Florida Senate - 2014                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. CS for SB 972
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  04/02/2014           .                                

    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. (1)(a) The Legislature finds that:
    6         1. All children in proceedings under this chapter have
    7  important interests at stake, such as health, safety, and well
    8  being and the need to obtain permanency.
    9         2. A dependent child who has certain special needs has a
   10  particular need for an attorney to represent the dependent child
   11  in proceedings under this chapter, as well as in fair hearings
   12  and appellate proceedings, so that the attorney may address the
   13  child’s medical and related needs and the services and supports
   14  necessary for the child to live successfully in the community.
   15         (b) The Legislature recognizes the existence of
   16  organizations that provide attorney representation to children
   17  in certain jurisdictions throughout the state. Further, the
   18  Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Program provides best interest
   19  representation for dependent children in every jurisdiction in
   20  accordance with state and federal law. The Legislature,
   21  therefore, does not intend that funding provided for
   22  representation under this section supplant proven and existing
   23  organizations representing children. Instead, the Legislature
   24  intends that funding provided for representation under this
   25  section be an additional resource for the representation of more
   26  children in these jurisdictions, to the extent necessary to meet
   27  the requirements of this chapter, with the cooperation of
   28  existing local organizations or through the expansion of those
   29  organizations. The Legislature encourages the expansion of pro
   30  bono representation for children. This section is not intended
   31  to limit the ability of a pro bono attorney to appear on behalf
   32  of a child.
   33         Section 2. Section 39.01305, Florida Statutes, is created
   34  to read:
   35         39.01305 Appointment of an attorney for a dependent child
   36  with certain special needs.—
   37         (1) An attorney shall be appointed for a dependent child
   38  who:
   39         (a) Resides in a skilled nursing facility or is being
   40  considered for placement in a skilled nursing home;
   41         (b) Is prescribed a psychotropic medication but declines to
   42  assent to the psychotropic medication;
   43         (c) Has a diagnosis of developmental disability as defined
   44  in s. 393.063;
   45         (d) Is being placed in a residential treatment center or
   46  being considered for placement in a residential treatment
   47  center; or
   48         (e) Is a victim of human trafficking as defined in s.
   49  787.06(2)(d).
   50         (2)(a) Before a court may appoint an attorney who may be
   51  compensated pursuant to this section, the court must request a
   52  recommendation from the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office for
   53  an attorney who is willing to represent a child without
   54  additional compensation. If such an attorney is available within
   55  15 days after the court’s request, the court must appoint that
   56  attorney. However, the court may appoint a compensated attorney
   57  within the 15-day period if the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem
   58  informs the court that it will not be able to recommend an
   59  attorney in that time period.
   60         (b) After an attorney is appointed, the appointment
   61  continues in effect until the attorney is allowed to withdraw or
   62  is discharged by the court or until the case is dismissed. An
   63  attorney who is appointed to represent the child shall provide
   64  the complete range of legal services, from the removal from home
   65  or from the initial appointment through all available appellate
   66  proceedings. With the permission of the court, the attorney for
   67  the dependent child may arrange for supplemental or separate
   68  counsel to represent the child in appellate proceedings. A court
   69  order appointing an attorney under this section must be in
   70  writing.
   71         (3) Except if the attorney has agreed to provide pro bono
   72  services, an appointed attorney or organization must be
   73  adequately compensated and provided with access to funding for
   74  expert witnesses, depositions, and other costs of litigation.
   75  Payment to an attorney is subject to appropriations and subject
   76  to review by the Justice Administrative Commission for
   77  reasonableness. The Justice Administrative Commission shall
   78  contract with attorneys appointed by the court. Attorney fees
   79  may not exceed $3,000 per child per year.
   80         (4) The department shall develop procedures to identify a
   81  dependent child who has a special need specified under
   82  subsection (1) and to request that a court appoint an attorney
   83  for the child. The department may adopt rules to administer this
   84  section.
   85         (5) This section does not limit the authority of the court
   86  to appoint an attorney for a dependent child in a proceeding
   87  under this chapter.
   88         (6) Implementation of this section is subject to
   89  appropriations expressly made for that purpose.
   90         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.
   92  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
   93  And the title is amended as follows:
   94         Delete everything before the enacting clause
   95  and insert:
   96                        A bill to be entitled