Florida Senate - 2014                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 972
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  03/18/2014           .                                

       (Grimsley) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 39.01305, Florida Statutes, is created
    6  to read:
    7         39.01305 Appointment of an attorney for a dependent child
    8  with disabilities.—
    9         (1)(a) The Legislature finds that:
   10         1. All children in proceedings under this chapter have
   11  important interests at stake, such as health, safety, and well
   12  being and the need to obtain permanency.
   13         2. A dependent child who has a suspected or known
   14  disability has a particular need for an attorney to represent
   15  the dependent child in proceedings under this chapter, as well
   16  as in fair hearings and appellate proceedings, so that the
   17  attorney may address the child’s medical and related needs and
   18  the services and supports necessary for the child to live
   19  successfully in the community.
   20         (b) The Legislature recognizes the existence of
   21  organizations that provide attorney representation to children
   22  in certain jurisdictions throughout the state. The Legislature
   23  finds that some of these organizations have proven effective,
   24  through independent rigorous evaluation, in producing
   25  significantly improved outcomes for children and that many have
   26  been embraced by their local jurisdictions. The Legislature,
   27  therefore, does not intend that funding provided for
   28  representation under this section supplant proven and existing
   29  organizations representing children. Instead, the Legislature
   30  intends that funding provided for representation under this
   31  section be an additional resource for the representation of more
   32  children in these jurisdictions, to the extent necessary to meet
   33  the requirements of this chapter, with the cooperation of
   34  existing local organizations or through the expansion of such
   35  organizations. The Legislature encourages the expansion of pro
   36  bono representation for children. This section is not intended
   37  to limit the ability of a pro bono attorney to appear on behalf
   38  of a child.
   39         (2) An attorney shall be appointed for a dependent child
   40  who has a disability and meets one or more of the following
   41  criteria:
   42         (a) A dependent child who resides in a skilled nursing
   43  facility or is being considered for placement in a skilled
   44  nursing home;
   45         (b) A dependent child who is prescribed a psychotropic
   46  medication but does not want to take the psychotropic
   47  medication;
   48         (c) A dependent child who has a suspected or known
   49  diagnosis of developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063;
   50         (d) A dependent child being placed in a residential
   51  treatment center or being considered for placement in a
   52  residential treatment center; or
   53         (e) A dependent child who has been a victim of human
   54  trafficking.
   55         (3) A court order appointing an attorney under this section
   56  must be in writing. The appointment continues in effect until
   57  the attorney is allowed to withdraw or is discharged by the
   58  court or until the case is dismissed. An attorney who is
   59  appointed to represent the child shall provide the complete
   60  range of legal services, from the removal from home or from the
   61  initial appointment through all available appellate proceedings.
   62  With the permission of the court, the attorney for the dependent
   63  child may arrange for supplemental or separate counsel to handle
   64  proceedings at an appellate hearing.
   65         (4) Except if the attorney has agreed to provide pro bono
   66  services, an appointed attorney must be adequately compensated
   67  and provided with access to funding for expert witnesses,
   68  depositions, and other costs of litigation. Payment to an
   69  attorney is subject to appropriations and subject to review by
   70  the Justice Administrative Commission for reasonableness. The
   71  Justice Administrative Commission may contract with attorneys
   72  selected by the guardian ad litem program. Attorney fees may not
   73  exceed $3,000 per child per year.
   74         (5) This section does not limit the authority of the court
   75  to appoint an attorney for a dependent child in a proceeding
   76  under this chapter.
   77         (6) Implementation of this section is subject to
   78  appropriations expressly made for that purpose.
   79         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.
   81  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
   82  And the title is amended as follows:
   83         Delete everything before the enacting clause
   84  and insert:
   85                        A bill to be entitled                      
   86         An act relating to attorneys for dependent children
   87         with disabilities; creating s. 39.01305, F.S.;
   88         providing legislative findings and intent; requiring
   89         appointment of an attorney to represent a dependent
   90         child who meets one or more specified criteria;
   91         requiring the appointment to be in writing; requiring
   92         that the appointment continue in effect until the
   93         attorney is allowed to withdraw or is discharged by
   94         the court or until the case is dismissed; requiring
   95         that an attorney not acting in a pro bono capacity be
   96         adequately compensated for his or her services and
   97         have access to funding for certain costs; providing
   98         for financial oversight by the Justice Administrative
   99         Commission; providing a limit on attorney fees;
  100         providing applicability; providing an effective date.