Florida Senate - 2018 SB 1650 By Senator Montford 3-01078A-18 20181650__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to child abuse, abandonment, and 3 neglect; amending s. 39.202, F.S.; prohibiting the 4 Department of Children and Families from releasing the 5 names of certain persons who have provided information 6 during a protective investigation except under certain 7 circumstances; providing an effective date. 8 9 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 10 11 Section 1. Subsections (2) and (5) of section 39.202, 12 Florida Statutes, are amended to read: 13 39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of 14 child abuse or neglect.— 15 (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such 16 records, excluding the name of the reporter and the names of 17 instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2), school 18 administrators as defined in s. 1012.01(3)(c), and educational 19 support employees as described in s. 1012.01(6)(a) who have 20 provided information during a protective investigation which 21 shall be released only as provided in subsection (5), shall be 22 granted only to the following persons, officials, and agencies: 23 (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of 24 the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons 25 with Disabilities, the Office of Early Learning, or county 26 agencies responsible for carrying out: 27 1. Child or adult protective investigations; 28 2. Ongoing child or adult protective services; 29 3. Early intervention and prevention services; 30 4. Healthy Start services; 31 5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes, 32 child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapter 393, 33 family day care homes, providers who receive school readiness 34 funding under part VI of chapter 1002, or other homes used to 35 provide for the care and welfare of children; 36 6. Employment screening for caregivers in residential group 37 homes; or 38 7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided 39 by certified domestic violence centers working at the 40 department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients. 41 42 Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice 43 responsible for the provision of services to children, pursuant 44 to chapters 984 and 985. 45 (b) Criminal justice agencies of appropriate jurisdiction. 46 (c) The state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the 47 child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred. 48 (d) The parent or legal custodian of any child who is 49 alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and the 50 child, and their attorneys, including any attorney representing 51 a child in civil or criminal proceedings. This access must
shall52 be made available no later than 60 days after the department 53 receives the initial report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. 54 However, any information otherwise made confidential or exempt 55 by law may shallnot be released pursuant to this paragraph. 56 (e) Any person alleged in the report as having caused the 57 abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child. This access must 58 shallbe made available no later than 60 days after the 59 department receives the initial report of abuse, abandonment, or 60 neglect and, when the alleged perpetrator is not a parent, must 61 shallbe limited to information involving the protective 62 investigation only and may shallnot include any information 63 relating to subsequent dependency proceedings. However, any 64 information otherwise made confidential or exempt by law may 65 shallnot be released pursuant to this paragraph. 66 (f) A court upon its finding that access to such records 67 may be necessary for the determination of an issue before the 68 court; however, such access must shallbe limited to inspection 69 in camera, unless the court determines that public disclosure of 70 the information contained therein is necessary for the 71 resolution of an issue then pending before it. 72 (g) A grand jury, by subpoena, upon its determination that 73 access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its 74 official business. 75 (h) Any appropriate official of the department or the 76 Agency for Persons with Disabilities who is responsible for: 77 1. Administration or supervision of the department’s 78 program for the prevention, investigation, or treatment of child 79 abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, neglect, or 80 exploitation of a vulnerable adult, when carrying out his or her 81 official function; 82 2. Taking appropriate administrative action concerning an 83 employee of the department or the agency who is alleged to have 84 perpetrated child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, 85 neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult; or 86 3. Employing and continuing employment of personnel of the 87 department or the agency. 88 (i) Any person authorized by the department who is engaged 89 in the use of such records or information for bona fide 90 research, statistical, or audit purposes. Such individual or 91 entity shall enter into a privacy and security agreement with 92 the department and shall comply with all laws and rules 93 governing the use of such records and information for research 94 and statistical purposes. Information identifying the subjects 95 of such records or information shall be treated as confidential 96 by the researcher and may shallnot be released in any form. 97 (j) The Division of Administrative Hearings for purposes of 98 any administrative challenge. 99 (k) Any appropriate official of an a Floridaadvocacy 100 council in this state investigating a report of known or 101 suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; the Auditor 102 General or the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government 103 Accountability for the purpose of conducting audits or 104 examinations pursuant to law; or the guardian ad litem for the 105 child. 106 (l) Employees or agents of an agency of another state that 107 has comparable jurisdiction to the jurisdiction described in 108 paragraph (a). 109 (m) The Public Employees Relations Commission for the sole 110 purpose of obtaining evidence for appeals filed pursuant to s. 111 447.207. Records may be released only after deletion of all 112 information which specifically identifies persons other than the 113 employee. 114 (n) Employees or agents of the Department of Revenue 115 responsible for child support enforcement activities. 116 (o) Any person in the event of the death of a child 117 determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect. 118 Information identifying the person reporting abuse, abandonment, 119 or neglect may shallnot be released. Any information otherwise 120 made confidential or exempt by law may shallnot be released 121 pursuant to this paragraph. 122 (p) An employee of the local school district who is 123 designated as a liaison between the school district and the 124 department pursuant to an interagency agreement required under 125 s. 39.0016 and the principal of a public school, private school, 126 or charter school where the child is a student. Information 127 contained in the records which the liaison or the principal 128 determines are necessary for a school employee to effectively 129 provide a student with educational services may be released to 130 that employee. 131 (q) An employee or agent of the Department of Education who 132 is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of 133 misconduct by a certified educator. 134 (r) Staff of a children’s advocacy center that is 135 established and operated under s. 39.3035. 136 (s) A physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459, 137 a psychologist licensed under chapter 490, or a mental health 138 professional licensed under chapter 491 engaged in the care or 139 treatment of the child. 140 (t) Persons with whom the department is seeking to place 141 the child or to whom placement has been granted, including 142 foster parents for whom an approved home study has been 143 conducted, the designee of a licensed residential group home 144 described in s. 39.523, an approved relative or nonrelative with 145 whom a child is placed pursuant to s. 39.402, preadoptive 146 parents for whom a favorable preliminary adoptive home study has 147 been conducted, adoptive parents, or an adoption entity acting 148 on behalf of preadoptive or adoptive parents. 149 (5)(a) The name of any person reporting child abuse, 150 abandonment, or neglect may not be released to any person other 151 than employees of the department responsible for child 152 protective services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement, 153 the child protection team, or the appropriate state attorney, 154 without the written consent of the person reporting. This does 155 not prohibit the subpoenaing of a person reporting child abuse, 156 abandonment, or neglect when deemed necessary by the court, the 157 state attorney, or the department, provided the fact that such 158 person made the report is not disclosed. Any person who reports 159 a case of child abuse or neglect may, at the time he or she 160 makes the report, request that the department notify him or her 161 that a child protective investigation occurred as a result of 162 the report. Any person specifically listed in s. 39.201(1) who 163 makes a report in his or her official capacity may also request 164 a written summary of the outcome of the investigation. The 165 department must shallmail such a notice to the reporter within 166 10 days after completing the child protective investigation. 167 (b) The names of instructional personnel as defined in s. 168 1012.01(2), school administrators as defined in s. 169 1012.01(3)(c), and educational support employees as described in 170 s. 1012.01(6)(a) who have provided information during a 171 protective investigation may not be released to any person other 172 than employees of the department responsible for child 173 protective services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement, 174 the child protection team, or the appropriate state attorney 175 without the written consent of such personnel. 176 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.