Florida Senate - 2017                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 1044
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  03/13/2017           .                                

       The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs (Garcia)
       recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment 
    3         Delete lines 1105 - 1188
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 12. Section 39.523, Florida Statutes, is amended to
    6  read:
    7         (Substantial rewording of section. See 39.523, F.S., for
    8  present text.)
    9         39.523 Placement in out-of-home care.—The Legislature finds
   10  that it is a basic tenet of child welfare practice and the law
   11  that children be placed in the least restrictive, most family
   12  like setting available in close proximity to the home of their
   13  parents, consistent with the best interests and needs of the
   14  child, and that children be placed in permanent homes in a
   15  timely manner.
   16         (1) When any child is removed from the home and placed into
   17  out-of-home care, a comprehensive placement assessment shall be
   18  completed to determine whether the child’s needs can be met with
   19  family members or in a family foster home and, if not, which
   20  type of foster care placement setting would provide a more
   21  effective and appropriate level of care.
   22         (2) The assessment and any placement decision must be done
   23  in conjunction with a permanency team that must be established
   24  by the department or the community-based care lead agency that
   25  places children pursuant to this section and is dedicated to
   26  overcoming the permanency challenges occurring for children in
   27  out-of-home care. The team must attempt to include a
   28  representative from the community-based care lead agency, the
   29  caseworker for the child, the out-of-home care provider, the
   30  guardian ad litem if one has been appointed, any provider of
   31  services to the child, teachers, clergy, relatives, fictive kin,
   32  and all appropriate biological family members.
   33         (3) The permanency team shall convene a multidisciplinary
   34  staffing every 180 calendar days, to coincide with the judicial
   35  review, to reassess the appropriateness of the child’s current
   36  placement. The multidisciplinary staffing shall consider, at a
   37  minimum, the current level of the child’s functioning, whether
   38  recommended services are being provided effectively, any
   39  services that would enable transition to a less restrictive
   40  family-like setting, and diligent efforts to find other
   41  permanent living arrangements for the child.
   42         (4) The department shall document initial placement
   43  assessments in the Florida Safe Families Network.
   44         (5) If it is determined during the comprehensive placement
   45  assessment that residential treatment as defined in s. 39.407
   46  would be suitable for the child, the procedures in that section
   47  must be followed.
   48         (6) At each judicial review, the court shall review the
   49  assessment placement decision for the child and the department
   50  shall demonstrate why the placement is in the least restrictive
   51  setting. If the child has been placed in group care with a
   52  residential child-caring agency, the department must demonstrate
   53  why the child cannot be placed with a relative or nonrelative or
   54  in a family foster home, must demonstrate why the placement in
   55  group care with a residential child-caring agency continues to
   56  be necessary and consistent with the child’s short-term and
   57  long-term goals, and must document efforts to help the child
   58  transition to a more family-like setting.
   59         (7) By October 1 of each year, the department shall report
   60  to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
   61  the House of Representatives on the placement of children in
   62  out-of-home care, including placements with relatives and
   63  nonrelatives, family foster homes, and residential group care
   64  during the year. At a minimum, the report must include, by
   65  community-based care lead agency:
   66         (a) The number of children placed with relatives and
   67  nonrelatives, in family foster homes, and in residential group
   68  care.
   69         (b) An inventory of available services that are necessary
   70  to maintain children in the least restrictive settings and a
   71  plan for filling any identified gap in those services.
   72         (c) The number of children who were placed based upon the
   73  assessment.
   74         (d) An inventory of existing placements for children by
   75  type and by community-based care lead agency.
   76         (e) The strategies being used by community-based care lead
   77  agencies to recruit, train, and support an adequate number of
   78  families to provide home-based family care.
   79         (f) For every placement of a child made that is contrary to
   80  an appropriate placement as determined by the assessment process
   81  in this section, an explanation from the community-based care
   82  lead agency as to why the placement was made.
   83         (8) The department may adopt rules necessary to carry out
   84  the provisions of this section.