Florida Senate - 2014 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT Bill No. SB 972 Ì715646=Î715646 LEGISLATIVE ACTION Senate . House Comm: RCS . 03/18/2014 . . . . ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— (Grimsley) recommended the following: 1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment) 2 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. 80 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.