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.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.