Florida Senate - 2017                             CS for SB 1680
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
       Senators Baxley and Steube
       586-03338-17                                          20171680c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to child welfare; amending s. 39.01,
    3         F.S.; redefining the term “permanency goal”; amending
    4         s. 39.013, F.S.; extending court jurisdiction to age
    5         22 for young adults with disabilities in foster care;
    6         amending s. 39.6035, F.S.; requiring a transition plan
    7         to be approved before a child reaches 18 years of age;
    8         amending s. 39.621, F.S.; specifying the circumstances
    9         under which the permanency goal of maintaining and
   10         strengthening the placement with a parent may be used;
   11         amending s. 409.996, F.S.; requiring the Department of
   12         Children and Families to ensure that an adequate array
   13         of services is available; providing an effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. Subsection (52) of section 39.01, Florida
   18  Statutes, is amended to read:
   19         39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the
   20  context otherwise requires:
   21         (52) “Permanency goal” means the living arrangement
   22  identified for the child to return to or identified as the
   23  permanent living arrangement of the child. Permanency goals
   24  applicable under this chapter, listed in order of preference,
   25  are:
   26         (a) Reunification;
   27         (b) Adoption when a petition for termination of parental
   28  rights has been or will be filed;
   29         (c) Permanent guardianship of a dependent child under s.
   30  39.6221;
   31         (d) Permanent placement with a fit and willing relative
   32  under s. 39.6231; or
   33         (e) Placement in another planned permanent living
   34  arrangement under s. 39.6241.
   36  The permanency goal is also the case plan goal. If concurrent
   37  case planning is being used, reunification may be pursued at the
   38  same time that another permanency goal is pursued.
   39         Section 2. Subsection (2) of section 39.013, Florida
   40  Statutes, is amended to read:
   41         39.013 Procedures and jurisdiction; right to counsel.—
   42         (2) The circuit court has exclusive original jurisdiction
   43  of all proceedings under this chapter, of a child voluntarily
   44  placed with a licensed child-caring agency, a licensed child
   45  placing agency, or the department, and of the adoption of
   46  children whose parental rights have been terminated under this
   47  chapter. Jurisdiction attaches when the initial shelter
   48  petition, dependency petition, or termination of parental rights
   49  petition, or a petition for an injunction to prevent child abuse
   50  issued pursuant to s. 39.504, is filed or when a child is taken
   51  into the custody of the department. The circuit court may assume
   52  jurisdiction over any such proceeding regardless of whether the
   53  child was in the physical custody of both parents, was in the
   54  sole legal or physical custody of only one parent, caregiver, or
   55  some other person, or was not in the physical or legal custody
   56  of any person when the event or condition occurred that brought
   57  the child to the attention of the court. When the court obtains
   58  jurisdiction of any child who has been found to be dependent,
   59  the court shall retain jurisdiction, unless relinquished by its
   60  order, until the child reaches 21 years of age, or 22 years of
   61  age if the child has a disability, with the following
   62  exceptions:
   63         (a) If a young adult chooses to leave foster care upon
   64  reaching 18 years of age.
   65         (b) If a young adult does not meet the eligibility
   66  requirements to remain in foster care under s. 39.6251 or
   67  chooses to leave care under that section.
   68         (c) If a young adult petitions the court at any time before
   69  his or her 19th birthday requesting the court’s continued
   70  jurisdiction, the juvenile court may retain jurisdiction under
   71  this chapter for a period not to exceed 1 year following the
   72  young adult’s 18th birthday for the purpose of determining
   73  whether appropriate services that were required to be provided
   74  to the young adult before reaching 18 years of age have been
   75  provided.
   76         (d) If a petition for special immigrant juvenile status and
   77  an application for adjustment of status have been filed on
   78  behalf of a foster child and the petition and application have
   79  not been granted by the time the child reaches 18 years of age,
   80  the court may retain jurisdiction over the dependency case
   81  solely for the purpose of allowing the continued consideration
   82  of the petition and application by federal authorities. Review
   83  hearings for the child shall be set solely for the purpose of
   84  determining the status of the petition and application. The
   85  court’s jurisdiction terminates upon the final decision of the
   86  federal authorities. Retention of jurisdiction in this instance
   87  does not affect the services available to a young adult under s.
   88  409.1451. The court may not retain jurisdiction of the case
   89  after the immigrant child’s 22nd birthday.
   90         Section 3. Subsection (4) of section 39.6035, Florida
   91  Statutes, is amended to read:
   92         39.6035 Transition plan.—
   93         (4) If a child is planning to leave care upon reaching 18
   94  years of age, The transition plan must be approved by the court
   95  before the child’s 18th birthday and must be attached to the
   96  case plan and updated before each judicial review child leaves
   97  care and the court terminates jurisdiction.
   98         Section 4. Present subsections (2) through (11) of section
   99  39.621, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (3)
  100  through (12), respectively, and a new subsection (2) is added to
  101  that section, to read:
  102         39.621 Permanency determination by the court.—
  103         (2) The permanency goal of maintaining and strengthening
  104  the placement with a parent may be used in all of the following
  105  circumstances:
  106         (a) If a child has not been removed from a parent, even if
  107  adjudication of dependency is withheld, the court may leave the
  108  child in the current placement with maintaining and
  109  strengthening the placement as a permanency option.
  110         (b) If a child has been removed from a parent and is placed
  111  with the parent from whom the child was not removed, the court
  112  may leave the child in the placement with the parent from whom
  113  the child was not removed with maintaining and strengthening the
  114  placement as a permanency option.
  115         (c) If a child has been removed from a parent and is
  116  subsequently reunified with that parent, the court may leave the
  117  child with that parent with maintaining and strengthening the
  118  placement as a permanency option.
  119         Section 5. Section 409.996, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  120  read:
  121         409.996 Duties of the Department of Children and Families.
  122  The department shall contract for the delivery, administration,
  123  or management of care for children in the child protection and
  124  child welfare system. In doing so, the department retains
  125  responsibility to ensure for the quality of contracted services
  126  and programs and shall ensure that an adequate array of services
  127  is available to be are delivered in accordance with applicable
  128  federal and state statutes and regulations.
  129         (1) The department shall enter into contracts with lead
  130  agencies for the performance of the duties by the lead agencies
  131  pursuant to s. 409.988. At a minimum, the contracts must:
  132         (a) Provide for the services needed to accomplish the
  133  duties established in s. 409.988 and provide information to the
  134  department which is necessary to meet the requirements for a
  135  quality assurance program pursuant to subsection (18) and the
  136  child welfare results-oriented accountability system pursuant to
  137  s. 409.997.
  138         (b) Provide for graduated penalties for failure to comply
  139  with contract terms. Such penalties may include financial
  140  penalties, enhanced monitoring and reporting, corrective action
  141  plans, and early termination of contracts or other appropriate
  142  action to ensure contract compliance. The financial penalties
  143  shall require a lead agency to reallocate funds from
  144  administrative costs to direct care for children.
  145         (c) Ensure that the lead agency shall furnish current and
  146  accurate information on its activities in all cases in client
  147  case records in the state’s statewide automated child welfare
  148  information system.
  149         (d) Specify the procedures to be used by the parties to
  150  resolve differences in interpreting the contract or to resolve
  151  disputes as to the adequacy of the parties’ compliance with
  152  their respective obligations under the contract.
  153         (2) The department must adopt written policies and
  154  procedures for monitoring the contract for delivery of services
  155  by lead agencies which must be posted on the department’s
  156  website. These policies and procedures must, at a minimum,
  157  address the evaluation of fiscal accountability and program
  158  operations, including provider achievement of performance
  159  standards, provider monitoring of subcontractors, and timely
  160  followup of corrective actions for significant monitoring
  161  findings related to providers and subcontractors. These policies
  162  and procedures must also include provisions for reducing the
  163  duplication of the department’s program monitoring activities
  164  both internally and with other agencies, to the extent possible.
  165  The department’s written procedures must ensure that the written
  166  findings, conclusions, and recommendations from monitoring the
  167  contract for services of lead agencies are communicated to the
  168  director of the provider agency and the community alliance as
  169  expeditiously as possible.
  170         (3) The department shall receive federal and state funds as
  171  appropriated for the operation of the child welfare system,
  172  transmit these funds to the lead agencies as agreed to in the
  173  contract, and provide information on its website of the
  174  distribution of the federal funds. The department retains
  175  responsibility for the appropriate spending of these funds. The
  176  department shall monitor lead agencies to assess compliance with
  177  the financial guidelines established pursuant to s. 409.992 and
  178  other applicable state and federal laws.
  179         (4) The department shall provide technical assistance and
  180  consultation to lead agencies in the provision of care to
  181  children in the child protection and child welfare system.
  182         (5) The department retains the responsibility for the
  183  review, approval or denial, and issuances of all foster home
  184  licenses.
  185         (6) The department shall process all applications submitted
  186  by lead agencies for the Interstate Compact on the Placement of
  187  Children and the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical
  188  Assistance.
  189         (7) The department shall assist lead agencies with access
  190  to and coordination with other service programs within the
  191  department.
  192         (8) The department shall determine Medicaid eligibility for
  193  all referred children and shall coordinate services with the
  194  Agency for Health Care Administration.
  195         (9) The department shall develop, in cooperation with the
  196  lead agencies, a third-party credentialing entity approved
  197  pursuant to s. 402.40(3), and the Florida Institute for Child
  198  Welfare established pursuant to s. 1004.615, a standardized
  199  competency-based curriculum for certification training for child
  200  protection staff.
  201         (10) The department shall maintain the statewide adoptions
  202  website and provide information and training to the lead
  203  agencies relating to the website.
  204         (11) The department shall provide training and assistance
  205  to lead agencies regarding the responsibility of lead agencies
  206  relating to children receiving supplemental security income,
  207  social security, railroad retirement, or veterans’ benefits.
  208         (12) With the assistance of a lead agency, the department
  209  shall develop and implement statewide and local interagency
  210  agreements needed to coordinate services for children and
  211  parents involved in the child welfare system who are also
  212  involved with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the
  213  Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Education, the
  214  Department of Health, and other governmental organizations that
  215  share responsibilities for children or parents in the child
  216  welfare system.
  217         (13) With the assistance of a lead agency, the department
  218  shall develop and implement a working agreement between the lead
  219  agency and the substance abuse and mental health managing entity
  220  to integrate services and supports for children and parents
  221  serviced in the child welfare system.
  222         (14) The department shall work with the Agency for Health
  223  Care Administration to provide each Medicaid-eligible child with
  224  early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment,
  225  including 72-hour screening, periodic child health checkups, and
  226  prescribed followup for ordered services, including, but not
  227  limited to, medical, dental, and vision care.
  228         (15) The department shall assist lead agencies in
  229  developing an array of services in compliance with the Title IV
  230  E waiver and shall monitor the provision of such services.
  231         (16) The department shall provide a mechanism to allow lead
  232  agencies to request a waiver of department policies and
  233  procedures that create inefficiencies or inhibit the performance
  234  of the lead agency’s duties.
  235         (17) The department shall directly or through contract
  236  provide attorneys to prepare and present cases in dependency
  237  court and shall ensure that the court is provided with adequate
  238  information for informed decisionmaking in dependency cases,
  239  including a face sheet for each case which lists the names and
  240  contact information for any child protective investigator, child
  241  protective investigation supervisor, case manager, and case
  242  manager supervisor, and the regional department official
  243  responsible for the lead agency contract. The department shall
  244  provide to the court the case information and recommendations
  245  provided by the lead agency or subcontractor. For the Sixth
  246  Judicial Circuit, the department shall contract with the state
  247  attorney for the provision of these services.
  248         (18) The department, in consultation with lead agencies,
  249  shall establish a quality assurance program for contracted
  250  services to dependent children. The quality assurance program
  251  shall be based on standards established by federal and state law
  252  and national accrediting organizations.
  253         (a) The department must evaluate each lead agency under
  254  contract at least annually. These evaluations shall cover the
  255  programmatic, operational, and fiscal operations of the lead
  256  agency and must be consistent with the child welfare results
  257  oriented accountability system required by s. 409.997. The
  258  department must consult with dependency judges in the circuit or
  259  circuits served by the lead agency on the performance of the
  260  lead agency.
  261         (b) The department and each lead agency shall monitor out
  262  of-home placements, including the extent to which sibling groups
  263  are placed together or provisions to provide visitation and
  264  other contacts if siblings are separated. The data shall
  265  identify reasons for sibling separation. Information related to
  266  sibling placement shall be incorporated into the results
  267  oriented accountability system required pursuant to s. 409.997
  268  and into the evaluation of the outcome specified in s.
  269  409.986(2)(e). The information related to sibling placement
  270  shall also be made available to the institute established
  271  pursuant s. 1004.615 for use in assessing the performance of
  272  child welfare services in relation to the outcome specified in
  273  s. 409.986(2)(e).
  274         (c) The department shall, to the extent possible, use
  275  independent financial audits provided by the lead agency to
  276  eliminate or reduce the ongoing contract and administrative
  277  reviews conducted by the department. If the department
  278  determines that such independent financial audits are
  279  inadequate, other audits, as necessary, may be conducted by the
  280  department. This paragraph does not abrogate the requirements of
  281  s. 215.97.
  282         (d) The department may suggest additional items to be
  283  included in such independent financial audits to meet the
  284  department’s needs.
  285         (e) The department may outsource programmatic,
  286  administrative, or fiscal monitoring oversight of lead agencies.
  287         (f) A lead agency must assure that all subcontractors are
  288  subject to the same quality assurance activities as the lead
  289  agency.
  290         (19) The department and its attorneys have the
  291  responsibility to ensure that the court is fully informed about
  292  issues before it, to make recommendations to the court, and to
  293  present competent evidence, including testimony by the
  294  department’s employees, contractors, and subcontractors, as well
  295  as other individuals, to support all recommendations made to the
  296  court. The department’s attorneys shall coordinate lead agency
  297  or subcontractor staff to ensure that dependency cases are
  298  presented appropriately to the court, giving consideration to
  299  the information developed by the case manager and direction to
  300  the case manager if more information is needed.
  301         (20) The department, in consultation with lead agencies,
  302  shall develop a dispute resolution process so that disagreements
  303  between legal staff, investigators, and case management staff
  304  can be resolved in the best interest of the child in question
  305  before court appearances regarding that child.
  306         (21) The department shall periodically, and before
  307  procuring a lead agency, solicit comments and recommendations
  308  from the community alliance established in s. 20.19(5), any
  309  other community groups, or public hearings. The recommendations
  310  must include, but are not limited to:
  311         (a) The current and past performance of a lead agency.
  312         (b) The relationship between a lead agency and its
  313  community partners.
  314         (c) Any local conditions or service needs in child
  315  protection and child welfare.
  316         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.