice shall include the date, time, and location of the next
  428  judicial review hearing.
  429         (7)(a) In addition to paragraphs (1)(a) and (2)(a), the
  430  court shall hold a judicial review hearing within 90 days after
  431  a youth’s 17th birthday. The court shall also issue an order,
  432  separate from the order on judicial review, that the disability
  433  of nonage of the youth has been removed pursuant to s. 743.045.
  434  The court shall continue to hold timely judicial review hearings
  435  thereafter. In addition, the court may review the status of the
  436  child more frequently during the year prior to the youth’s 18th
  437  birthday if necessary. At each review held under this
  438  subsection, in addition to any information or report provided to
  439  the court, the foster parent, legal custodian, guardian ad
  440  litem, and the child shall be given the opportunity to address
  441  the court with any information relevant to the child’s best
  442  interests, particularly as it relates to independent living
  443  transition services. In addition to any information or report
  444  provided to the court, the department shall include in its
  445  judicial review social study report written verification that
  446  the child:
  447         1. Has been provided with a current Medicaid card and has
  448  been provided all necessary information concerning the Medicaid
  449  program sufficient to prepare the youth to apply for coverage
  450  upon reaching age 18, if such application would be appropriate.
  451         2. Has been provided with a certified copy of his or her
  452  birth certificate and, if the child does not have a valid
  453  driver’s license, a Florida identification card issued under s.
  454  322.051.
  455         3. Has been provided information relating to Social
  456  Security Insurance benefits if the child is eligible for these
  457  benefits. If the child has received these benefits and they are
  458  being held in trust for the child, a full accounting of those
  459  funds must be provided and the child must be informed about how
  460  to access those funds.
  461         4. Has been provided with information and training related
  462  to budgeting skills, interviewing skills, and parenting skills.
  463         5. Has been provided with all relevant information related
  464  to the Road-to-Independence Program, including, but not limited
  465  to, eligibility requirements, forms necessary to apply, and
  466  assistance in completing the forms. The child shall also be
  467  informed that, if he or she is eligible for the Road-to
  468  Independence Program, he or she may reside with the licensed
  469  foster family or group care provider with whom the child was
  470  residing at the time of attaining his or her 18th birthday or
  471  may reside in another licensed foster home or with a group care
  472  provider arranged by the department.
  473         6. Has an open bank account, or has identification
  474  necessary to open an account, and has been provided with
  475  essential banking skills.
  476         7. Has been provided with information on public assistance
  477  and how to apply.
  478         8. Has been provided a clear understanding of where he or
  479  she will be living on his or her 18th birthday, how living
  480  expenses will be paid, and what educational program or school he
  481  or she will be enrolled in.
  482         9. Has been provided with notice of the youth’s right to
  483  petition for the court’s continuing jurisdiction for 1 year
  484  after the youth’s 18th birthday as specified in s. 39.013(2) and
  485  with information on how to obtain access to the court.
  486         10. Has been encouraged to attend all judicial review
  487  hearings occurring after his or her 17th birthday.
  488         (b) At the first judicial review hearing held subsequent to
  489  the child’s 17th birthday, in addition to the requirements of
  490  subsection (8), the department shall provide the court with an
  491  updated case plan that includes specific information related to
  492  independent living services that have been provided since the
  493  child’s 13th birthday, or since the date the child came into
  494  foster care, whichever came later.
  495         (c) At the time of a judicial review hearing held pursuant
  496  to this subsection, if, in the opinion of the court, the
  497  department has not complied with its obligations as specified in
  498  the written case plan or in the provision of independent living
  499  services as required by s. 409.1451 and this subsection, the
  500  court shall issue a show cause order. If cause is shown for
  501  failure to comply, the court shall give the department 30 days
  502  within which to comply and, on failure to comply with this or
  503  any subsequent order, the department may be held in contempt.
  505  OF AGE.—
  506         (a) Social study report for judicial review.—Before every
  507  judicial review hearing or citizen review panel hearing, the
  508  social service agency shall make an investigation and social
  509  study concerning all pertinent details relating to the child and
  510  shall furnish to the court or citizen review panel a written
  511  report that includes, but is not limited to:
  512         1. A description of the type of placement the child is in
  513  at the time of the hearing, including the safety of the child
  514  and the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the
  515  placement.
  516         2. Documentation of the diligent efforts made by all
  517  parties to the case plan to comply with each applicable
  518  provision of the plan.
  519         3. The amount of fees assessed and collected during the
  520  period of time being reported.
  521         4. The services provided to the foster family or legal
  522  custodian in an effort to address the needs of the child as
  523  indicated in the case plan.
  524         5. A statement that either:
  525         a. The parent, though able to do so, did not comply
  526  substantially with the case plan, and the agency
  527  recommendations;
  528         b. The parent did substantially comply with the case plan;
  529  or
  530         c. The parent has partially complied with the case plan,
  531  with a summary of additional progress needed and the agency
  532  recommendations.
  533         6. A statement from the foster parent or legal custodian
  534  providing any material evidence concerning the return of the
  535  child to the parent or parents.
  536         7. A statement concerning the frequency, duration, and
  537  results of the parent-child visitation, if any, and the agency
  538  recommendations for an expansion or restriction of future
  539  visitation.
  540         8. The number of times a child has been removed from his or
  541  her home and placed elsewhere, the number and types of
  542  placements that have occurred, and the reason for the changes in
  543  placement.
  544         9. The number of times a child’s educational placement has
  545  been changed, the number and types of educational placements
  546  which have occurred, and the reason for any change in placement.
  547         10. If the child has reached 13 years of age but is not yet
  548  18 years of age, a statement from the caregiver on the progress
  549  the child has made in acquiring independent living skills the
  550  results of the preindependent living, life skills, or
  551  independent living assessment; the specific services needed; and
  552  the status of the delivery of the identified services.
  553         11. Copies of all medical, psychological, and educational
  554  records that support the terms of the case plan and that have
  555  been produced concerning the parents or any caregiver since the
  556  last judicial review hearing.
  557         12. Copies of the child’s current health, mental health,
  558  and education records as identified in s. 39.6012.
  559         (b) Submission and distribution of reports.—
  560         1. A copy of the social service agency’s written report and
  561  the written report of the guardian ad litem must be served on
  562  all parties whose whereabouts are known; to the foster parents
  563  or legal custodians; and to the citizen review panel, at least
  564  72 hours before the judicial review hearing or citizen review
  565  panel hearing. The requirement for providing parents with a copy
  566  of the written report does not apply to those parents who have
  567  voluntarily surrendered their child for adoption or who have had
  568  their parental rights to the child terminated.
  569         2.(c) In a case in which the child has been permanently
  570  placed with the social service agency, the agency shall furnish
  571  to the court a written report concerning the progress being made
  572  to place the child for adoption. If the child cannot be placed
  573  for adoption, a report on the progress made by the child towards
  574  alternative permanency goals or placements, including, but not
  575  limited to, guardianship, long-term custody, long-term licensed
  576  custody, or independent living, must be submitted to the court.
  577  The report must be submitted to the court at least 72 hours
  578  before each scheduled judicial review.
  579         3.(d) In addition to or in lieu of any written statement
  580  provided to the court, the foster parent or legal custodian, or
  581  any preadoptive parent, shall be given the opportunity to
  582  address the court with any information relevant to the best
  583  interests of the child at any judicial review hearing.
  584         (c)(9)Review determinations.—The court and any citizen
  585  review panel shall take into consideration the information
  586  contained in the social services study and investigation and all
  587  medical, psychological, and educational records that support the
  588  terms of the case plan; testimony by the social services agency,
  589  the parent, the foster parent or legal custodian, the guardian
  590  ad litem or surrogate parent for educational decisionmaking if
  591  one has been appointed for the child, and any other person
  592  deemed appropriate; and any relevant and material evidence
  593  submitted to the court, including written and oral reports to
  594  the extent of their probative value. These reports and evidence
  595  may be received by the court in its effort to determine the
  596  action to be taken with regard to the child and may be relied
  597  upon to the extent of their probative value, even though not
  598  competent in an adjudicatory hearing. In its deliberations, the
  599  court and any citizen review panel shall seek to determine:
  600         1.(a) If the parent was advised of the right to receive
  601  assistance from any person or social service agency in the
  602  preparation of the case plan.
  603         2.(b) If the parent has been advised of the right to have
  604  counsel present at the judicial review or citizen review
  605  hearings. If not so advised, the court or citizen review panel
  606  shall advise the parent of such right.
  607         3.(c) If a guardian ad litem needs to be appointed for the
  608  child in a case in which a guardian ad litem has not previously
  609  been appointed or if there is a need to continue a guardian ad
  610  litem in a case in which a guardian ad litem has been appointed.
  611         4.(d) Who holds the rights to make educational decisions
  612  for the child. If appropriate, the court may refer the child to
  613  the district school superintendent for appointment of a
  614  surrogate parent or may itself appoint a surrogate parent under
  615  the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and s. 39.0016.
  616         5.(e) The compliance or lack of compliance of all parties
  617  with applicable items of the case plan, including the parents’
  618  compliance with child support orders.
  619         6.(f) The compliance or lack of compliance with a
  620  visitation contract between the parent and the social service
  621  agency for contact with the child, including the frequency,
  622  duration, and results of the parent-child visitation and the
  623  reason for any noncompliance.
  624         7.(g) The compliance or lack of compliance of the parent in
  625  meeting specified financial obligations pertaining to the care
  626  of the child, including the reason for failure to comply if such
  627  is the case.
  628         8.(h) Whether the child is receiving safe and proper care
  629  according to s. 39.6012, including, but not limited to, the
  630  appropriateness of the child’s current placement, including
  631  whether the child is in a setting that is as family-like and as
  632  close to the parent’s home as possible, consistent with the
  633  child’s best interests and special needs, and including
  634  maintaining stability in the child’s educational placement, as
  635  documented by assurances from the community-based care provider
  636  that:
  637         a.1. The placement of the child takes into account the
  638  appropriateness of the current educational setting and the
  639  proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the
  640  time of placement.
  641         b.2. The community-based care agency has coordinated with
  642  appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child
  643  remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time
  644  of placement.
  645         9.(i) A projected date likely for the child’s return home
  646  or other permanent placement.
  647         10.(j) When appropriate, the basis for the unwillingness or
  648  inability of the parent to become a party to a case plan. The
  649  court and the citizen review panel shall determine if the
  650  efforts of the social service agency to secure party
  651  participation in a case plan were sufficient.
  652         11.(k) For a child who has reached 13 years of age but is
  653  not yet 18 years of age, the adequacy of the child’s preparation
  654  for adulthood and independent living.
  655         12.(l) If amendments to the case plan are required.
  656  Amendments to the case plan must be made under s. 39.6013.
  657         (d)(10)(a)Orders.—
  658         1. Based upon the criteria set forth in paragraph (c)
  659  subsection (9) and the recommended order of the citizen review
  660  panel, if any, the court shall determine whether or not the
  661  social service agency shall initiate proceedings to have a child
  662  declared a dependent child, return the child to the parent,
  663  continue the child in out-of-home care for a specified period of
  664  time, or initiate termination of parental rights proceedings for
  665  subsequent placement in an adoptive home. Amendments to the case
  666  plan must be prepared as prescribed in s. 39.6013. If the court
  667  finds that the prevention or reunification efforts of the
  668  department will allow the child to remain safely at home or be
  669  safely returned to the home, the court shall allow the child to
  670  remain in or return to the home after making a specific finding
  671  of fact that the reasons for the creation of the case plan have
  672  been remedied to the extent that the child’s safety, well-being,
  673  and physical, mental, and emotional health will not be
  674  endangered.
  675         2.(b) The court shall return the child to the custody of
  676  the parents at any time it determines that they have
  677  substantially complied with the case plan, if the court is
  678  satisfied that reunification will not be detrimental to the
  679  child’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional
  680  health.
  681         3.(c) If, in the opinion of the court, the social service
  682  agency has not complied with its obligations as specified in the
  683  written case plan, the court may find the social service agency
  684  in contempt, shall order the social service agency to submit its
  685  plans for compliance with the agreement, and shall require the
  686  social service agency to show why the child could not safely be
  687  returned to the home of the parents.
  688         4.(d) If, at any judicial review, the court finds that the
  689  parents have failed to substantially comply with the case plan
  690  to the degree that further reunification efforts are without
  691  merit and not in the best interest of the child, on its own
  692  motion, the court may order the filing of a petition for
  693  termination of parental rights, whether or not the time period
  694  as contained in the case plan for substantial compliance has
  695  expired.
  696         5.(e) Within 6 months after the date that the child was
  697  placed in shelter care, the court shall conduct a judicial
  698  review hearing to review the child’s permanency goal as
  699  identified in the case plan. At the hearing the court shall make
  700  findings regarding the likelihood of the child’s reunification
  701  with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
  702  removal of the child from the home. If the court makes a written
  703  finding that it is not likely that the child will be reunified
  704  with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
  705  child was removed from the home, the department must file with
  706  the court, and serve on all parties, a motion to amend the case
  707  plan under s. 39.6013 and declare that it will use concurrent
  708  planning for the case plan. The department must file the motion
  709  within 10 business days after receiving the written finding of
  710  the court. The department must attach the proposed amended case
  711  plan to the motion. If concurrent planning is already being
  712  used, the case plan must document the efforts the department is
  713  taking to complete the concurrent goal.
  714         6.(f) The court may issue a protective order in assistance,
  715  or as a condition, of any other order made under this part. In
  716  addition to the requirements included in the case plan, the
  717  protective order may set forth requirements relating to
  718  reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specified
  719  period of time by a person or agency who is before the court;
  720  and the order may require any person or agency to make periodic
  721  reports to the court containing such information as the court in
  722  its discretion may prescribe.
  724         (a) In addition to the review and report required under
  725  paragraphs (1)(a) and (2)(a), respectively, the court shall hold
  726  a judicial review hearing within 90 days after a child’s 17th
  727  birthday. The court shall also issue an order, separate from the
  728  order on judicial review, that the disability of nonage of the
  729  child has been removed pursuant to s. 743.045 and shall continue
  730  to hold timely judicial review hearings. If necessary, the court
  731  may review the status of the child more frequently during the
  732  year before the child’s 18th birthday. At each review hearing
  733  held under this subsection, in addition to any information or
  734  report provided to the court by the foster parent, legal
  735  custodian, or guardian ad litem, the child shall be given the
  736  opportunity to address the court with any information relevant
  737  to the child’s best interest, particularly in relation to
  738  independent living transition services. The department shall
  739  include in the social study report for judicial review written
  740  verification that the child has:
  741         1. A current Medicaid card and all necessary information
  742  concerning the Medicaid program sufficient to prepare the child
  743  to apply for coverage upon reaching the age of 18, if such
  744  application is appropriate.
  745         2. A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate and,
  746  if the child does not have a valid driver license, a Florida
  747  identification card issued under s. 322.051.
  748         3. A social security card and information relating to
  749  social security insurance benefits if the child is eligible for
  750  those benefits. If the child has received such benefits and they
  751  are being held in trust for the child, a full accounting of
  752  these funds must be provided and the child must be informed as
  753  to how to access those funds.
  754         4. All relevant information related to the Road-to
  755  Independence Program, including, but not limited to, eligibility
  756  requirements, information on participation, and assistance in
  757  gaining admission to the program. If the child is eligible for
  758  the Road-to-Independence Program, he or she must be advised that
  759  he or she may continue to reside with the licensed family home
  760  or group care provider with whom the child was residing at the
  761  time the child attained his or her 18th birthday, in another
  762  licensed family home, or with a group care provider arranged by
  763  the department.
  764         5. An open bank account or the identification necessary to
  765  open a bank account and to acquire essential banking and
  766  budgeting skills.
  767         6. Information on public assistance and how to apply for
  768  public assistance.
  769         7. A clear understanding of where he or she will be living
  770  on his or her 18th birthday, how living expenses will be paid,
  771  and the educational program or school in which he or she will be
  772  enrolled.
  773         8. Information related to the ability of the child to
  774  remain in care until he or she reaches 21 years of age under s.
  775  39.013.
  776         9. A letter providing the dates that the child is under the
  777  jurisdiction of the court.
  778         10.A letter stating that the child is in compliance with
  779  financial aid documentation requirements.
  780         11. The child’s educational records.
  781         12. The child’s entire health and mental health records.
  782         13. The process for accessing his or her case file.
  783         14. A statement encouraging the child to attend all
  784  judicial review hearings occurring after the child’s 17th
  785  birthday.
  786         (b) At the first judicial review hearing held subsequent to
  787  the child’s 17th birthday, the department shall provide the
  788  court with an updated case plan that includes specific
  789  information related to the independent living skills that the
  790  child has acquired since the child’s 13th birthday, or since the
  791  date the child came into foster care, whichever came later.
  792         (c) If the court finds at the judicial review hearing that
  793  the department has not met with its obligations to the child as
  794  stated in the written case plan or in the provision of
  795  independent living services, the court may issue an order
  796  directing the department to show cause as to why it has not done
  797  so. If the department cannot justify its noncompliance, the
  798  court may give the department 30 days within which to comply. If
  799  the department fails to comply within 30 days, the court may
  800  hold the department in contempt.
  801         (d)At the last review hearing before the child reaches 18
  802  years of age, and in addition to the requirements of subsection
  803  (2), the court shall:
  804         1.Address whether the child plans to remain in foster
  805  care, and, if so, ensure that the child’s transition plan
  806  includes a plan for meeting one or more of the criteria
  807  specified in s. 39.6251.
  808         2.Ensure that the transition plan includes a supervised
  809  living arrangement under s. 39.6251.
  810         3.Ensure the child has been informed of:
  811         a.The right to continued support and services from the
  812  department and the community-based care lead agency.
  813         b. The right to request termination of dependency
  814  jurisdiction and be discharged from foster care.
  815         c. The opportunity to reenter foster care pursuant to s.
  816  39.6251.
  817         4. Ensure that the young adult, if he or she requests
  818  termination of dependency jurisdiction and discharge from foster
  819  care, has been informed of:
  820         a.Services or benefits for which the young adult may be
  821  eligible based on his or her former placement in foster care;
  822         b.Services or benefits that may be lost through
  823  termination of dependency jurisdiction; and
  824         c.Other federal, state, local, or community-based services
  825  or supports available to the him or her.
  827  During each period of time that a young adult remains in foster
  828  care, the court shall review the status of the young adult at
  829  least every 6 months and must hold a permanency review hearing
  830  at least annually.
  831         (a)The department and community-based care lead agency
  832  shall prepare and submit to the court a report, developed in
  833  collaboration with the young adult, which addresses the young
  834  adult’s progress in meeting the goals in the case plan. The
  835  report must include progress information related to the young
  836  adult’s independent living plan and transition plan, if
  837  applicable, and shall propose modifications as necessary to
  838  further the young adult’s goals.
  839         (b)The court shall attempt to determine whether the
  840  department and any service provider under contract with the
  841  department are providing the appropriate services as provided in
  842  the case plan.
  843         (c)If the court believes that the young adult is entitled
  844  under department policy or under a contract with a service
  845  provider to additional services to achieve the goals enumerated
  846  in the case plan, it may order the department to take action to
  847  ensure that the young adult receives the identified services.
  848         (d)The young adult or any other party to the dependency
  849  case may request an additional hearing or judicial review.
  850         (e) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, if a
  851  young adult has chosen to remain in extended foster care after
  852  he or she has reached 18 years of age, the department may not
  853  close a case and the court may not terminate jurisdiction until
  854  the court finds, following a hearing, that the following
  855  criteria have been met:
  856         1.Attendance of the young adult at the hearing; or
  857         2.Findings by the court that:
  858         a.The young adult has been informed by the department of
  859  his or her right to attend the hearing and has provided written
  860  consent to waive this right; and
  861         b.The young adult has been informed of the potential
  862  negative effects of early termination of care, the option to
  863  reenter care before reaching 21 years of age, the procedure for,
  864  and limitations on, reentering care, and the availability of
  865  alternative services, and has signed a document attesting that
  866  he or she has been so informed and understands these provisions;
  867  or
  868         c.The young adult has voluntarily left the program, has
  869  not signed the document in sub-subparagraph b., and is unwilling
  870  to participate in any further court proceeding.
  871         3.In all permanency hearings or hearings regarding the
  872  transition of the young adult from care to independent living,
  873  the court shall consult with the young adult regarding the
  874  proposed permanency plan, case plan, and individual education
  875  plan for the young adult and ensure that he or she has
  876  understood the conversation.
  877         Section 6. Section 409.145, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  878  read:
  879         409.145 Care of children; quality parenting; “reasonable
  880  and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the
  881  department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system
  882  of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster
  883  care to provide quality parenting, including approving or
  884  disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the
  885  caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent”
  886  standard.
  887         (1) SYSTEM OF CARE.—The department shall develop, implement
  888  conduct, supervise, and administer a coordinated community-based
  889  system of care program for dependent children who are found to
  890  be dependent and their families. This system of care must The
  891  services of the department are to be directed toward the
  892  following goals:
  893         (a) The Prevention of separation of children from their
  894  families.
  895         (b)Intervention to allow children to remain safely in
  896  their own homes.
  897         (c)(b)The Reunification of families who have had children
  898  removed from their care placed in foster homes or institutions.
  899         (d)Safety for children who are separated from their
  900  families by providing alternative emergency or longer-term
  901  parenting arrangements.
  902         (e)Focus on the well-being of children through emphasis on
  903  maintaining educational stability and providing timely health
  904  care.
  905         (f)(c)Permanency for The permanent placement of children
  906  for whom reunification who cannot be reunited with their
  907  families is not possible or when reunification would is not be
  908  in the best interest of the child.
  909         (d) The protection of dependent children or children
  910  alleged to be dependent, including provision of emergency and
  911  long-term alternate living arrangements.
  912         (g)(e) The transition to independence and self-sufficiency
  913  for older children who remain in foster care through adolescence
  914  continue to be in foster care as adolescents.
  915         (2) The following dependent children shall be subject to
  916  the protection, care, guidance, and supervision of the
  917  department or any duly licensed public or private agency:
  918         (a) Any child who has been temporarily or permanently taken
  919  from the custody of the parents, custodians, or guardians in
  920  accordance with those provisions in chapter 39 that relate to
  921  dependent children.
  922         (b) Any child who is in need of the protective supervision
  923  of the department as determined by intake or by the court in
  924  accordance with those provisions of chapter 39 that relate to
  925  dependent children.
  926         (c) Any child who is voluntarily placed, with the written
  927  consent of the parents or guardians, in the department’s foster
  928  care program or the foster care program of a licensed private
  929  agency.
  930         (3) The circuit courts exercising juvenile jurisdiction in
  931  the various counties of this state shall cooperate with the
  932  department and its employees in carrying out the purposes and
  933  intent of this chapter.
  934         (4) The department is authorized to accept children on a
  935  permanent placement basis by order of a court of competent
  936  jurisdiction for the single purpose of adoption placement of
  937  these children. The department is authorized to provide the
  938  necessary services to place these children ordered to the
  939  department on a permanent placement basis for adoption.
  940         (5) Any funds appropriated by counties for child welfare
  941  services may be matched by state and federal funds, such funds
  942  to be utilized by the department for the benefit of children in
  943  those counties.
  944         (6) Whenever any child is placed under the protection,
  945  care, and guidance of the department or a duly licensed public
  946  or private agency, or as soon thereafter as is practicable, the
  947  department or agency, as the case may be, shall endeavor to
  948  obtain such information concerning the family medical history of
  949  the child and the natural parents as is available or readily
  950  obtainable. This information shall be kept on file by the
  951  department or agency for possible future use as provided in ss.
  952  63.082 and 63.162 or as may be otherwise provided by law.
  953         (7) Whenever any child is placed by the department in a
  954  shelter home, foster home, or other residential placement, the
  955  department shall make available to the operator of the shelter
  956  home, foster home, other residential placement, or other
  957  caretaker as soon thereafter as is practicable, all relevant
  958  information concerning the child’s demographic, social, and
  959  medical history.
  960         (2) QUALITY PARENTING.—A child in foster care shall be
  961  placed only with a caregiver who has the ability to care for the
  962  child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care,
  963  and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the
  964  child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or
  965  psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and
  966  family relationships. The department, the community-based care
  967  lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver
  968  with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver
  969  in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care
  970  for a particular child.
  971         (a)Roles and responsibilities of caregivers.—A caregiver
  972  shall:
  973         1.Participate in developing the case plan for the child
  974  and his or her family and work with others involved in his or
  975  her care to implement this plan. This participation includes the
  976  caregiver’s involvement in all team meetings or court hearings
  977  related to the child’s care.
  978         2.Complete all training needed to improve skills in
  979  parenting a child who has experienced trauma due to neglect,
  980  abuse, or separation from home, to meet the child’s special
  981  needs, and to work effectively with child welfare agencies, the
  982  court, the schools, and other community and governmental
  983  agencies.
  984         3.Respect and support the child’s ties to members of his
  985  or her biological family and assist the child in maintaining
  986  allowable visitation and other forms of communication.
  987         4. Effectively advocate for the child in the caregiver’s
  988  care with the child welfare system, the court, and community
  989  agencies, including the school, child care, health and mental
  990  health providers, and employers.
  991         5.Participate fully in the child’s medical, psychological,
  992  and dental care as the caregiver would for his or her biological
  993  child.
  994         6.Support the child’s school success by participating in
  995  school activities and meetings, including Individual Education
  996  Plan meetings, assisting with school assignments, supporting
  997  tutoring programs, meeting with teachers and working with an
  998  educational surrogate if one has been appointed, and encouraging
  999  the child’s participation in extracurricular activities.
 1000         7.Work in partnership with other stakeholders to obtain
 1001  and maintain records that are important to the child’s well
 1002  being, including child resource records, medical records, school
 1003  records, photographs, and records of special events and
 1004  achievements.
 1005         8.Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care who is
 1006  between 13 and 17 years of age learns and masters independent
 1007  living skills.
 1008         9.Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care is aware
 1009  of the requirements and benefits of the Road-to-Independence
 1010  Program.
 1011         10.Work to enable the child in the caregiver’s care to
 1012  establish and maintain naturally occurring mentoring
 1013  relationships.
 1014         (b)Roles and responsibilities of the department, the
 1015  community-based care lead agency, and other agency staff.—The
 1016  department, the community-based care lead agency, and other
 1017  agency staff shall:
 1018         1.Include a caregiver in the development and
 1019  implementation of the case plan for the child and his or her
 1020  family. The caregiver shall be authorized to participate in all
 1021  team meetings or court hearings related to the child’s care and
 1022  future plans. The caregiver’s participation shall be facilitated
 1023  through timely notification, an inclusive process, and
 1024  alternative methods for participation for a caregiver who cannot
 1025  be physically present.
 1026         2.Develop and make available to the caregiver the
 1027  information, services, training, and support that the caregiver
 1028  needs to improve his or her skills in parenting children who
 1029  have experienced trauma due to neglect, abuse, or separation
 1030  from home, to meet these children’s special needs and to
 1031  advocate effectively with child welfare agencies, the courts,
 1032  schools, and other community and governmental agencies.
 1033         3.Provide the caregiver with all information related to
 1034  services and other benefits that are available to the child.
 1035         (c)Transitions.—
 1036         1.Once a caregiver accepts the responsibility of caring
 1037  for a child, the child will be removed from the home of that
 1038  caregiver only if:
 1039         a.The caregiver is clearly unable to safely or legally
 1040  care for the child;
 1041         b. The child and his or her biological family are
 1042  reunified;
 1043         c. The child is being placed in a legally permanent home
 1044  pursuant to the case plan or a court order; or
 1045         d. The removal is demonstrably in the child’s best
 1046  interest.
 1047         2.In the absence of an emergency, if a child leaves the
 1048  caregiver’s home for a reason provided under subparagraph 1.,
 1049  the transition must be accomplished according to a plan that
 1050  involves cooperation and sharing of information among all
 1051  persons involved, respects the child’s developmental stage and
 1052  psychological needs, ensures the child has all of his or her
 1053  belongings, allows for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s
 1054  home and, if possible, for continued contact with the caregiver
 1055  after the child leaves.
 1056         (d)Information sharing.—Whenever a foster home or
 1057  residential group home assumes responsibility for the care of a
 1058  child, the department and any additional providers shall make
 1059  available to the caregiver as soon as is practicable all
 1060  relevant information concerning the child. Records and
 1061  information that are required to be shared with caregivers
 1062  include, but are not limited to:
 1063         1.Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric, and
 1064  behavioral history, as well as ongoing evaluation or treatment
 1065  needs;
 1066         2.School records;
 1067         3.Copies of his or her birth certificate and, if
 1068  appropriate, immigration status documents;
 1069         4.Consents signed by parents;
 1070         5.Comprehensive behavioral assessments and other social
 1071  assessments;
 1072         6.Court orders;
 1073         7.Visitation and case plans;
 1074         8.Guardian ad litem reports;
 1075         9. Staffing forms; and
 1076         10.Judicial or citizen review panel reports and
 1077  attachments filed with the court, except confidential medical,
 1078  psychiatric, and psychological information regarding any party
 1079  or participant other than the child.
 1080         (e)Caregivers employed by residential group homes.–All
 1081  caregivers in residential group homes shall meet the same
 1082  education, training, and background and other screening
 1083  requirements as foster parents.
 1085         (a) Definitions.—As used in this subsection, the term:
 1086         1. “Age-appropriate” means an activity or item that is
 1087  generally accepted as suitable for a child of the same
 1088  chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is
 1089  based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and
 1090  behavioral capacity which is typical for an age or age group.
 1091         2. “Caregiver” means a person with whom the child is placed
 1092  in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group care
 1093  facility licensed by the department under s. 409.175.
 1094         3. “Reasonable and prudent parent” standard means the
 1095  standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to
 1096  allow a child in his or her care to participate in
 1097  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This
 1098  standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental
 1099  decisionmaking that is intended to maintain a child’s health,
 1100  safety, and best interest while encouraging the child’s
 1101  emotional and developmental growth.
 1102         (b) Application of standard of care.—
 1103         1. Every child who comes into out-of-home care pursuant to
 1104  this chapter is entitled to participate in age-appropriate
 1105  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
 1106         2. Each caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent
 1107  parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a
 1108  child living in out-of-home care to participate in
 1109  extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. When using
 1110  the reasonable and prudent parent standard, the caregiver must
 1111  consider:
 1112         a. The child’s age, maturity, and developmental level to
 1113  maintain the overall health and safety of the child.
 1114         b. The potential risk factors and the appropriateness of
 1115  the extracurricular, enrichment, or social activity.
 1116         c. The best interest of the child, based on information
 1117  known by the caregiver.
 1118         d. The importance of encouraging the child’s emotional and
 1119  developmental growth.
 1120         e. The importance of providing the child with the most
 1121  family-like living experience possible.
 1122         f. The behavioral history of the child and the child’s
 1123  ability to safely participate in the proposed activity.
 1124         (c) Verification of services delivered.—The department and
 1125  each community-based care lead agency shall verify that private
 1126  agencies providing out-of-home care services to dependent
 1127  children have policies in place which are consistent with this
 1128  section and that these agencies promote and protect the ability
 1129  of dependent children to participate in age-appropriate
 1130  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
 1131         (d) Limitation of liability.—A caregiver is not liable for
 1132  harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved
 1133  by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in
 1134  accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard. This
 1135  paragraph may not be interpreted as removing or limiting any
 1136  existing liability protection afforded by law.
 1138         (a)Effective January 1, 2014, room and board rates paid to
 1139  foster parents are as follows:
 1142  Monthly Foster Care Rate0-5 Years Age    6-12 Years Age   13-21 Years Age  
 1146         (b)Foster parents shall receive an annual cost of living
 1147  increase. The department shall calculate the new room and board
 1148  rate increase equal to the percentage change in the Consumer
 1149  Price Index for All Urban Consumers, U.S. City Average, All
 1150  Items, not seasonally adjusted, or successor reports, for the
 1151  preceding December compared to the prior December as initially
 1152  reported by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of
 1153  Labor Statistics. The department shall make available the
 1154  adjusted room and board rates annually.
 1155         (c)The amount of the monthly foster care board rate may be
 1156  increased upon agreement among the department, the community
 1157  based care lead agency, and the foster parent.
 1158         (d) Community-based care lead agencies providing care under
 1159  contract with the department shall pay a supplemental room and
 1160  board payment to foster care parents for providing independent
 1161  life skills and normalcy supports to children who are 13 through
 1162  17 years of age placed in their care. The supplemental payment
 1163  shall be paid monthly to the foster care parents on a per-child
 1164  basis in addition to the current monthly room and board rate
 1165  payment. The supplemental monthly payment shall be based on 10
 1166  percent of the monthly room and board rate for children 13
 1167  through 21 years of age as provided under this section and
 1168  adjusted annually.
 1169         (5)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt by rule
 1170  procedures to administer this section.
 1171         Section 7. Section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended
 1172  to read:
 1173         (Substantial rewording of section. See
 1174         s. 409.1451, F.S., for present text).
 1175         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
 1177         (a)The Legislature recognizes that most children and young
 1178  adults are resilient and, with adequate support, can expect to
 1179  be successful as independent adults. Not unlike many young
 1180  adults, some young adults who have lived in foster care need
 1181  additional support and resources for a period of time after
 1182  reaching 18 years of age.
 1183         (b)The Legislature finds that while it is important to
 1184  provide young adults who have lived in foster care with
 1185  education and independent living skills, there is also a need to
 1186  focus more broadly on creating and preserving family
 1187  relationships so that young adults have a permanent connection
 1188  with at least one committed adult who provides a safe and stable
 1189  parenting relationship.
 1190         (c)It is the intent of the Legislature that young adults
 1191  who choose to participate in the program receive the skills,
 1192  education, and support necessary to become self-sufficient and
 1193  leave foster care with a lifelong connection to a supportive
 1194  adult through the Road-to-Independence Program, either through
 1195  postsecondary education services and support, as provided in
 1196  subsection (2), or aftercare services.
 1198         (a)A young adult is eligible for services and support
 1199  under this subsection if he or she:
 1200         1.Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday
 1201  or is currently living in licensed care; or was at least 16
 1202  years of age and was adopted from foster care or placed with a
 1203  court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6
 1204  months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately
 1205  preceding such placement or adoption;
 1206         2. Spent at least 6 months in licensed care before reaching
 1207  his or her 18th birthday;
 1208         3.Earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent
 1209  pursuant to s. 1003.428, s. 1003.4281, s. 1003.429, s. 1003.43,
 1210  s. 1003.435, or s. 1003.438;
 1211         4.Has been admitted for enrollment as a full-time student
 1212  or its equivalent in an eligible postsecondary educational
 1213  institution as provided in s. 1009.533. For purposes of this
 1214  section, the term “full-time” means 9 credit hours or the
 1215  vocational school equivalent. A student may enroll part-time if
 1216  he or she has a recognized disability or is faced with another
 1217  challenge or circumstance that would prevent full-time
 1218  attendance. A student needing to enroll part-time for any reason
 1219  other than having a recognized disability must get approval from
 1220  his or her academic advisor;
 1221         5.Has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of
 1222  age;
 1223         6.Has applied, with assistance from the young adult’s
 1224  caregiver and the community-based lead agency, for any other
 1225  grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify;
 1226         7.Submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
 1227  which is complete and error free; and
 1228         8.Signed an agreement to allow the department and the
 1229  community-based care lead agency access to school records.
 1230         (b)The amount of the financial assistance shall be as
 1231  follows:
 1232         1.For a young adult who does not remain in foster care and
 1233  is attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1234  the amount is $1,256 monthly.
 1235         2.For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
 1236  attending a postsecondary school, as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1237  and continues to reside in a licensed foster home, the amount is
 1238  the established room and board rate for foster parents. This
 1239  takes the place of the payment provided for in s. 409.145(4).
 1240         3. For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
 1241  temporarily resides away from a licensed foster home for
 1242  purposes of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s.
 1243  1009.533, the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of
 1244  the payment provided for in s. 409.145(4).
 1245         4.For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
 1246  attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, and
 1247  continues to reside in a licensed group home, the amount is
 1248  negotiated between the community-based care lead agency and the
 1249  licensed group home provider.
 1250         5.For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
 1251  temporarily resides away from a licensed group home for purposes
 1252  of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1253  the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of a
 1254  negotiated room and board rate.
 1255         6. The amount of the award may be disregarded for purposes
 1256  of determining the eligibility for, or the amount of, any other
 1257  federal or federally supported assistance.
 1258         7.A young adult is eligible to receive financial
 1259  assistance during the months when enrolled in a postsecondary
 1260  educational institution.
 1261         (c)Payment of financial assistance for a young adult who:
 1262         1. Has chosen not to remain in foster care and is attending
 1263  a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, shall be made
 1264  to the community-based care lead agency in order to secure
 1265  housing and utilities, with the balance being paid directly to
 1266  the young adult until such time the lead agency and the young
 1267  adult determine that the young adult can successfully manage the
 1268  full amount of the assistance.
 1269         2.Has remained in foster care under s. 39.6251 and who is
 1270  attending postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, shall
 1271  be made directly to the foster parent or group home provider.
 1272         3.Community-based care lead agencies or other contracted
 1273  providers are prohibited from charging a fee associated with
 1274  administering the Road-to-Independence payments.
 1275         (d)1. The department must advertise the availability of the
 1276  stipend and must provide notification of the criteria and
 1277  application procedures for the stipend to children and young
 1278  adults leaving, or who were formerly in, foster care;
 1279  caregivers; case managers; guidance and family services
 1280  counselors; principals or other relevant school administrators;
 1281  and guardians ad litem.
 1282         2.If the award recipient transfers from one eligible
 1283  institution to another and continues to meet eligibility
 1284  requirements, the award shall be transferred with the recipient.
 1285         3.The department, or an agency under contract with the
 1286  department, shall evaluate each Road-to-Independence award for
 1287  renewal eligibility on an annual basis. In order to be eligible
 1288  for a renewal award for the subsequent year, the young adult
 1289  must:
 1290         a. Be enrolled for or have completed the number of hours,
 1291  or the equivalent, to be considered a full-time student under
 1292  subparagraph (a)4., unless the young adult qualifies for an
 1293  exception under subparagraph (a)4.
 1294         b. Maintain standards of academic progress as defined by
 1295  the education institution, except that if the young adult’s
 1296  progress is insufficient to renew the award at any time during
 1297  the eligibility period, the young adult may continue to be
 1298  enrolled for additional terms while attempting to restore
 1299  eligibility as long as progress towards the required level is
 1300  maintained.
 1301         4. Funds may be terminated during the interim between an
 1302  award and the evaluation for a renewal award if the department,
 1303  or an agency under contract with the department, determines that
 1304  the award recipient is no longer enrolled in an educational
 1305  institution as described in subparagraph (a)4. or is no longer a
 1306  resident of this state.
 1307         5. The department, or an agency under contract with the
 1308  department, shall notify a recipient who is terminated and
 1309  inform the recipient of his or her right to appeal.
 1310         6. An award recipient who does not qualify for a renewal
 1311  award or who chooses not to renew the award may apply for
 1312  reinstatement. An application for reinstatement must be made
 1313  before the young adult reaches 23 years of age. In order to be
 1314  eligible for reinstatement, the young adult must meet the
 1315  eligibility criteria and the criteria for award renewal for the
 1316  program.
 1317         (3) AFTERCARE SERVICES.—
 1318         (a) Aftercare services are available to a young adult who
 1319  has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of age and
 1320  is:
 1321         1. Not in foster care.
 1322         2. Temporarily not receiving financial assistance under
 1323  subsection (2) to pursue postsecondary education.
 1324         (b) Aftercare services include, but are not limited to, the
 1325  following:
 1326         1. Mentoring and tutoring.
 1327         2. Mental health services and substance abuse counseling.
 1328         3. Life skills classes, including credit management and
 1329  preventive health activities.
 1330         4. Parenting classes.
 1331         5. Job and career skills training.
 1332         6. Counselor consultations.
 1333         7. Temporary financial assistance for necessities,
 1334  including, but not limited to, education supplies,
 1335  transportation expenses, security deposits for rent and
 1336  utilities, furnishings, household goods, and other basic living
 1337  expenses.
 1338         8. Financial literacy skills training.
 1340  The specific services to be provided under this paragraph shall
 1341  be determined by an assessment of the young adult and may be
 1342  provided by the community-based care provider or through
 1343  referrals in the community.
 1344         (c) Temporary assistance provided to prevent homelessness
 1345  shall be provided as expeditiously as possible and within the
 1346  limitations defined by the department.
 1347         (4) APPEALS PROCESS.—
 1348         (a) The department shall have a procedure by which a young
 1349  adult may appeal the department’s refusal to provide Road-to
 1350  Independence Program services or support, or the termination of
 1351  such services or support if funds for such services or support
 1352  are available.
 1353         (b) The appeal procedure must be readily accessible to
 1354  young adults, must provide for timely decisions, and must
 1355  provide for an appeal to the department. The decision of the
 1356  department constitutes final agency action and is reviewable by
 1357  the court as provided in s. 120.68.
 1358         (5)PORTABILITY.—The services provided under this section
 1359  are portable across county lines and between lead agencies.
 1360         (a) The service needs that are identified in the original
 1361  or updated transition plan, pursuant to s. 39.6035, shall be
 1362  provided by the lead agency where the young adult is currently
 1363  residing but shall be funded by the lead agency who initiated
 1364  the transition plan.
 1365         (b)The lead agency with primary case management
 1366  responsibilities shall provide maintenance payments, case
 1367  planning, including a written description of all services that
 1368  will assist a child 16 years of age or older in preparing for
 1369  the transition from care to independence, as well as regular
 1370  case reviews that conform with all federal scheduling and
 1371  content requirements, for all children in foster care who are
 1372  placed or visiting out-of-state.
 1373         (6) ACCOUNTABILITY.—The department shall develop outcome
 1374  measures for the program and other performance measures in order
 1375  to maintain oversight of the program. No later than January 31
 1376  of each year, the department shall prepare a report on the
 1377  outcome measures and the department’s oversight activities and
 1378  submit the report to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of
 1379  the House of Representatives, and the committees with
 1380  jurisdiction over issues relating to children and families in
 1381  the Senate and the House of Representatives. The report must
 1382  include:
 1383         (a)An analysis of performance on the outcome measures
 1384  developed under this section reported for each community-based
 1385  care lead agency and compared with the performance of the
 1386  department on the same measures.
 1387         (b)A description of the department’s oversight of the
 1388  program, including, by lead agency, any programmatic or fiscal
 1389  deficiencies found, corrective actions required, and current
 1390  status of compliance.
 1391         (c)Any rules adopted or proposed under this section since
 1392  the last report. For the purposes of the first report, any rules
 1393  adopted or proposed under this section must be included.
 1395  secretary shall establish the Independent Living Services
 1396  Advisory Council for the purpose of reviewing and making
 1397  recommendations concerning the implementation and operation of
 1398  the provisions of s. 39.6015 and the Road-to-Independence
 1399  Program. The advisory council shall function as specified in
 1400  this subsection until the Legislature determines that the
 1401  advisory council can no longer provide a valuable contribution
 1402  to the department’s efforts to achieve the goals of the services
 1403  designed to enable a young adult to live independently.
 1404         (a) The advisory council shall assess the implementation
 1405  and operation of the Road-to-Independence Program and advise the
 1406  department on actions that would improve the ability of these
 1407  Road-to-Independence Program services to meet the established
 1408  goals. The advisory council shall keep the department informed
 1409  of problems being experienced with the services, barriers to the
 1410  effective and efficient integration of services and support
 1411  across systems, and successes that the system of services has
 1412  achieved. The department shall consider, but is not required to
 1413  implement, the recommendations of the advisory council.
 1414         (b) The advisory council shall report to the secretary on
 1415  the status of the implementation of the Road-To-Independence
 1416  Program, efforts to publicize the availability of the Road-to
 1417  Independence Program, the success of the services, problems
 1418  identified, recommendations for department or legislative
 1419  action, and the department’s implementation of the
 1420  recommendations contained in the Independent Living Services
 1421  Integration Workgroup Report submitted to the appropriate
 1422  substantive committees of the Legislature by December 31, 2013.
 1423  The department shall submit a report by December 31 of each year
 1424  to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
 1425  the House of Representatives which includes a summary of the
 1426  factors reported on by the council and identifies the
 1427  recommendations of the advisory council and either describes the
 1428  department’s actions to implement the recommendations or
 1429  provides the department’s rationale for not implementing the
 1430  recommendations.
 1431         (c) Members of the advisory council shall be appointed by
 1432  the secretary of the department. The membership of the advisory
 1433  council must include, at a minimum, representatives from the
 1434  headquarters and regional offices of the Department of Children
 1435  and Families, community-based care lead agencies, the Department
 1436  of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Economic Opportunity, the
 1437  Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care
 1438  Administration, the State Youth Advisory Board, Workforce
 1439  Florida, Inc., the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office, foster
 1440  parents, recipients of services and funding through the Road-to
 1441  Independence Program, and advocates for children in care. The
 1442  secretary shall determine the length of the term to be served by
 1443  each member appointed to the advisory council, which may not
 1444  exceed 4 years.
 1445         (d) The department shall provide administrative support to
 1446  the Independent Living Services Advisory Council to accomplish
 1447  its assigned tasks. The advisory council shall be afforded
 1448  access to all appropriate data from the department, each
 1449  community-based care lead agency, and other relevant agencies in
 1450  order to accomplish the tasks set forth in this section. The
 1451  data collected may not include any information that would
 1452  identify a specific child or young adult.
 1453         (e) The advisory council report required under paragraph
 1454  (b), must include an analysis of the system of independent
 1455  living transition services for young adults who reach 18 years
 1456  of age while in foster care before completing high school or its
 1457  equivalent and recommendations for department or legislative
 1458  action. The council shall assess and report on the most
 1459  effective method of assisting these young adults to complete
 1460  high school or its equivalent by examining the practices of
 1461  other states.
 1462         (8) PERSONAL PROPERTY.—Property acquired on behalf of a
 1463  young adult in this program shall become the personal property
 1464  of the young adult and is not subject to the requirements of
 1465  chapter 273 relating to state-owned tangible personal property.
 1466  Such property continues to be subject to applicable federal
 1467  laws.
 1469  The department or community-based care lead agency shall
 1470  document that eligible young adults are enrolled in Medicaid
 1471  under s. 409.903(4).
 1472         (10)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to
 1473  administer this section.
 1474         Section 8. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
 1475  409.175, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1476         409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential
 1477  child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public
 1478  records exemption.—
 1479         (3)(a) The total number of children placed in each family
 1480  foster home shall be based on the recommendation of the
 1481  department, or the community-based care lead agency where one is
 1482  providing foster care and related services, based on the needs
 1483  of each child in care, the ability of the foster family to meet
 1484  the individual needs of each child, including any adoptive or
 1485  biological children or young adults remaining in foster care
 1486  living in the home, the amount of safe physical plant space, the
 1487  ratio of active and appropriate adult supervision, and the
 1488  background, experience, and skill of the family foster parents.
 1489         Section 9. Subsection (4) of section 409.903, Florida
 1490  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1491         409.903 Mandatory payments for eligible persons.—The agency
 1492  shall make payments for medical assistance and related services
 1493  on behalf of the following persons who the department, or the
 1494  Social Security Administration by contract with the Department
 1495  of Children and Family Services, determines to be eligible,
 1496  subject to the income, assets, and categorical eligibility tests
 1497  set forth in federal and state law. Payment on behalf of these
 1498  Medicaid eligible persons is subject to the availability of
 1499  moneys and any limitations established by the General
 1500  Appropriations Act or chapter 216.
 1501         (4) A child who is eligible under Title IV-E of the Social
 1502  Security Act for subsidized board payments, foster care, or
 1503  adoption subsidies, and a child for whom the state has assumed
 1504  temporary or permanent responsibility and who does not qualify
 1505  for Title IV-E assistance but is in foster care, shelter or
 1506  emergency shelter care, or subsidized adoption. This category
 1507  includes a young adult who is eligible to receive services under
 1508  s. 409.1451(5), until the young adult reaches 21 years of age,
 1509  without regard to any income, resource, or categorical
 1510  eligibility test that is otherwise required. This category also
 1511  includes a person who as a child was eligible under Title IV-E
 1512  of the Social Security Act for foster care or the state-provided
 1513  foster care and who is a participant in the Road-to-Independence
 1514  Program.
 1515         Section 10. Effective July 1, 2013, the Department of
 1516  Children and Families shall work in collaboration with the Board
 1517  of Governors, the Florida College System, and the Department of
 1518  Education to help address the need for a comprehensive support
 1519  structure in the academic arena to assist children and young
 1520  adults who have been or continue to remain in the foster care
 1521  system in making the transition from a structured care system
 1522  into an independent living setting. The State University System
 1523  of Florida and the Florida College System shall provide
 1524  postsecondary educational campus coaching positions that will be
 1525  integrated into Florida College System institutions’ and
 1526  university institutions’ general support services structure to
 1527  provide current and former foster care children and young adults
 1528  with dedicated, on-campus support. The Department of Children
 1529  and Families has the sole discretion to determine which state
 1530  college or university will offer a campus coaching position,
 1531  based on departmental demographic data indicating greatest need.
 1532  These campus coaching positions shall be employees of the
 1533  selected educational institutions, focused on supporting
 1534  children and young adults who have been or continue to remain in
 1535  the foster care system. The Chancellors of the Florida College
 1536  System and the Board of Governors shall report annually to the
 1537  Department of Children and Families specific data, subject to
 1538  privacy laws, about the children and young adults served by the
 1539  campus coaches, including academic progress, retention rates for
 1540  students enrolled in the program, financial aid requested and
 1541  received, and information required by the National Youth in
 1542  Transition Database.
 1543         Section 11. Effective January 1, 2014, a child or young
 1544  adult who is a participant in the program shall transfer to the
 1545  program services provided in this act, and his or her monthly
 1546  stipend may not be reduced, the method of payment of the monthly
 1547  stipend may not be changed, and the young adult may not be
 1548  required to change his or her living arrangement. These
 1549  conditions shall remain in effect for a child or young adult
 1550  until he or she ceases to meet the eligibility requirements
 1551  under which he or she entered the Road-to-Independence Program.
 1552  A child or young adult applying or reapplying for the Road-to
 1553  Independence Program on or after January 1, 2014, may apply for
 1554  program services only as provided in this act.
 1555         Section 12. The Department of Children and Families in
 1556  collaboration with the Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent
 1557  Association and the Quality Parenting Initiative will design and
 1558  disseminate training for caregivers on skill building on the
 1559  life skills necessary for youth in the foster care system.
 1560         Section 13. This act shall take effect January 1, 2014.