Florida Senate - 2018 CS for CS for CS for SB 1650
By the Committees on Rules; Governmental Oversight and
Accountability; and Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
Senators Montford and Book
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to child welfare; amending s. 39.001,
3 F.S.; providing an additional purpose of ch. 39, F.S.;
4 providing for the name of a child’s guardian ad litem
5 or attorney ad litem to be entered on court orders in
6 dependency proceedings; amending s. 39.01, F.S.;
7 expanding the definition of the term “harm” to
8 encompass infants born under certain circumstances;
9 amending s. 39.0136, F.S.; requiring cooperation
10 between certain parties and the court to achieve
11 permanency for a child in a timely manner; requiring
12 certain court orders to specify certain deadlines;
13 amending s. 39.402, F.S.; providing that time
14 limitations governing placement of a child in a
15 shelter do not include continuances requested by the
16 court; providing limitations on continuances;
17 providing requirements for parents to achieve
18 reunification with the child; amending s. 39.507,
19 F.S.; requiring the court to advise the parents during
20 an adjudicatory hearing of certain actions that are
21 required to achieve reunification; amending s. 39.521,
22 F.S.; requiring the department to provide copies of
23 the family functioning assessment to certain persons;
24 amending s. 39.522, F.S.; providing conditions for the
25 court to consider the continuity of the child’s
26 placement in the same out-of-home residence before the
27 permanency placement is approved in a postdisposition
28 proceeding to modify custody; amending s. 39.6011,
29 F.S.; requiring a case plan for a child receiving
30 services from the department to include a protocol for
31 parents to achieve reunification with the child;
32 providing that certain action or inaction by a parent
33 may result in termination of parental rights;
34 requiring the department to provide certain
35 information to a parent before signing a case plan;
36 providing a timeframe for referral for services;
37 amending s. 39.6012, F.S.; requiring a case plan to
38 contain certain information; requiring parents or
39 legal guardians to provide certain information to the
40 department or contracted case management agency and to
41 update the information as appropriate; requiring the
42 parents or legal guardians to make proactive contact
43 with the department or contracted case management
44 agency; amending s. 39.6013, F.S.; requiring the court
45 to consider certain factors when determining whether
46 to amend a case plan; conforming a cross-reference;
47 amending s. 39.621, F.S.; requiring the court to
48 determine certain factors at a permanency hearing;
49 requiring the court to hold permanency hearings within
50 specified timeframes until permanency is determined;
51 amending s. 39.701, F.S.; revising the findings a
52 court must make at a judicial review hearing relating
53 to a child’s permanency goal; requiring the department
54 to file a motion to amend a case plan when concurrent
55 planning is used, under certain circumstances;
56 amending s. 39.806, F.S.; specifying that a parent or
57 parents may materially breach a case plan by action or
58 inaction; amending s. 39.811, F.S.; requiring the
59 court to enter a written order of disposition of the
60 child following termination of parental rights within
61 a specified timeframe; providing an effective date.
63 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
65 Section 1. Subsection (7) of section 39.001, Florida
66 Statutes, is amended, and paragraph (q) is added to subsection
67 (1) and paragraph (j) is added to subsection (3) of that
68 section, to read:
69 39.001 Purposes and intent; personnel standards and
71 (1) PURPOSES OF CHAPTER.—The purposes of this chapter are:
72 (q) To recognize the responsibility of:
73 1. The parent from whose custody a child has been taken to
74 take action to comply with the case plan so reunification with
75 the child may occur within the shortest period of time possible,
76 but not more than 1 year after removal or adjudication of the
78 2. The department and its community-based care providers to
79 make reasonable efforts to finalize a family’s permanency plan,
80 including assisting parents with developing strategies to
81 overcome barriers to case plan compliance.
82 3. The court to affirmatively determine what the barriers
83 are to timely reunification, and address such barriers as
84 frequently as needed to ensure compliance with the time
85 limitations established in this chapter.
86 (3) GENERAL PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN.—It is a purpose of
87 the Legislature that the children of this state be provided with
88 the following protections:
89 (j) The ability to contact their guardian ad litem or
90 attorney ad litem, if appointed, by having that individual’s
91 name entered on all orders of the court.
92 (7) PARENTAL, CUSTODIAL, AND GUARDIAN RESPONSIBILITIES.
93 Parents, custodians, and guardians are deemed by the state to be
94 responsible for providing their children with sufficient
95 support, guidance, and supervision. The state further recognizes
96 that the ability of parents, custodians, and guardians to
97 fulfill those responsibilities can be greatly impaired by
98 economic, social, behavioral, emotional, and related problems.
99 It is therefore the policy of the Legislature that it is the
100 state’s responsibility to ensure that factors impeding the
101 ability of caregivers to fulfill their responsibilities are
102 identified through the dependency process and that appropriate
103 recommendations and services to address those problems are
104 considered in any judicial or nonjudicial proceeding. The
105 Legislature also recognizes that time is of the essence for
106 establishing permanency for a child in the dependency system.
107 Therefore, parents must take action to comply with the case plan
108 so reunification with the child may occur within the shortest
109 period of time possible, but not more than 1 year after removal
110 or adjudication of the child, including by notifying the parties
111 and the court of barriers to case plan compliance.
112 Section 2. Subsection (30) of section 39.01, Florida
113 Statutes, is amended to read:
114 39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the
115 context otherwise requires:
116 (30) “Harm” to a child’s health or welfare can occur when
117 any person:
118 (a) Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child
119 physical, mental, or emotional injury. In determining whether
120 harm has occurred, the following factors must be considered in
121 evaluating any physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child:
122 the age of the child; any prior history of injuries to the
123 child; the location of the injury on the body of the child; the
124 multiplicity of the injury; and the type of trauma inflicted.
125 Such injury includes, but is not limited to:
126 1. Willful acts that produce the following specific
128 a. Sprains, dislocations, or cartilage damage.
129 b. Bone or skull fractures.
130 c. Brain or spinal cord damage.
131 d. Intracranial hemorrhage or injury to other internal
133 e. Asphyxiation, suffocation, or drowning.
134 f. Injury resulting from the use of a deadly weapon.
135 g. Burns or scalding.
136 h. Cuts, lacerations, punctures, or bites.
137 i. Permanent or temporary disfigurement.
138 j. Permanent or temporary loss or impairment of a body part
139 or function.
141 As used in this subparagraph, the term “willful” refers to the
142 intent to perform an action, not to the intent to achieve a
143 result or to cause an injury.
144 2. Purposely giving a child poison, alcohol, drugs, or
145 other substances that substantially affect the child’s behavior,
146 motor coordination, or judgment or that result in sickness or
147 internal injury. For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term
148 “drugs” means prescription drugs not prescribed for the child or
149 not administered as prescribed, and controlled substances as
150 outlined in Schedule I or Schedule II of s. 893.03.
151 3. Leaving a child without adult supervision or arrangement
152 appropriate for the child’s age or mental or physical condition,
153 so that the child is unable to care for the child’s own needs or
154 another’s basic needs or is unable to exercise good judgment in
155 responding to any kind of physical or emotional crisis.
156 4. Inappropriate or excessively harsh disciplinary action
157 that is likely to result in physical injury, mental injury as
158 defined in this section, or emotional injury. The significance
159 of any injury must be evaluated in light of the following
160 factors: the age of the child; any prior history of injuries to
161 the child; the location of the injury on the body of the child;
162 the multiplicity of the injury; and the type of trauma
163 inflicted. Corporal discipline may be considered excessive or
164 abusive when it results in any of the following or other similar
166 a. Sprains, dislocations, or cartilage damage.
167 b. Bone or skull fractures.
168 c. Brain or spinal cord damage.
169 d. Intracranial hemorrhage or injury to other internal
171 e. Asphyxiation, suffocation, or drowning.
172 f. Injury resulting from the use of a deadly weapon.
173 g. Burns or scalding.
174 h. Cuts, lacerations, punctures, or bites.
175 i. Permanent or temporary disfigurement.
176 j. Permanent or temporary loss or impairment of a body part
177 or function.
178 k. Significant bruises or welts.
179 (b) Commits, or allows to be committed, sexual battery, as
180 defined in chapter 794, or lewd or lascivious acts, as defined
181 in chapter 800, against the child.
182 (c) Allows, encourages, or forces the sexual exploitation
183 of a child, which includes allowing, encouraging, or forcing a
184 child to:
185 1. Solicit for or engage in prostitution; or
186 2. Engage in a sexual performance, as defined by chapter
188 (d) Exploits a child, or allows a child to be exploited, as
189 provided in s. 450.151.
190 (e) Abandons the child. Within the context of the
191 definition of “harm,” the term “abandoned the child” or
192 “abandonment of the child” means a situation in which the parent
193 or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or
194 legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, has made no
195 significant contribution to the child’s care and maintenance or
196 has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive
197 relationship with the child, or both. For purposes of this
198 paragraph, “establish or maintain a substantial and positive
199 relationship” includes, but is not limited to, frequent and
200 regular contact with the child through frequent and regular
201 visitation or frequent and regular communication to or with the
202 child, and the exercise of parental rights and responsibilities.
203 Marginal efforts and incidental or token visits or
204 communications are not sufficient to establish or maintain a
205 substantial and positive relationship with a child. The term
206 “abandoned” does not include a surrendered newborn infant as
207 described in s. 383.50, a child in need of services as defined
208 in chapter 984, or a family in need of services as defined in
209 chapter 984. The incarceration, repeated incarceration, or
210 extended incarceration of a parent, legal custodian, or
211 caregiver responsible for a child’s welfare may support a
212 finding of abandonment.
213 (f) Neglects the child. Within the context of the
214 definition of “harm,” the term “neglects the child” means that
215 the parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare
216 fails to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter,
217 or health care, although financially able to do so or although
218 offered financial or other means to do so. However, a parent or
219 legal custodian who, by reason of the legitimate practice of
220 religious beliefs, does not provide specified medical treatment
221 for a child may not be considered abusive or neglectful for that
222 reason alone, but such an exception does not:
223 1. Eliminate the requirement that such a case be reported
224 to the department;
225 2. Prevent the department from investigating such a case;
227 3. Preclude a court from ordering, when the health of the
228 child requires it, the provision of medical services by a
229 physician, as defined in this section, or treatment by a duly
230 accredited practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for
231 healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a well
232 recognized church or religious organization.
233 (g) Exposes a child to a controlled substance or alcohol.
234 Exposure to a controlled substance or alcohol is established by:
235 1. A test, administered at birth, which indicated that the
236 child’s blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of
237 alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such
238 substances, the presence of which was not the result of medical
239 treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant; or
240 2. Evidence of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of a
241 controlled substance or alcohol by a parent when the child is
242 demonstrably adversely affected by such usage.
244 As used in this paragraph, the term “controlled substance” means
245 prescription drugs not prescribed for the parent or not
246 administered as prescribed and controlled substances as outlined
247 in Schedule I or Schedule II of s. 893.03.
248 (h) Uses mechanical devices, unreasonable restraints, or
249 extended periods of isolation to control a child.
250 (i) Engages in violent behavior that demonstrates a wanton
251 disregard for the presence of a child and could reasonably
252 result in serious injury to the child.
253 (j) Negligently fails to protect a child in his or her care
254 from inflicted physical, mental, or sexual injury caused by the
255 acts of another.
256 (k) Has allowed a child’s sibling to die as a result of
257 abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
258 (l) Makes the child unavailable for the purpose of impeding
259 or avoiding a protective investigation unless the court
260 determines that the parent, legal custodian, or caregiver was
261 fleeing from a situation involving domestic violence.
263 Harm to a child’s health or welfare can also occur when a new
264 child is born into the family during the course of an open
265 dependency case where a parent or caregiver has been determined
266 to not have protective capacity to safely care for the children
267 in the home and has not substantially complied with the case
268 plan toward successful reunification or met conditions for
269 return of the children into the home.
270 Section 3. Section 39.0136, Florida Statutes, is amended to
272 39.0136 Time limitations; continuances.—
273 (1) The Legislature finds that time is of the essence for
274 establishing permanency for a child in the dependency system.
275 Time limitations are a right of the child which may not be
276 waived, extended, or continued at the request of any party
277 except as provided in this section.
278 (2)(a) All parties and the court must work together to
279 ensure that permanency is achieved as soon as possible for every
280 child through timely performance of their responsibilities under
281 this chapter.
282 (b) The department shall ensure that parents have the
283 information necessary to contact their caseworker. When a new
284 caseworker is assigned to a case, the caseworker shall make a
285 timely and diligent effort to notify the parent and provide
286 updated contact information.
(2) The time limitations in this chapter do not include:
288 (a) Periods of delay resulting from a continuance granted
289 at the request of the child’s counsel or the child’s guardian ad
290 litem or, if the child is of sufficient capacity to express
291 reasonable consent, at the request or with the consent of the
292 child. The court must consider the best interests of the child
293 when determining periods of delay under this section.
294 (b) Periods of delay resulting from a continuance granted
295 at the request of any party if the continuance is granted:
296 1. Because of an unavailability of evidence that is
297 material to the case if the requesting party has exercised due
298 diligence to obtain evidence and there are substantial grounds
299 to believe that the evidence will be available within 30 days.
300 However, if the requesting party is not prepared to proceed
301 within 30 days, any other party may move for issuance of an
302 order to show cause or the court on its own motion may impose
303 appropriate sanctions, which may include dismissal of the
305 2. To allow the requesting party additional time to prepare
306 the case and additional time is justified because of an
307 exceptional circumstance.
308 (c) Reasonable periods of delay necessary to accomplish
309 notice of the hearing to the child’s parent or legal custodian;
310 however, the petitioner shall continue regular efforts to
311 provide notice to the parents during the periods of delay.
312 (4) (3) Notwithstanding subsection (3) (2), in order to
313 expedite permanency for a child, the total time allowed for
314 continuances or extensions of time, including continuances or
315 extensions by the court on its own motion, may not exceed 60
316 days within any 12-month period for proceedings conducted under
317 this chapter.
318 (a) A continuance or extension of time may be granted only
319 for extraordinary circumstances in which it is necessary to
320 preserve the constitutional rights of a party or if substantial
321 evidence exists to demonstrate that without granting a
322 continuance or extension of time the child’s best interests will
323 be harmed.
324 (b) An order entered under this section shall specify the
325 new date for the continued hearing or deadline.
326 (5) (4) Notwithstanding subsection (3) (2), a continuance or
327 an extension of time is limited to the number of days absolutely
328 necessary to complete a necessary task in order to preserve the
329 rights of a party or the best interests of a child.
330 Section 4. Paragraph (f) of subsection (14) and subsections
331 (15) and (18) of section 39.402, Florida Statutes, are amended
332 to read:
333 39.402 Placement in a shelter.—
334 (14) The time limitations in this section do not include:
335 (f) Continuances or extensions of time may not total more
336 than 60 days for all parties, and the court on its own motion,
337 within any 12-month period during proceedings under this
338 chapter. A continuance or extension beyond the 60 days may be
339 granted only for extraordinary circumstances necessary to
340 preserve the constitutional rights of a party or when
341 substantial evidence demonstrates that the child’s best
342 interests will be affirmatively harmed without the granting of a
343 continuance or extension of time. When a continuance or
344 extension is granted, the order shall specify the new date for
345 the continued hearing or deadline.
346 (15) The department, at the conclusion of the shelter
347 hearing, shall make available to parents or legal custodians
348 seeking voluntary services, any referral information necessary
349 for participation in such identified services to allow the
350 parents to begin the services immediately. The parents’ or legal
351 custodians’ participation in the services shall not be
352 considered an admission or other acknowledgment of the
353 allegations in the shelter petition.
354 (18) The court shall advise the parents in plain language
355 what is expected of them to achieve reunification with their
356 child, including that: ,
357 (a) Parents must take action to comply with the case plan
358 so reunification with the child may occur within the shortest
359 period of time possible, but not more than 1 year after removal
360 or adjudication of the child.
361 (b) Parents must stay in contact with their attorney and
362 their caseworker. If the parents’ phone number, mailing address,
363 or e-mail address changes, the parents must provide the attorney
364 and caseworker with updated contact information.
365 (c) Parents must notify the parties and the court of
366 barriers to completing case plan tasks within a reasonable time
367 after discovering such barriers.
368 (d) If the parents fail to substantially comply with the
369 case plan, their parental rights may be terminated and that the
370 child’s out-of-home placement may become permanent.
371 Section 5. Paragraph (c) of subsection (7) of section
372 39.507, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
373 39.507 Adjudicatory hearings; orders of adjudication.—
375 (c) If a court adjudicates a child dependent and the child
376 is in out-of-home care, the court shall inquire of the parent or
377 parents whether the parents have relatives who might be
378 considered as a placement for the child. The parent or parents
379 shall provide the court and all parties with identification and
380 location information for such relatives. The court shall advise
381 the parents in plain language that: ,
382 1. Parents must take action to comply with the case plan so
383 reunification with the child may occur within the shortest
384 period of time possible, but not more than 1 year after removal
385 or adjudication of the child.
386 2. Parents must stay in contact with their attorney and
387 their caseworker. If the parents’ phone number, mailing address,
388 or e-mail address changes, the parents must provide the attorney
389 and caseworker with updated contact information.
390 3. Parents must notify the parties and the court of
391 barriers to completing case plan tasks within a reasonable time
392 after discovering such barriers.
393 4. If the parents fail to substantially comply with the
394 case plan, their parental rights may be terminated and that the
395 child’s out-of-home placement may become permanent. The parent
396 or parents shall provide to the court and all parties
397 identification and location information of the relatives.
398 Section 6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
399 39.521, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
400 39.521 Disposition hearings; powers of disposition.—
401 (1) A disposition hearing shall be conducted by the court,
402 if the court finds that the facts alleged in the petition for
403 dependency were proven in the adjudicatory hearing, or if the
404 parents or legal custodians have consented to the finding of
405 dependency or admitted the allegations in the petition, have
406 failed to appear for the arraignment hearing after proper
407 notice, or have not been located despite a diligent search
408 having been conducted.
409 (a) A written case plan and a family functioning assessment
410 prepared by an authorized agent of the department must be
411 approved by the court. The department must file the case plan
412 and the family functioning assessment with the court, serve
413 copies a copy of the case plan on the parents of the child, and
414 provide copies a copy of the case plan to the representative of
415 the guardian ad litem program, if the program has been
416 appointed, and copies a copy to all other parties:
417 1. Not less than 72 hours before the disposition hearing,
418 if the disposition hearing occurs on or after the 60th day after
419 the date the child was placed in out-of-home care. All such case
420 plans must be approved by the court.
421 2. Not less than 72 hours before the case plan acceptance
422 hearing, if the disposition hearing occurs before the 60th day
423 after the date the child was placed in out-of-home care and a
424 case plan has not been submitted pursuant to this paragraph, or
425 if the court does not approve the case plan at the disposition
426 hearing. The case plan acceptance hearing must occur within 30
427 days after the disposition hearing to review and approve the
428 case plan.
429 Section 7. Subsection (1) of section 39.522, Florida
430 Statutes, is amended to read:
431 39.522 Postdisposition change of custody.—The court may
432 change the temporary legal custody or the conditions of
433 protective supervision at a postdisposition hearing, without the
434 necessity of another adjudicatory hearing.
435 (1) At any time before a child achieves the permanency
436 placement approved at the permanency hearing, a child who has
437 been placed in the child’s own home under the protective
438 supervision of an authorized agent of the department, in the
439 home of a relative, in the home of a legal custodian, or in some
440 other place may be brought before the court by the department or
441 by any other interested person, upon the filing of a motion
442 petition alleging a need for a change in the conditions of
443 protective supervision or the placement. If the parents or other
444 legal custodians deny the need for a change, the court shall
445 hear all parties in person or by counsel, or both. Upon the
446 admission of a need for a change or after such hearing, the
447 court shall enter an order changing the placement, modifying the
448 conditions of protective supervision, or continuing the
449 conditions of protective supervision as ordered. The standard
450 for changing custody of the child shall be the best interest of
451 the child. When applying this standard, the court shall consider
452 the continuity of the child’s placement in the same out-of-home
453 residence as a factor when determining the best interests of the
454 child. If the child is not placed in foster care, then the new
455 placement for the child must meet the home study criteria and
456 court approval pursuant to this chapter.
457 Section 8. Present subsections (4) through (8) of section
458 39.6011, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (5)
459 through (9), respectively, a new subsection (4) is added to that
460 section, and paragraph (e) of subsection (2), subsection (3),
461 and present subsection (6) of that section are amended, to read:
462 39.6011 Case plan development.—
463 (2) The case plan must be written simply and clearly in
464 English and, if English is not the principal language of the
465 child’s parent, to the extent possible in the parent’s principal
466 language. Each case plan must contain:
467 (e) A written notice to the parent that it is the parents’
468 responsibility to take action to comply with the case plan so
469 reunification with the child may occur within the shortest
470 period of time possible, but not more than 1 year after removal
471 or adjudication of the child; the parent must notify the parties
472 and the court of barriers to completing case plan tasks within a
473 reasonable time after discovering such barriers; failure of the
474 parent to substantially comply with the case plan may result in
475 the termination of parental rights; , and that a material breach
476 of the case plan by the parent’s action or inaction may result
477 in the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights
478 sooner than the compliance period set forth in the case plan.
479 (3) The case plan must be signed by all parties, except
480 that the signature of a child may be waived if the child is not
481 of an age or capacity to participate in the case-planning
482 process. Signing the case plan constitutes an acknowledgment
483 that the case plan has been developed by the parties and that
484 they are in agreement as to the terms and conditions contained
485 in the case plan. The refusal of a parent to sign the case plan
486 does not prevent the court from accepting the case plan if the
487 case plan is otherwise acceptable to the court. Signing the case
488 plan does not constitute an admission to any allegation of
489 abuse, abandonment, or neglect and does not constitute consent
490 to a finding of dependency or termination of parental rights.
491 (4) Before signing the case plan, the department shall
492 explain the provisions of the plan to all persons involved in
493 its implementation, including, when appropriate, the child. The
494 department shall ensure that the parent has contact information
495 for all entities necessary to complete the tasks in the plan.
496 The department shall explain the strategies included in the plan
497 that the parent can use to overcome barriers to case plan
498 compliance and that if a barrier is discovered and the parties
499 are not actively working to overcome such barrier, the parent
500 must notify the parties and the court within a reasonable time
501 after discovering such barrier.
502 (7) (6) After the case plan has been developed, the
503 department shall adhere to the following procedural
505 (a) If the parent’s substantial compliance with the case
506 plan requires the department to provide services to the parents
507 or the child and the parents agree to begin compliance with the
508 case plan before the case plan’s acceptance by the court, the
509 department shall make the appropriate referrals for services
510 that will allow the parents to begin the agreed-upon tasks and
511 services immediately.
512 (b) All other referrals for services shall be completed as
513 soon as possible, but not more than 7 days after the date of the
514 case plan approval, unless the case plan specifies that a task
515 may not be undertaken until another specified task has been
517 (c) (b) After the case plan has been agreed upon and signed
518 by the parties, a copy of the plan must be given immediately to
519 the parties, including the child if appropriate, and to other
520 persons as directed by the court.
521 1. A case plan must be prepared, but need not be submitted
522 to the court, for a child who will be in care no longer than 30
523 days unless that child is placed in out-of-home care a second
524 time within a 12-month period.
525 2. In each case in which a child has been placed in out-of
526 home care, a case plan must be prepared within 60 days after the
527 department removes the child from the home and shall be
528 submitted to the court before the disposition hearing for the
529 court to review and approve.
530 3. After jurisdiction attaches, all case plans must be
531 filed with the court, and a copy provided to all the parties
532 whose whereabouts are known, not less than 3 business days
533 before the disposition hearing. The department shall file with
534 the court, and provide copies to the parties, all case plans
535 prepared before jurisdiction of the court attached.
536 Section 9. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section
537 39.6012, Florida Statutes, is amended, and paragraph (d) is
538 added to subsection (1) of that section, to read:
539 39.6012 Case plan tasks; services.—
540 (1) The services to be provided to the parent and the tasks
541 that must be completed are subject to the following:
542 (b) The case plan must describe each of the tasks with
543 which the parent must comply and the services to be provided to
544 the parent, specifically addressing the identified problem,
546 1. The type of services or treatment.
547 2. The date the department will provide each service or
548 referral for the service if the service is being provided by the
549 department or its agent.
550 3. The date by which the parent must complete each task.
551 4. The frequency of services or treatment provided. The
552 frequency of the delivery of services or treatment provided
553 shall be determined by the professionals providing the services
554 or treatment on a case-by-case basis and adjusted according to
555 their best professional judgment.
556 5. The location of the delivery of the services.
557 6. The staff of the department or service provider
558 accountable for the services or treatment.
559 7. A description of the measurable objectives, including
560 the timeframes specified for achieving the objectives of the
561 case plan and addressing the identified problem.
562 8. Strategies to overcome barriers to case plan compliance,
563 including, but not limited to, the provision of contact
564 information, information on acceptable alternative services or
565 providers, and an explanation that the parent must notify the
566 parties within a reasonable time of discovering a barrier that
567 the parties are not actively working to overcome.
568 (d) Parents must provide accurate contact information to
569 the department or the contracted case management agency and
570 update such information as appropriate. Parents must make
571 proactive contact with the department or the contracted case
572 management agency at least every 14 calendar days to provide
573 information on the status of case plan task completion, barriers
574 to completion, and plans toward reunification.
575 Section 10. Present subsection (6) of section 39.6013,
576 Florida Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (7), a new
577 subsection (6) is added to that section, and present subsection
578 (7) is amended, to read:
579 39.6013 Case plan amendments.—
580 (6) When determining whether to amend the case plan, the
581 court must consider the length of time the case has been open,
582 level of parental engagement to date, number of case plan tasks
583 complied with, child’s type of placement and attachment, and
584 potential for successful reunification.
585 (8) (7) Amendments must include service interventions that
586 are the least intrusive into the life of the parent and child,
587 must focus on clearly defined objectives, and must provide the
588 most efficient path to quick reunification or permanent
589 placement given the circumstances of the case and the child’s
590 need for safe and proper care. A copy of the amended plan must
591 be immediately given to the persons identified in s.
592 39.6011(7)(c) s. 39.6011(6)(b).
593 Section 11. Present subsections (7) through (10) of section
594 39.621, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (8)
595 through (11), respectively, subsection (5) and present
596 subsections (9), (10), and (11) are amended, and a new
597 subsection (7) is added to that section, to read:
598 39.621 Permanency determination by the court.—
599 (5) At the permanency hearing, the court shall determine:
600 (a) Whether the current permanency goal for the child is
601 appropriate or should be changed;
602 (b) When the child will achieve one of the permanency
603 goals; and
604 (c) Whether the department has made reasonable efforts to
605 finalize the permanency plan currently in effect; and .
606 (d) Whether the frequency, duration, manner, and level of
607 engagement of the parent or legal guardian’s visitation with the
608 child meets the case plan requirements.
609 (7) If the court determines that the child’s goal is
610 appropriate but the child will be in out-of-home care for more
611 than 12 months before achieving permanency, in those cases where
612 the goal is reunification or adoption, the court shall hold
613 permanency status hearings for the child every 60 days until the
614 child reaches permanency or the court makes a determination that
615 it is in the child’s best interest to change the permanency
617 (10) (9) The case plan must list the tasks necessary to
618 finalize the permanency placement and shall be updated at the
619 permanency hearing unless the child will achieve permanency
620 within 60 days after the hearing if necessary. If a concurrent
621 case plan is in place, the court may choose between the
622 permanency goal options presented and shall approve the goal
623 that is in the child’s best interest.
624 (11) (10) The permanency placement is intended to continue
625 until the child reaches the age of majority and may not be
626 disturbed absent a finding by the court that the circumstances
627 of the permanency placement are no longer in the best interest
628 of the child.
629 (a) If, after a child has achieved the permanency placement
630 approved at the permanency hearing, a parent who has not had his
631 or her parental rights terminated makes a motion for
632 reunification or increased contact with the child, the court
633 shall hold a hearing to determine whether the dependency case
634 should be reopened and whether there should be a modification of
635 the order.
636 (b) At the hearing, the parent must demonstrate that the
637 safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health
638 of the child is not endangered by the modification.
639 (c) (11) The court shall base its decision concerning any
640 motion by a parent for reunification or increased contact with a
641 child on the effect of the decision on the safety, well-being,
642 and physical and emotional health of the child. Factors that
643 must be considered and addressed in the findings of fact of the
644 order on the motion must include:
645 1. (a) The compliance or noncompliance of the parent with
646 the case plan;
647 2. (b) The circumstances which caused the child’s dependency
648 and whether those circumstances have been resolved;
649 3. (c) The stability and longevity of the child’s placement;
650 4. (d) The preferences of the child, if the child is of
651 sufficient age and understanding to express a preference;
652 5. (e) The recommendation of the current custodian; and
653 6. (f) The recommendation of the guardian ad litem, if one
654 has been appointed.
655 Section 12. Paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of section
656 39.701, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
657 39.701 Judicial review.—
658 (2) REVIEW HEARINGS FOR CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 18 YEARS OF
660 (d) Orders.—
661 1. Based upon the criteria set forth in paragraph (c) and
662 the recommended order of the citizen review panel, if any, the
663 court shall determine whether or not the social service agency
664 shall initiate proceedings to have a child declared a dependent
665 child, return the child to the parent, continue the child in
666 out-of-home care for a specified period of time, or initiate
667 termination of parental rights proceedings for subsequent
668 placement in an adoptive home. Amendments to the case plan must
669 be prepared as prescribed in s. 39.6013. If the court finds that
670 the prevention or reunification efforts of the department will
671 allow the child to remain safely at home or be safely returned
672 to the home, the court shall allow the child to remain in or
673 return to the home after making a specific finding of fact that
674 the reasons for the creation of the case plan have been remedied
675 to the extent that the child’s safety, well-being, and physical,
676 mental, and emotional health will not be endangered.
677 2. The court shall return the child to the custody of the
678 parents at any time it determines that they have substantially
679 complied with the case plan, if the court is satisfied that
680 reunification will not be detrimental to the child’s safety,
681 well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health.
682 3. If, in the opinion of the court, the social service
683 agency has not complied with its obligations as specified in the
684 written case plan, the court may find the social service agency
685 in contempt, shall order the social service agency to submit its
686 plans for compliance with the agreement, and shall require the
687 social service agency to show why the child could not safely be
688 returned to the home of the parents.
689 4. If, at any judicial review, the court finds that the
690 parents have failed to substantially comply with the case plan
691 to the degree that further reunification efforts are without
692 merit and not in the best interest of the child, on its own
693 motion, the court may order the filing of a petition for
694 termination of parental rights, whether or not the time period
695 as contained in the case plan for substantial compliance has
697 5. Within 6 months after the date that the child was placed
698 in shelter care, the court shall conduct a judicial review
699 hearing to review the child’s permanency goal as identified in
700 the case plan. At the hearing the court shall make written
701 findings regarding the parent or legal guardian’s compliance
702 with the case plan and demonstrable change in parental capacity
703 to achieve timely reunification likelihood of the child’s
704 reunification with the parent or legal custodian within 12
705 months after the removal of the child from the home. The court
706 shall consider the frequency, duration, manner, and level of
707 engagement of the parent or legal custodian’s visitation with
708 the child in compliance with the case plan. If the court makes a
709 written finding that it is not likely that the child will be
710 reunified with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months
711 after the child was removed from the home, the department must
712 file with the court, and serve on all parties, a motion to amend
713 the case plan under s. 39.6013 and declare that it will use
714 concurrent planning for the case plan. The department must file
715 the motion within 10 business days after receiving the written
716 finding of the court. The department must attach the proposed
717 amended case plan to the motion. If concurrent planning is
718 already being used, the department must file with the court, and
719 serve on all parties, a motion to amend the case plan to reflect
720 the concurrent goal as the child’s primary permanency goal,
721 document the efforts the department is taking to complete the
722 concurrent goal, and identify any additional services needed to
723 reach the permanency goal by a date certain. The court may allow
724 the parties to continue to pursue a secondary goal if the court
725 determines that is in the best interest of the child case plan
726 must document the efforts the department is taking to complete
727 the concurrent goal.
728 6. The court may issue a protective order in assistance, or
729 as a condition, of any other order made under this part. In
730 addition to the requirements included in the case plan, the
731 protective order may set forth requirements relating to
732 reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specified
733 period of time by a person or agency who is before the court;
734 and the order may require any person or agency to make periodic
735 reports to the court containing such information as the court in
736 its discretion may prescribe.
737 Section 13. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of section
738 39.806, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
739 39.806 Grounds for termination of parental rights.—
740 (1) Grounds for the termination of parental rights may be
741 established under any of the following circumstances:
742 (e) When a child has been adjudicated dependent, a case
743 plan has been filed with the court, and:
744 1. The child continues to be abused, neglected, or
745 abandoned by the parent or parents. The failure of the parent or
746 parents to substantially comply with the case plan for a period
747 of 12 months after an adjudication of the child as a dependent
748 child or the child’s placement into shelter care, whichever
749 occurs first, constitutes evidence of continuing abuse, neglect,
750 or abandonment unless the failure to substantially comply with
751 the case plan was due to the parent’s lack of financial
752 resources or to the failure of the department to make reasonable
753 efforts to reunify the parent and child. The 12-month period
754 begins to run only after the child’s placement into shelter care
755 or the entry of a disposition order placing the custody of the
756 child with the department or a person other than the parent and
757 the court’s approval of a case plan having the goal of
758 reunification with the parent, whichever occurs first; or
759 2. The parent or parents have materially breached the case
760 plan by their action or inaction. Time is of the essence for
761 permanency of children in the dependency system. In order to
762 prove the parent or parents have materially breached the case
763 plan, the court must find by clear and convincing evidence that
764 the parent or parents are unlikely or unable to substantially
765 comply with the case plan before time to comply with the case
766 plan expires.
767 3. The child has been in care for any 12 of the last 22
768 months and the parents have not substantially complied with the
769 case plan so as to permit reunification under s. 39.522(2)
770 unless the failure to substantially comply with the case plan
771 was due to the parent’s lack of financial resources or to the
772 failure of the department to make reasonable efforts to reunify
773 the parent and child.
774 Section 14. Subsection (5) of section 39.811, Florida
775 Statutes, is amended to read:
776 39.811 Powers of disposition; order of disposition.—
777 (5) If the court terminates parental rights, the court
778 shall enter a written order of disposition within 30 days after
779 conclusion of the hearing briefly stating the facts upon which
780 its decision to terminate the parental rights is made. An order
781 of termination of parental rights, whether based on parental
782 consent or after notice served as prescribed in this part,
783 permanently deprives the parents of any right to the child.
784 Section 15. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.