Florida Senate - 2014 SB 972 By Senator Galvano 26-01161-14 2014972__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to attorneys for dependent children 3 with disabilities; creating s. 39.01305, F.S.; 4 defining the term “dependent child with a suspected or 5 known disability”; providing legislative findings; 6 providing that the Legislature intends that an 7 attorney be appointed for a child in a proceeding 8 under ch. 39, F.S., if the child has a suspected or 9 known disability; requiring the appointment to be in 10 writing; requiring that the appointment continue in 11 effect until the attorney is allowed to withdraw or is 12 discharged by the court or until the case is 13 terminated; requiring that the attorney be adequately 14 compensated for his or her services; providing for 15 applicability; providing an effective date. 16 17 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 18 19 Section 1. Section 39.01305, Florida Statutes, is created 20 to read: 21 39.01305 Appointment of an attorney for a dependent child 22 with disabilities.— 23 (1) As used in this section, the term “dependent child with 24 a suspected or known disability” means: 25 (a) A medically dependent or technologically dependent 26 child who because of a medical condition requires continuous 27 therapeutic interventions or skilled nursing supervision and 28 resides in a skilled nursing facility or is being considered for 29 placement in a skilled nursing facility; 30 (b) A dependent child who has been prescribed a 31 psychotropic medication; 32 (c) A dependent child with a suspected diagnosis of 33 developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063; 34 (d) A dependent child being placed in a residential 35 treatment center or being considered for placement in a 36 residential treatment center; or 37 (e) A dependent child who has been a victim or perpetrator 38 of sexual abuse or human trafficking and who is suspected to be 39 in need of mental health treatment. 40 (2)(a) The Legislature finds that: 41 1. All children in proceedings under this chapter have 42 important interests at stake, such as health, safety, and well 43 being and the need to obtain permanency. 44 2. A dependent child with a suspected or known disability 45 has a particular need for an attorney to represent him or her in 46 such proceedings, as well as in fair hearings and appellate 47 proceedings, so that the attorney may address the medical and 48 related needs and the services and supports necessary for the 49 child to live successfully in the community. 50 (b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the court 51 appoint an attorney to represent each dependent child who has a 52 suspected or known disability. 53 (3) An order appointing an attorney for a dependent child 54 who has a suspected or known disability must be in writing. 55 (4) The appointment of an attorney for a dependent child 56 with a suspected or known disability 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 removal from the home or initial 61 appointment through all available appellate proceedings. With 62 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 (5) The attorney must be adequately compensated and 66 provided with access to funding for expert witnesses, 67 depositions, and other costs of litigation. 68 (6) This section does not limit the authority of the court 69 to appoint an attorney for a dependent child in a proceeding 70 under this chapter. 71 (7) Implementation of this section is subject to 72 appropriations expressly made for that purpose. 73 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.