Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1324
       By Senator Simpson
       10-01890A-20                                          20201324__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to child welfare; amending s. 25.385,
    3         F.S.; deleting the definition of the term “family or
    4         household member”; requiring the Florida Court
    5         Educational Council to establish certain standards for
    6         instruction of circuit and county court judges for
    7         dependency cases; requiring the council to provide
    8         such instruction on a periodic and timely basis;
    9         creating s. 39.01304, F.S.; providing legislative
   10         intent; providing a purpose; authorizing circuit
   11         courts to create early childhood court programs;
   12         requiring that early childhood court programs have
   13         certain components; defining the term “therapeutic
   14         jurisprudence”; providing requirements and guidelines
   15         for the Office of the State Courts Administrator when
   16         hiring community coordinators and a statewide training
   17         specialist; requiring the Department of Children and
   18         Families to contract with certain university-based
   19         centers; requiring the university-based centers to
   20         hire a clinical director; amending s. 39.0138, F.S.;
   21         requiring that certain background screenings be
   22         completed within a specified timeframe; amending s.
   23         39.301, F.S.; requiring the department to notify the
   24         court of certain reports; authorizing the department
   25         to file specified petitions under certain
   26         circumstances; amending s. 39.302, F.S.; conforming a
   27         provision to changes made by the act; amending s.
   28         39.522, F.S.; requiring the court to consider
   29         specified factors when making a certain determination;
   30         authorizing the court to place a child in out-of-home
   31         care under certain circumstances; requiring the court
   32         to consider specified factors when determining whether
   33         the child should be placed in out-of-home care;
   34         requiring the court to evaluate and change a child’s
   35         permanency goal under certain conditions; amending s.
   36         39.6011, F.S.; revising requirements for case plan
   37         development; amending s. 39.701, F.S.; requiring the
   38         court to retain jurisdiction over a child under
   39         certain circumstances; requiring community-based care
   40         lead agencies, rather than social service agencies, to
   41         make assessments before certain hearings; revising
   42         requirements for such assessments; conforming
   43         provisions to changes made by the act; revising
   44         determinations that courts and citizen review panels
   45         are required to make in certain deliberations;
   46         creating s. 409.1415, F.S.; providing legislative
   47         findings and intent; requiring the department and
   48         community-based care lead agencies to develop and
   49         support relationships between certain foster families
   50         and legal parents of children; providing
   51         responsibilities for foster parents, birth parents,
   52         the department, community-based care lead agency
   53         staff, and other agency staff; defining the term
   54         “excellent parenting”; requiring caregivers employed
   55         by residential group homes to meet specified
   56         requirements; requiring the department to adopt rules;
   57         amending s. 409.145, F.S.; conforming provisions to
   58         changes made by the act; amending s. 409.988, F.S.;
   59         authorizing a lead agency to provide more than 35
   60         percent of all child welfare services under certain
   61         conditions; requiring a specified local community
   62         alliance, or specified representatives in certain
   63         circumstances, to review and recommend approval or
   64         denial of the lead agency’s request for a specified
   65         exemption; requiring lead agencies to conduct home
   66         studies of prospective parents; requiring such home
   67         studies to be completed within a specified timeframe;
   68         amending s. 409.996, F.S.; requiring the department to
   69         conduct background screenings of prospective adoptive
   70         parents; requiring such background screenings to be
   71         completed within a specified timeframe; amending ss.
   72         39.6225, 393.065, 409.1451, F.S.; conforming cross
   73         references; providing an effective date.
   75  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   77         Section 1. Section 25.385, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   78  read:
   79         25.385 Standards for instruction of circuit and county
   80  court judges in handling domestic violence cases.—
   81         (1) The Florida Court Educational Council shall establish
   82  standards for instruction of circuit and county court judges who
   83  have responsibility for domestic violence cases, and the council
   84  shall provide such instruction on a periodic and timely basis.
   85         (2) As used in this subsection, section:
   86         (a) the term “domestic violence” has the meaning set forth
   87  in s. 741.28.
   88         (b)“Family or household member” has the meaning set forth
   89  in s. 741.28.
   90         (2)The Florida Court Educational Council shall establish
   91  standards for instruction of circuit and county court judges who
   92  have responsibility for dependency cases regarding the benefits
   93  of a secure attachment with a primary caregiver, the importance
   94  of a stable placement, and the impact of trauma on child
   95  development. The council shall provide such instruction to the
   96  circuit and county court judges handling dependency cases on a
   97  periodic and timely basis.
   98         Section 2. Section 39.01304, Florida Statutes, is created
   99  to read:
  100         39.01304 Early childhood court programs.—
  101         (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the
  102  department, the Department of Health, the Association of Early
  103  Learning Coalitions, and other such agencies; local governments;
  104  interested public or private entities; and individuals to
  105  support the creation and establishment of early childhood court
  106  programs. The purpose of an early childhood court program is to
  107  address the root cause of court involvement through specialized
  108  dockets, multidisciplinary teams, evidence-based treatment, and
  109  the use of a nonadversarial approach. Such programs depend on
  110  the leadership of a judge or magistrate who is educated about
  111  the science of early childhood development and who requires
  112  rigorous efforts to heal children physically and emotionally in
  113  the context of a broad collaboration among professionals from
  114  different systems working directly in the court as a team,
  115  recognizing that the parent-child relationship is the foundation
  116  of child well-being.
  117         (2) A circuit court may create an early childhood court
  118  program to serve the needs of infants and toddlers in dependency
  119  court. An early childhood court program must have all of the
  120  following components:
  121         (a) Therapeutic jurisprudence, which must drive every
  122  aspect of judicial practice. The judge or magistrate must
  123  support the therapeutic needs of the parent and child in a
  124  nonadversarial manner. As used in this paragraph, the term
  125  “therapeutic jurisprudence” means the study of how the law may
  126  be used as a therapeutic agent and focuses on how laws impact
  127  emotional and psychological well-being.
  128         (b)A procedure for coordinating services and resources for
  129  families who have a case on the court docket. To meet this
  130  requirement, the court may create and fill at least one
  131  community coordinator position pursuant to paragraph (3)(a).
  132         (c) A multidisciplinary team made up of key community
  133  stakeholders who commit to work with the judge or magistrate to
  134  restructure the way the community responds to the needs of
  135  maltreated children. The team may include, but is not limited
  136  to, early intervention specialists; mental health and infant
  137  mental health professionals; attorneys representing children,
  138  parents, and the child welfare system; children’s advocates;
  139  early learning coalitions and child care providers; substance
  140  abuse program providers; primary health care providers; domestic
  141  violence advocates; and guardians ad litem. The
  142  multidisciplinary team must address the need for children in an
  143  early childhood court program to receive medical care in a
  144  medical home, a screening for developmental delays conducted by
  145  the local agency responsible for complying with part C of the
  146  federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and quality
  147  child care.
  148         (d)A continuum of mental health services which includes a
  149  focus on the parent-child relationship and is appropriate for
  150  each child and family served.
  151         (3) Contingent upon an annual appropriation by the
  152  Legislature, and subject to available resources:
  153         (a) The Office of the State Courts Administrator shall
  154  coordinate with each participating circuit court to create and
  155  fill at least one community coordinator position for the
  156  circuit’s early childhood court program. Each community
  157  coordinator shall provide direct support to the program by
  158  providing coordination between the multidisciplinary team and
  159  the judiciary, coordinating the responsibilities of the
  160  participating agencies and service providers, and managing the
  161  collection of data for program evaluation and accountability.
  162  The Office of State Courts Administrator may hire a statewide
  163  training specialist to provide training to the participating
  164  court teams.
  165         (b) The department shall contract with one or more
  166  university-based centers that have expertise in infant mental
  167  health, and such university-based centers shall hire a clinical
  168  director charged with ensuring the quality, accountability, and
  169  fidelity of the program’s evidence-based treatment, including,
  170  but not limited to, training and technical assistance related to
  171  clinical services, clinical consultation and guidance for
  172  difficult cases, and ongoing clinical training for court teams.
  173         Section 3. Subsection (1) of section 39.0138, Florida
  174  Statutes, is amended to read:
  175         39.0138 Criminal history and other records checks; limit on
  176  placement of a child.—
  177         (1) The department shall conduct a records check through
  178  the State Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS)
  179  and a local and statewide criminal history records check on all
  180  persons, including parents, being considered by the department
  181  for placement of a child under this chapter, including all
  182  nonrelative placement decisions, and all members of the
  183  household, 12 years of age and older, of the person being
  184  considered. For purposes of this section, a criminal history
  185  records check may include, but is not limited to, submission of
  186  fingerprints to the Department of Law Enforcement for processing
  187  and forwarding to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for state
  188  and national criminal history information, and local criminal
  189  records checks through local law enforcement agencies of all
  190  household members 18 years of age and older and other visitors
  191  to the home. Level 1 and level 2 background screenings of
  192  prospective foster parents must be completed within 14 days
  193  after a completed application and finger prints are received by
  194  the department. An out-of-state criminal history records check
  195  must be initiated for any person 18 years of age or older who
  196  resided in another state if that state allows the release of
  197  such records. The department shall establish by rule standards
  198  for evaluating any information contained in the automated system
  199  relating to a person who must be screened for purposes of making
  200  a placement decision.
  201         Section 4. Subsection (1) and paragraph (a) of subsection
  202  (9) of section 39.301, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  203         39.301 Initiation of protective investigations.—
  204         (1)(a) Upon receiving a report of known or suspected child
  205  abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or that a child is in need of
  206  supervision and care and has no parent, legal custodian, or
  207  responsible adult relative immediately known and available to
  208  provide supervision and care, the central abuse hotline shall
  209  determine if the report requires an immediate onsite protective
  210  investigation. For reports requiring an immediate onsite
  211  protective investigation, the central abuse hotline shall
  212  immediately notify the department’s designated district staff
  213  responsible for protective investigations to ensure that an
  214  onsite investigation is promptly initiated. For reports not
  215  requiring an immediate onsite protective investigation, the
  216  central abuse hotline shall notify the department’s designated
  217  district staff responsible for protective investigations in
  218  sufficient time to allow for an investigation. At the time of
  219  notification, the central abuse hotline shall also provide
  220  information to district staff on any previous report concerning
  221  a subject of the present report or any pertinent information
  222  relative to the present report or any noted earlier reports.
  223         (b)Upon notification by the central abuse hotline, the
  224  department shall promptly notify the court of any report that
  225  involves a child over whom the court has jurisdiction.
  226         (9)(a) For each report received from the central abuse
  227  hotline and accepted for investigation, the department or the
  228  sheriff providing child protective investigative services under
  229  s. 39.3065, shall perform the following child protective
  230  investigation activities to determine child safety:
  231         1. Conduct a review of all relevant, available information
  232  specific to the child and family and alleged maltreatment;
  233  family child welfare history; local, state, and federal criminal
  234  records checks; and requests for law enforcement assistance
  235  provided by the abuse hotline. Based on a review of available
  236  information, including the allegations in the current report, a
  237  determination shall be made as to whether immediate consultation
  238  should occur with law enforcement, the Child Protection Team, a
  239  domestic violence shelter or advocate, or a substance abuse or
  240  mental health professional. Such consultations should include
  241  discussion as to whether a joint response is necessary and
  242  feasible. A determination shall be made as to whether the person
  243  making the report should be contacted before the face-to-face
  244  interviews with the child and family members.
  245         2. Conduct face-to-face interviews with the child; other
  246  siblings, if any; and the parents, legal custodians, or
  247  caregivers.
  248         3. Assess the child’s residence, including a determination
  249  of the composition of the family and household, including the
  250  name, address, date of birth, social security number, sex, and
  251  race of each child named in the report; any siblings or other
  252  children in the same household or in the care of the same
  253  adults; the parents, legal custodians, or caregivers; and any
  254  other adults in the same household.
  255         4. Determine whether there is any indication that any child
  256  in the family or household has been abused, abandoned, or
  257  neglected; the nature and extent of present or prior injuries,
  258  abuse, or neglect, and any evidence thereof; and a determination
  259  as to the person or persons apparently responsible for the
  260  abuse, abandonment, or neglect, including the name, address,
  261  date of birth, social security number, sex, and race of each
  262  such person.
  263         5. Complete assessment of immediate child safety for each
  264  child based on available records, interviews, and observations
  265  with all persons named in subparagraph 2. and appropriate
  266  collateral contacts, which may include other professionals. The
  267  department’s child protection investigators are hereby
  268  designated a criminal justice agency for the purpose of
  269  accessing criminal justice information to be used for enforcing
  270  this state’s laws concerning the crimes of child abuse,
  271  abandonment, and neglect. This information shall be used solely
  272  for purposes supporting the detection, apprehension,
  273  prosecution, pretrial release, posttrial release, or
  274  rehabilitation of criminal offenders or persons accused of the
  275  crimes of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect and may not be
  276  further disseminated or used for any other purpose.
  277         6. Document the present and impending dangers to each child
  278  based on the identification of inadequate protective capacity
  279  through utilization of a standardized safety assessment
  280  instrument. If present or impending danger is identified, the
  281  child protective investigator must implement a safety plan or
  282  take the child into custody. If present danger is identified and
  283  the child is not removed, the child protective investigator
  284  shall create and implement a safety plan before leaving the home
  285  or the location where there is present danger. If impending
  286  danger is identified, the child protective investigator shall
  287  create and implement a safety plan as soon as necessary to
  288  protect the safety of the child. The child protective
  289  investigator may modify the safety plan if he or she identifies
  290  additional impending danger.
  291         a. If the child protective investigator implements a safety
  292  plan, the plan must be specific, sufficient, feasible, and
  293  sustainable in response to the realities of the present or
  294  impending danger. A safety plan may be an in-home plan or an
  295  out-of-home plan, or a combination of both. A safety plan may
  296  include tasks or responsibilities for a parent, caregiver, or
  297  legal custodian. However, a safety plan may not rely on
  298  promissory commitments by the parent, caregiver, or legal
  299  custodian who is currently not able to protect the child or on
  300  services that are not available or will not result in the safety
  301  of the child. A safety plan may not be implemented if for any
  302  reason the parents, guardian, or legal custodian lacks the
  303  capacity or ability to comply with the plan. If the department
  304  is not able to develop a plan that is specific, sufficient,
  305  feasible, and sustainable, the department shall file a shelter
  306  petition. A child protective investigator shall implement
  307  separate safety plans for the perpetrator of domestic violence,
  308  if the investigator, using reasonable efforts, can locate the
  309  perpetrator to implement a safety plan, and for the parent who
  310  is a victim of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28.
  311  Reasonable efforts to locate a perpetrator include, but are not
  312  limited to, a diligent search pursuant to the same requirements
  313  as in s. 39.503. If the perpetrator of domestic violence is not
  314  the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of any child in the
  315  home and if the department does not intend to file a shelter
  316  petition or dependency petition that will assert allegations
  317  against the perpetrator as a parent of a child in the home, the
  318  child protective investigator shall seek issuance of an
  319  injunction authorized by s. 39.504 to implement a safety plan
  320  for the perpetrator and impose any other conditions to protect
  321  the child. The safety plan for the parent who is a victim of
  322  domestic violence may not be shared with the perpetrator. If any
  323  party to a safety plan fails to comply with the safety plan
  324  resulting in the child being unsafe, the department shall file a
  325  shelter petition.
  326         b. The child protective investigator shall collaborate with
  327  the community-based care lead agency in the development of the
  328  safety plan as necessary to ensure that the safety plan is
  329  specific, sufficient, feasible, and sustainable. The child
  330  protective investigator shall identify services necessary for
  331  the successful implementation of the safety plan. The child
  332  protective investigator and the community-based care lead agency
  333  shall mobilize service resources to assist all parties in
  334  complying with the safety plan. The community-based care lead
  335  agency shall prioritize safety plan services to families who
  336  have multiple risk factors, including, but not limited to, two
  337  or more of the following:
  338         (I) The parent or legal custodian is of young age;
  339         (II) The parent or legal custodian, or an adult currently
  340  living in or frequently visiting the home, has a history of
  341  substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic violence;
  342         (III) The parent or legal custodian, or an adult currently
  343  living in or frequently visiting the home, has been previously
  344  found to have physically or sexually abused a child;
  345         (IV) The parent or legal custodian or an adult currently
  346  living in or frequently visiting the home has been the subject
  347  of multiple allegations by reputable reports of abuse or
  348  neglect;
  349         (V) The child is physically or developmentally disabled; or
  350         (VI) The child is 3 years of age or younger.
  351         c. The child protective investigator shall monitor the
  352  implementation of the plan to ensure the child’s safety until
  353  the case is transferred to the lead agency at which time the
  354  lead agency shall monitor the implementation.
  355         d.The department may file, within 90 days after the
  356  transfer of the safety plan to the lead agency, a shelter or
  357  dependency petition without the need for a new child protective
  358  investigation or the concurrence of the child protective
  359  investigator if the department determines that the safety plan
  360  is no longer sufficient to keep the child safe or that the
  361  parent or caregiver has not sufficiently increased his or her
  362  level of protective capacities to ensure the child’s safety.
  363         Section 5. Paragraph (b) of subsection (7) of section
  364  39.302, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  365         39.302 Protective investigations of institutional child
  366  abuse, abandonment, or neglect.—
  367         (7) When an investigation of institutional abuse, neglect,
  368  or abandonment is closed and a person is not identified as a
  369  caregiver responsible for the abuse, neglect, or abandonment
  370  alleged in the report, the fact that the person is named in some
  371  capacity in the report may not be used in any way to adversely
  372  affect the interests of that person. This prohibition applies to
  373  any use of the information in employment screening, licensing,
  374  child placement, adoption, or any other decisions by a private
  375  adoption agency or a state agency or its contracted providers.
  376         (b) Likewise, if a person is employed as a caregiver in a
  377  residential group home licensed pursuant to s. 409.175 and is
  378  named in any capacity in three or more reports within a 5-year
  379  period, the department may review all reports for the purposes
  380  of the employment screening required pursuant to s.
  381  409.1415(2)(c) s. 409.145(2)(e).
  382         Section 6. Subsection (1) of section 39.522, Florida
  383  Statutes, is amended, and subsection (4) is added to that
  384  section, to read:
  385         39.522 Postdisposition change of custody.—The court may
  386  change the temporary legal custody or the conditions of
  387  protective supervision at a postdisposition hearing, without the
  388  necessity of another adjudicatory hearing.
  389         (1)(a) At any time before a child is residing in the
  390  permanent placement approved at the permanency hearing, a child
  391  who has been placed in the child’s own home under the protective
  392  supervision of an authorized agent of the department, in the
  393  home of a relative, in the home of a legal custodian, or in some
  394  other place may be brought before the court by the department or
  395  by any other interested person, upon the filing of a motion
  396  alleging a need for a change in the conditions of protective
  397  supervision or the placement. If the parents or other legal
  398  custodians deny the need for a change, the court shall hear all
  399  parties in person or by counsel, or both. Upon the admission of
  400  a need for a change or after such hearing, the court shall enter
  401  an order changing the placement, modifying the conditions of
  402  protective supervision, or continuing the conditions of
  403  protective supervision as ordered. The standard for changing
  404  custody of the child shall be the best interests interest of the
  405  child. When determining whether a change of legal custody or
  406  placement is in applying this standard, the court shall consider
  407  the continuity of the child’s placement in the same out-of-home
  408  residence as a factor when determining the best interests of the
  409  child, the court shall consider all of the following:
  410         1.The child’s age.
  411         2.The developmental and therapeutic benefits to the child
  412  of remaining in his or her current placement or moving to the
  413  proposed placement.
  414         3.The stability and longevity of the child’s current
  415  placement.
  416         4.The established bonded relationship between the child
  417  and the current or proposed caregiver.
  418         5.The reasonable preference of the child, if the court has
  419  found that the child is of sufficient intelligence,
  420  understanding, and experience to express a preference.
  421         6.The recommendation of the child’s current caregiver.
  422         7.The recommendation of the child’s guardian ad litem, if
  423  one has been appointed.
  424         8.The quality of the child’s relationship with a sibling,
  425  if the change of legal custody or placement will separate or
  426  reunite siblings.
  427         9.The likelihood of the child attaining permanency in the
  428  current or proposed placement.
  429         10.Any other relevant factors.
  430         (b) If the child is not placed in foster care, then the new
  431  placement for the child must meet the home study criteria and
  432  court approval under pursuant to this chapter.
  433         (4)(a)If a child was placed in the child’s own home with
  434  an in-home safety plan or was reunited with a parent with an in
  435  home safety plan, the court may remove the child and place the
  436  child in out-of-home care if:
  437         1.The child is abused, neglected, or abandoned by the
  438  parent or caregiver, or is suffering from or is in imminent
  439  danger of illness or injury as a result of abuse, neglect, or
  440  abandonment;
  441         2.The parent or caregiver has materially violated a
  442  condition of placement imposed by the court, including, but not
  443  limited to, not complying with the in-home safety plan or case
  444  plan; or
  445         3.The parent or caregiver is unlikely, within a reasonable
  446  amount of time, to achieve the full protective capacities needed
  447  to keep the child safe without an in-home safety plan.
  448         (b)If a child meets the criteria in paragraph (a) for
  449  removal and placement in out-of-home care, the court must
  450  consider all of the following in making its determination to
  451  remove the child and place the child in out-of-home care:
  452         1.The circumstances that caused the child’s dependency and
  453  other identified issues.
  454         2.The length of time the child has been placed in the home
  455  with an in-home safety plan.
  456         3.The parent’s or caregiver’s current level of protective
  457  capacities.
  458         4.The level of increase, if any, in the parent’s or
  459  caregiver’s protective capacities since the child’s placement in
  460  the home, based on the length of time the child has been placed
  461  in the home.
  462         (c)The court shall evaluate the child’s permanency goal
  463  and change the permanency goal as needed if doing so is in the
  464  best interests of the child.
  465         Section 7. Subsection (5) of section 39.6011, Florida
  466  Statutes, is amended to read:
  467         39.6011 Case plan development.—
  468         (5) The case plan must describe:
  469         (a) The role of the foster parents or legal custodians when
  470  developing the services that are to be provided to the child,
  471  foster parents, or legal custodians;
  472         (b) The specific responsibilities of the parents and
  473  caregivers to work together to successfully implement the case
  474  plan. The case plan must specify how the case manager will
  475  assist the parents and caregivers in developing a productive
  476  relationship, including meaningful communication and mutual
  477  support;
  478         (c) The responsibility of the case manager to forward a
  479  relative’s request to receive notification of all proceedings
  480  and hearings submitted pursuant to s. 39.301(14)(b) to the
  481  attorney for the department;
  482         (d)(c) The minimum number of face-to-face meetings to be
  483  held each month between the parents and the case manager
  484  department’s family services counselors to review the progress
  485  of the plan, to eliminate barriers to progress, and to resolve
  486  conflicts or disagreements between the parents and the
  487  caregivers, service providers, or any professionals assisting
  488  the parents in the completion of the plan; and
  489         (e)(d) The parent’s responsibility for financial support of
  490  the child, including, but not limited to, health insurance and
  491  child support. The case plan must list the costs associated with
  492  any services or treatment that the parent and child are expected
  493  to receive which are the financial responsibility of the parent.
  494  The determination of child support and other financial support
  495  shall be made independently of any determination of indigency
  496  under s. 39.013.
  497         Section 8. Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) and subsection
  498  (2) of section 39.701, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  499         39.701 Judicial review.—
  500         (1) GENERAL PROVISIONS.—
  501         (b)1. The court shall retain jurisdiction over a child
  502  returned to his or her parents for a minimum period of 6 months
  503  following the reunification, but, at that time, based on a
  504  report of the social service agency and the guardian ad litem,
  505  if one has been appointed, and any other relevant factors, the
  506  court shall make a determination as to whether supervision by
  507  the department and the court’s jurisdiction shall continue or be
  508  terminated.
  509         2.Notwithstanding subparagraph 1., the court shall retain
  510  jurisdiction over a child if the child is placed in a home with
  511  a parent or caregiver with an in-home safety plan.
  513  AGE.—
  514         (a) Case Plan Assessment Social study report for judicial
  515  review.—Before every judicial review hearing or citizen review
  516  panel hearing, the community-based care lead social service
  517  agency shall assess make an investigation and social study
  518  concerning all pertinent details relating to the child and shall
  519  furnish to the court or citizen review panel a written report
  520  that includes, but is not limited to:
  521         1. A description of the type of placement the child is in
  522  at the time of the hearing, including the safety of the child
  523  and the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the
  524  placement.
  525         2. Documentation of the diligent efforts made by all
  526  parties to the case plan to comply with each applicable
  527  provision of the plan.
  528         3. The amount of fees assessed and collected during the
  529  period of time being reported.
  530         4. The services provided to the foster family or legal
  531  custodian in an effort to address the needs of the child as
  532  indicated in the case plan.
  533         5. A statement that either:
  534         a. The parent, though able to do so, did not comply
  535  substantially with the case plan, and the agency
  536  recommendations;
  537         b. The parent did substantially comply with the case plan;
  538  or
  539         c. The parent has partially complied with the case plan,
  540  with a summary of additional progress needed and the agency
  541  recommendations.
  542         6. A statement from the foster parent or legal custodian
  543  providing any material evidence concerning the well-being of the
  544  child, the impact of any services provided to the child, the
  545  working relationship between the caregiver and the parents, and
  546  the return of the child to the parent or parents.
  547         7. A statement concerning the frequency, duration, and
  548  results of the parent-child visitation, if any, and the agency
  549  and caregiver recommendations for an expansion or restriction of
  550  future visitation.
  551         8. The number of times a child has been removed from his or
  552  her home and placed elsewhere, the number and types of
  553  placements that have occurred, and the reason for the changes in
  554  placement.
  555         9. The number of times a child’s educational placement has
  556  been changed, the number and types of educational placements
  557  which have occurred, and the reason for any change in placement.
  558         10. If the child has reached 13 years of age but is not yet
  559  18 years of age, a statement from the caregiver on the progress
  560  the child has made in acquiring independent living skills.
  561         11. Copies of all medical, psychological, and educational
  562  records that support the terms of the case plan and that have
  563  been produced concerning the parents or any caregiver since the
  564  last judicial review hearing.
  565         12. Copies of the child’s current health, mental health,
  566  and education records as identified in s. 39.6012.
  567         (b) Submission and distribution of reports.—
  568         1. A copy of the case management social service agency’s
  569  case plan assessment written report and the written report of
  570  the guardian ad litem must be served on all parties whose
  571  whereabouts are known; to the foster parents or legal
  572  custodians; and to the citizen review panel, at least 72 hours
  573  before the judicial review hearing or citizen review panel
  574  hearing. The requirement for providing parents with a copy of
  575  the written report does not apply to those parents who have
  576  voluntarily surrendered their child for adoption or who have had
  577  their parental rights to the child terminated.
  578         2. In a case in which the child has been permanently placed
  579  with the community-based care lead social service agency, the
  580  agency shall furnish to the court a written report concerning
  581  the progress being made to place the child for adoption. If the
  582  child cannot be placed for adoption, a report on the progress
  583  made by the child towards alternative permanency goals or
  584  placements, including, but not limited to, guardianship, long
  585  term custody, long-term licensed custody, or independent living,
  586  must be submitted to the court. The report must be submitted to
  587  the court at least 72 hours before each scheduled judicial
  588  review.
  589         3. In addition to or in lieu of any written statement
  590  provided to the court, the foster parent or legal custodian, or
  591  any preadoptive parent, shall be given the opportunity to
  592  address the court with any information relevant to the best
  593  interests of the child at any judicial review hearing.
  594         (c) Review determinations.—The court and any citizen review
  595  panel shall take into consideration the information contained in
  596  the case plan assessment social services study and investigation
  597  and all medical, psychological, and educational records that
  598  support the terms of the case plan; testimony by the community
  599  based care lead social services agency, the parent, the foster
  600  parent or legal custodian, the guardian ad litem or surrogate
  601  parent for educational decisionmaking if one has been appointed
  602  for the child, and any other person deemed appropriate; and any
  603  relevant and material evidence submitted to the court, including
  604  written and oral reports to the extent of their probative value.
  605  These reports and evidence may be received by the court in its
  606  effort to determine the action to be taken with regard to the
  607  child and may be relied upon to the extent of their probative
  608  value, even though not competent in an adjudicatory hearing. In
  609  its deliberations, the court and any citizen review panel shall
  610  seek to determine:
  611         1. If the parent was advised of the right to receive
  612  assistance from any person or community-based care lead social
  613  service agency in the preparation of the case plan.
  614         2. If the parent has been advised of the right to have
  615  counsel present at the judicial review or citizen review
  616  hearings. If not so advised, the court or citizen review panel
  617  shall advise the parent of such right.
  618         3. If a guardian ad litem needs to be appointed for the
  619  child in a case in which a guardian ad litem has not previously
  620  been appointed or if there is a need to continue a guardian ad
  621  litem in a case in which a guardian ad litem has been appointed.
  622         4. Who holds the rights to make educational decisions for
  623  the child. If appropriate, the court may refer the child to the
  624  district school superintendent for appointment of a surrogate
  625  parent or may itself appoint a surrogate parent under the
  626  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and s. 39.0016.
  627         5. The compliance or lack of compliance of all parties with
  628  applicable items of the case plan, including the parents’
  629  compliance with child support orders.
  630         6. The compliance or lack of compliance with a visitation
  631  contract between the parent and the community-based care lead
  632  social service agency for contact with the child, including the
  633  frequency, duration, and results of the parent-child visitation
  634  and the reason for any noncompliance.
  635         7. If the parents and caregivers have developed a
  636  productive relationship with one another which is based on
  637  meaningful communication and mutual support.
  638         8.7. The frequency, kind, and duration of contacts among
  639  siblings who have been separated during placement, as well as
  640  any efforts undertaken to reunite separated siblings if doing so
  641  is in the best interest of the child.
  642         9.8. The compliance or lack of compliance of the parent in
  643  meeting specified financial obligations pertaining to the care
  644  of the child, including the reason for failure to comply, if
  645  applicable.
  646         10.9. Whether the child is receiving safe and proper care
  647  according to s. 39.6012, including, but not limited to, the
  648  appropriateness of the child’s current placement, including
  649  whether the child is in a setting that is as family-like and as
  650  close to the parent’s home as possible, consistent with the
  651  child’s best interests and special needs, and including
  652  maintaining stability in the child’s educational placement, as
  653  documented by assurances from the community-based care provider
  654  that:
  655         a. The placement of the child takes into account the
  656  appropriateness of the current educational setting and the
  657  proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the
  658  time of placement.
  659         b. The community-based care agency has coordinated with
  660  appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child
  661  remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time
  662  of placement.
  663         11.10. A projected date likely for the child’s return home
  664  or other permanent placement.
  665         12.11. When appropriate, the basis for the unwillingness or
  666  inability of the parent to become a party to a case plan. The
  667  court and the citizen review panel shall determine if the
  668  efforts of the community-based care lead social service agency
  669  to secure party participation in a case plan were sufficient.
  670         13.12. For a child who has reached 13 years of age but is
  671  not yet 18 years of age, the adequacy of the child’s preparation
  672  for adulthood and independent living. For a child who is 15
  673  years of age or older, the court shall determine if appropriate
  674  steps are being taken for the child to obtain a driver license
  675  or learner’s driver license.
  676         14.13. If amendments to the case plan are required.
  677  Amendments to the case plan must be made under s. 39.6013.
  678         (d) Orders.—
  679         1. Based upon the criteria set forth in paragraph (c) and
  680  the recommended order of the citizen review panel, if any, the
  681  court shall determine whether the social service agency shall
  682  initiate proceedings to have a child declared a dependent child,
  683  return the child to the parent, continue the child in out-of
  684  home care for a specified period of time, or initiate
  685  termination of parental rights proceedings for subsequent
  686  placement in an adoptive home. Amendments to the case plan must
  687  be prepared as provided in s. 39.6013. If the court finds that
  688  the prevention or reunification efforts of the department will
  689  allow the child to remain safely at home or be safely returned
  690  to the home, the court shall allow the child to remain in or
  691  return to the home after making a specific finding of fact that
  692  the reasons for the creation of the case plan have been remedied
  693  to the extent that the child’s safety, well-being, and physical,
  694  mental, and emotional health will not be endangered.
  695         2. The court shall return the child to the custody of his
  696  or her parents at any time it determines that the circumstances
  697  that caused the out-of-home placement, and any issues
  698  subsequently identified, have been remedied to the extent that
  699  returning the child to the home with an in-home safety plan
  700  prepared or approved by the department will not be detrimental
  701  to the child’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and
  702  emotional health.
  703         3. If, in the opinion of the court, the community-based
  704  care lead social service agency has not complied with its
  705  obligations as specified in the written case plan, the court may
  706  find the social service agency in contempt, shall order the
  707  social service agency to submit its plans for compliance with
  708  the agreement, and shall require the social service agency to
  709  show why the child could not safely be returned to the home of
  710  the parents.
  711         4. If, at any judicial review, the court finds that the
  712  parents have failed to substantially comply with the case plan
  713  to the degree that further reunification efforts are without
  714  merit and not in the best interest of the child, on its own
  715  motion, the court may order the filing of a petition for
  716  termination of parental rights, regardless of whether the time
  717  period as contained in the case plan for substantial compliance
  718  has expired.
  719         5. Within 6 months after the date that the child was placed
  720  in shelter care, the court shall conduct a judicial review
  721  hearing to review the child’s permanency goal as identified in
  722  the case plan. At the hearing the court shall make findings
  723  regarding the likelihood of the child’s reunification with the
  724  parent or legal custodian. In making such findings, the court
  725  shall consider the level of the parent or legal custodian’s
  726  compliance with the case plan and demonstrated change in
  727  protective capacities compared to that necessary to achieve
  728  timely reunification within 12 months after the removal of the
  729  child from the home. The court shall also consider the
  730  frequency, duration, manner, and level of engagement of the
  731  parent or legal custodian’s visitation with the child in
  732  compliance with the case plan. If the court makes a written
  733  finding that it is not likely that the child will be reunified
  734  with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
  735  child was removed from the home, the department must file with
  736  the court, and serve on all parties, a motion to amend the case
  737  plan under s. 39.6013 and declare that it will use concurrent
  738  planning for the case plan. The department must file the motion
  739  within 10 business days after receiving the written finding of
  740  the court. The department must attach the proposed amended case
  741  plan to the motion. If concurrent planning is already being
  742  used, the case plan must document the efforts the department is
  743  taking to complete the concurrent goal.
  744         6. The court may issue a protective order in assistance, or
  745  as a condition, of any other order made under this part. In
  746  addition to the requirements included in the case plan, the
  747  protective order may set forth requirements relating to
  748  reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specified
  749  period of time by a person or agency who is before the court;
  750  and the order may require any person or agency to make periodic
  751  reports to the court containing such information as the court in
  752  its discretion may prescribe.
  753         7. If, at any judicial review, the court determines that
  754  the child shall remain in out-of-home care in a placement other
  755  than with a parent, the court shall order that the department
  756  has placement and care responsibility for the child.
  757         Section 9. Section 409.1415, Florida Statutes, is created
  758  to read:
  759         409.1415 Parenting partnerships for children in out-of-home
  760  care.—
  762         (a)The Legislature finds that reunification is the most
  763  common outcome for children in out-of-home care and that foster
  764  parents are one of the most important resources to help children
  765  reunify with their families.
  766         (b)The Legislature further finds that the most successful
  767  foster parents understand that their role goes beyond supporting
  768  the children in their care to supporting the children’s
  769  families, as a whole, and that children and their families
  770  benefit when foster and birth parents are supported by an agency
  771  culture that encourages a meaningful partnership between them
  772  and provides quality support.
  773         (c)Therefore, in keeping with national trends, it is the
  774  intent of the Legislature to bring birth parents and foster
  775  parents together in order to build strong relationships that
  776  lead to more successful reunifications and more stability for
  777  children being fostered in out-of-home care.
  779         (a)General provisions.In order to ensure that children in
  780  out-of-home care achieve legal permanency as soon as possible,
  781  to reduce the likelihood that they will re-enter care or that
  782  other children in the family are abused or neglected or enter
  783  out-of-home care, and to ensure that families are fully prepared
  784  to resume custody of their children, the department and
  785  community-based care lead agencies shall develop and support
  786  relationships between foster families and the legal parents of
  787  children in out-of-home care to the extent that it is safe and
  788  in the child’s best interest, by:
  789         1. Facilitating telephone communication between the foster
  790  parent and the birth or legal parent as soon as possible after
  791  the child is placed in the home.
  792         2. Facilitating and attending an in-person meeting between
  793  the foster parent and the birth or legal parent within 2 weeks
  794  after placement.
  795         3. Developing and supporting a plan for birth or legal
  796  parents to participate in medical appointments, educational and
  797  extra-curricular activities, and other events involving the
  798  child.
  799         4.Facilitating participation by the foster parent in
  800  visitation between the birth parent and child.
  801         5.Involving the foster parent in planning meetings with
  802  the birth parent.
  803         6.Developing and implementing effective transition plans
  804  for the child’s return home or placement in any other living
  805  environment.
  806         7.Supporting continued contact between the foster family
  807  and the child after the child returns home or moves to another
  808  permanent living arrangement.
  809         8. Supporting continued connection with the birth parent
  810  after adoption.
  811         (b)Responsibilities.To ensure that a child in out-of-home
  812  care receives support for healthy development which gives him or
  813  her the best possible opportunity for success, foster parents,
  814  birth parents, the department, community-based care lead agency
  815  staff, and other agency staff, as applicable, shall work
  816  cooperatively in a respectful partnership by adhering to the
  817  following requirements:
  818         1. All members of the partnership must interact and
  819  communicate professionally with one another, must share all
  820  relevant information promptly, and must respect the
  821  confidentiality of all information related to a child and his or
  822  her family.
  823         2.Caregivers, the family, the department, community-based
  824  care lead agency staff, and other agency staff must participate
  825  in developing a case plan for the child and family, and all
  826  members of the team must work together to implement the plan.
  827  Caregivers must participate in all team meetings or court
  828  hearings related to the child’s care and future plans. The
  829  department, community-based care lead agency staff, and other
  830  agency staff must support and facilitate caregiver participation
  831  through timely notification of such meetings and hearings and an
  832  inclusive process, and by providing alternative methods for
  833  participation for caregivers who cannot be physically present at
  834  a meeting or hearing.
  835         3.Excellent parenting is a reasonable expectation of
  836  caregivers. Caregivers must provide, and the department,
  837  community-based care lead agency staff, and other agency staff
  838  must support, excellent parenting. “Excellent parenting” means a
  839  loving commitment to the child and the child’s safety and well
  840  being; appropriate supervision and positive methods of
  841  discipline; encouragement of the child’s strengths; respect for
  842  the child’s individuality and likes and dislikes; providing
  843  opportunities to develop the child’s interests and skills; being
  844  aware of the impact of trauma on behavior; facilitating equal
  845  participation of the child in family life; involving the child
  846  within his or her community; and a commitment to enable the
  847  child to lead a normal life.
  848         4.Children in out-of-home care may be placed only with a
  849  caregiver who has the ability to care for the child, is willing
  850  to accept responsibility for providing care, and is willing and
  851  able to learn about and be respectful of the child’s culture,
  852  religion, and ethnicity; special physical or psychological
  853  needs; any circumstances unique to the child; and family
  854  relationships. The department, the community-based care lead
  855  agency, and other agencies must provide a caregiver with all
  856  available information necessary to assist the caregiver in
  857  determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care for
  858  a particular child.
  859         5.A caregiver must have access to and take advantage of
  860  all training that he or she needs to improve his or her skills
  861  in parenting a child who has experienced trauma due to neglect,
  862  abuse, or separation from home; to meet the child’s special
  863  needs; and to work effectively with child welfare agencies, the
  864  courts, the schools, and other community and governmental
  865  agencies.
  866         6.The department, community-based care lead agency staff,
  867  and other agency staff must provide caregivers with the services
  868  and support they need to enable them to provide quality care for
  869  the child.
  870         7.Once a family accepts the responsibility of caring for a
  871  child, the child may be removed from that family only if the
  872  family is clearly unable to care for him or her safely or
  873  legally, when the child and his or her biological family are
  874  reunified, when the child is being placed in a legally permanent
  875  home in accordance with a case plan or court order, or when the
  876  removal is demonstrably in the best interests of the child.
  877         8.If a child must leave the caregiver’s home for one of
  878  the reasons stated in subparagraph 7., and in the absence of an
  879  unforeseeable emergency, the transition must be accomplished
  880  according to a plan that involves cooperation and sharing of
  881  information among all persons involved, respects the child’s
  882  developmental stage and psychological needs, ensures the child
  883  has all of his or her belongings, allows for a gradual
  884  transition from the caregiver’s home, and, if possible, allows
  885  for continued contact with the caregiver after the child leaves.
  886         9.When the plan for a child includes reunification,
  887  caregivers and agency staff must work together to assist the
  888  biological parents in improving their ability to care for and
  889  protect their children and to provide continuity for the child.
  890         10.A caregiver must respect and support the child’s ties
  891  to his or her biological family including parents, siblings, and
  892  extended family members and must assist the child in visitation
  893  and other forms of communication. The department, community
  894  based care lead agency staff, and other agency staff must
  895  provide caregivers with the information, guidance, training, and
  896  support necessary for fulfilling this responsibility.
  897         11.A caregiver must work in partnership with the
  898  department, community-based care lead agency staff, and other
  899  agency staff to obtain and maintain records that are important
  900  to the child’s well-being including, but not limited to, child
  901  resource records, medical records, school records, photographs,
  902  and records of special events and achievements.
  903         12.A caregiver must effectively advocate for a child in
  904  his or her care with the child welfare system, the court, and
  905  community agencies, including schools, child care providers,
  906  health and mental health providers, and employers. The
  907  department, community-based care lead agency staff, and other
  908  agency staff must support a caregiver in effectively advocating
  909  for a child and may not retaliate against the caregiver as a
  910  result of this advocacy.
  911         13.A caregiver must be as fully involved in the child’s
  912  medical, psychological, and dental care as he or she would be
  913  for his or her biological child. Agency staff must support and
  914  facilitate such participation. Caregivers, the department,
  915  community-based care lead agency staff, and other agency staff
  916  must share information with each other about the child’s health
  917  and well-being.
  918         14.A caregiver must support a child’s school success,
  919  including, when possible, maintaining school stability by
  920  participating in school activities and meetings, including
  921  individual education plan meetings; assisting with school
  922  assignments; supporting tutoring programs; meeting with teachers
  923  and working with an educational surrogate, if one has been
  924  appointed; and encouraging the child’s participation in
  925  extracurricular activities. Agency staff must facilitate this
  926  participation and must be kept informed of the child’s progress
  927  and needs.
  928         15.Caseworkers and caseworker supervisors must mediate
  929  disagreements that occur between foster parents and birth
  930  parents.
  931         (c)Residential group homes.All caregivers employed by
  932  residential group homes must meet the same education, training,
  933  and background and other screening requirements as foster
  934  parents and must adhere to the requirements in paragraph (b).
  935         (3)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt by rule
  936  procedures to administer this section.
  937         Section 10. Section 409.145, Florida Statutes, is amended
  938  to read:
  939         409.145 Care of children; quality parenting; “reasonable
  940  and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the
  941  department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system
  942  of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster
  943  care to provide quality parenting, including approving or
  944  disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the
  945  caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent”
  946  standard.
  947         (1) SYSTEM OF CARE.—The department shall develop,
  948  implement, and administer a coordinated community-based system
  949  of care for children who are found to be dependent and their
  950  families. This system of care must be directed toward the
  951  following goals:
  952         (a) Prevention of separation of children from their
  953  families.
  954         (b) Intervention to allow children to remain safely in
  955  their own homes.
  956         (c) Reunification of families who have had children removed
  957  from their care.
  958         (d) Safety for children who are separated from their
  959  families by providing alternative emergency or longer-term
  960  parenting arrangements.
  961         (e) Focus on the well-being of children through emphasis on
  962  maintaining educational stability and providing timely health
  963  care.
  964         (f) Permanency for children for whom reunification with
  965  their families is not possible or is not in the best interest of
  966  the child.
  967         (g) The transition to independence and self-sufficiency for
  968  older children who remain in foster care through adolescence.
  969         (2) QUALITY PARENTING.—A child in foster care shall be
  970  placed only with a caregiver who has the ability to care for the
  971  child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care,
  972  and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the
  973  child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or
  974  psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and
  975  family relationships. The department, the community-based care
  976  lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver
  977  with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver
  978  in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care
  979  for a particular child.
  980         (a) Roles and responsibilities of caregivers.—A caregiver
  981  shall:
  982         1. Participate in developing the case plan for the child
  983  and his or her family and work with others involved in his or
  984  her care to implement this plan. This participation includes the
  985  caregiver’s involvement in all team meetings or court hearings
  986  related to the child’s care.
  987         2. Complete all training needed to improve skills in
  988  parenting a child who has experienced trauma due to neglect,
  989  abuse, or separation from home, to meet the child’s special
  990  needs, and to work effectively with child welfare agencies, the
  991  court, the schools, and other community and governmental
  992  agencies.
  993         3. Respect and support the child’s ties to members of his
  994  or her biological family and assist the child in maintaining
  995  allowable visitation and other forms of communication.
  996         4. Effectively advocate for the child in the caregiver’s
  997  care with the child welfare system, the court, and community
  998  agencies, including the school, child care, health and mental
  999  health providers, and employers.
 1000         5. Participate fully in the child’s medical, psychological,
 1001  and dental care as the caregiver would for his or her biological
 1002  child.
 1003         6. Support the child’s educational success by participating
 1004  in activities and meetings associated with the child’s school or
 1005  other educational setting, including Individual Education Plan
 1006  meetings and meetings with an educational surrogate if one has
 1007  been appointed, assisting with assignments, supporting tutoring
 1008  programs, and encouraging the child’s participation in
 1009  extracurricular activities.
 1010         a. Maintaining educational stability for a child while in
 1011  out-of-home care by allowing the child to remain in the school
 1012  or educational setting that he or she attended before entry into
 1013  out-of-home care is the first priority, unless not in the best
 1014  interest of the child.
 1015         b. If it is not in the best interest of the child to remain
 1016  in his or her school or educational setting upon entry into out
 1017  of-home care, the caregiver must work with the case manager,
 1018  guardian ad litem, teachers and guidance counselors, and
 1019  educational surrogate if one has been appointed to determine the
 1020  best educational setting for the child. Such setting may include
 1021  a public school that is not the school of origin, a private
 1022  school pursuant to s. 1002.42, a virtual instruction program
 1023  pursuant to s. 1002.45, or a home education program pursuant to
 1024  s. 1002.41.
 1025         7. Work in partnership with other stakeholders to obtain
 1026  and maintain records that are important to the child’s well
 1027  being, including child resource records, medical records, school
 1028  records, photographs, and records of special events and
 1029  achievements.
 1030         8. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care who is
 1031  between 13 and 17 years of age learns and masters independent
 1032  living skills.
 1033         9. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care is aware
 1034  of the requirements and benefits of the Road-to-Independence
 1035  Program.
 1036         10. Work to enable the child in the caregiver’s care to
 1037  establish and maintain naturally occurring mentoring
 1038  relationships.
 1039         (b) Roles and responsibilities of the department, the
 1040  community-based care lead agency, and other agency staff.—The
 1041  department, the community-based care lead agency, and other
 1042  agency staff shall:
 1043         1. Include a caregiver in the development and
 1044  implementation of the case plan for the child and his or her
 1045  family. The caregiver shall be authorized to participate in all
 1046  team meetings or court hearings related to the child’s care and
 1047  future plans. The caregiver’s participation shall be facilitated
 1048  through timely notification, an inclusive process, and
 1049  alternative methods for participation for a caregiver who cannot
 1050  be physically present.
 1051         2. Develop and make available to the caregiver the
 1052  information, services, training, and support that the caregiver
 1053  needs to improve his or her skills in parenting children who
 1054  have experienced trauma due to neglect, abuse, or separation
 1055  from home, to meet these children’s special needs, and to
 1056  advocate effectively with child welfare agencies, the courts,
 1057  schools, and other community and governmental agencies.
 1058         3. Provide the caregiver with all information related to
 1059  services and other benefits that are available to the child.
 1060         4. Show no prejudice against a caregiver who desires to
 1061  educate at home a child placed in his or her home through the
 1062  child welfare system.
 1063         (c) Transitions.
 1064         1. Once a caregiver accepts the responsibility of caring
 1065  for a child, the child will be removed from the home of that
 1066  caregiver only if:
 1067         a. The caregiver is clearly unable to safely or legally
 1068  care for the child;
 1069         b. The child and his or her biological family are
 1070  reunified;
 1071         c. The child is being placed in a legally permanent home
 1072  pursuant to the case plan or a court order; or
 1073         d. The removal is demonstrably in the child’s best
 1074  interest.
 1075         2. In the absence of an emergency, if a child leaves the
 1076  caregiver’s home for a reason provided under subparagraph 1.,
 1077  the transition must be accomplished according to a plan that
 1078  involves cooperation and sharing of information among all
 1079  persons involved, respects the child’s developmental stage and
 1080  psychological needs, ensures the child has all of his or her
 1081  belongings, allows for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s
 1082  home and, if possible, for continued contact with the caregiver
 1083  after the child leaves.
 1084         (d) Information sharing.—Whenever a foster home or
 1085  residential group home assumes responsibility for the care of a
 1086  child, the department and any additional providers shall make
 1087  available to the caregiver as soon as is practicable all
 1088  relevant information concerning the child. Records and
 1089  information that are required to be shared with caregivers
 1090  include, but are not limited to:
 1091         1. Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric, and
 1092  behavioral history, as well as ongoing evaluation or treatment
 1093  needs;
 1094         2. School records;
 1095         3. Copies of his or her birth certificate and, if
 1096  appropriate, immigration status documents;
 1097         4. Consents signed by parents;
 1098         5. Comprehensive behavioral assessments and other social
 1099  assessments;
 1100         6. Court orders;
 1101         7. Visitation and case plans;
 1102         8. Guardian ad litem reports;
 1103         9. Staffing forms; and
 1104         10. Judicial or citizen review panel reports and
 1105  attachments filed with the court, except confidential medical,
 1106  psychiatric, and psychological information regarding any party
 1107  or participant other than the child.
 1108         (e) Caregivers employed by residential group homes.—All
 1109  caregivers in residential group homes shall meet the same
 1110  education, training, and background and other screening
 1111  requirements as foster parents.
 1113         (a) Definitions.—As used in this subsection, the term:
 1114         1. “Age-appropriate” means an activity or item that is
 1115  generally accepted as suitable for a child of the same
 1116  chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is
 1117  based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and
 1118  behavioral capacity which is typical for an age or age group.
 1119         2. “Caregiver” means a person with whom the child is placed
 1120  in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group care
 1121  facility licensed by the department under s. 409.175.
 1122         3. “Reasonable and prudent parent” standard means the
 1123  standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to
 1124  allow a child in his or her care to participate in
 1125  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This
 1126  standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental
 1127  decisionmaking that is intended to maintain a child’s health,
 1128  safety, and best interest while encouraging the child’s
 1129  emotional and developmental growth.
 1130         (b) Application of standard of care.—
 1131         1. Every child who comes into out-of-home care pursuant to
 1132  this chapter is entitled to participate in age-appropriate
 1133  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
 1134         2. Each caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent
 1135  parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a
 1136  child living in out-of-home care to participate in
 1137  extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. When using
 1138  the reasonable and prudent parent standard, the caregiver must
 1139  consider:
 1140         a. The child’s age, maturity, and developmental level to
 1141  maintain the overall health and safety of the child.
 1142         b. The potential risk factors and the appropriateness of
 1143  the extracurricular, enrichment, or social activity.
 1144         c. The best interest of the child, based on information
 1145  known by the caregiver.
 1146         d. The importance of encouraging the child’s emotional and
 1147  developmental growth.
 1148         e. The importance of providing the child with the most
 1149  family-like living experience possible.
 1150         f. The behavioral history of the child and the child’s
 1151  ability to safely participate in the proposed activity.
 1152         (c) Verification of services delivered.—The department and
 1153  each community-based care lead agency shall verify that private
 1154  agencies providing out-of-home care services to dependent
 1155  children have policies in place which are consistent with this
 1156  section and that these agencies promote and protect the ability
 1157  of dependent children to participate in age-appropriate
 1158  extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
 1159         (d) Limitation of liability.—A caregiver is not liable for
 1160  harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved
 1161  by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in
 1162  accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard. This
 1163  paragraph may not be interpreted as removing or limiting any
 1164  existing liability protection afforded by law.
 1165         (3)(4) FOSTER CARE ROOM AND BOARD RATES.—
 1166         (a) Effective July 1, 2018, room and board rates shall be
 1167  paid to foster parents as follows:
 1169                       Monthly Foster Care Rate                      
 1170       0-5 YearsAge         6-12 YearsAge         13-21 YearsAge    
 1171         $457.95               $469.68               $549.74        
 1172         (b) Each January, foster parents shall receive an annual
 1173  cost of living increase. The department shall calculate the new
 1174  room and board rate increase equal to the percentage change in
 1175  the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, U.S. City
 1176  Average, All Items, not seasonally adjusted, or successor
 1177  reports, for the preceding December compared to the prior
 1178  December as initially reported by the United States Department
 1179  of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The department shall make
 1180  available the adjusted room and board rates annually.
 1181         (c) Effective July 1, 2019, foster parents of level I
 1182  family foster homes, as defined in s. 409.175(5)(a) shall
 1183  receive a room and board rate of $333.
 1184         (d) Effective July 1, 2019, the foster care room and board
 1185  rate for level II family foster homes as defined in s.
 1186  409.175(5)(a) shall be the same as the new rate established for
 1187  family foster homes as of January 1, 2019.
 1188         (e) Effective January 1, 2020, paragraph (b) shall only
 1189  apply to level II through level V family foster homes, as
 1190  defined in s. 409.175(5)(a).
 1191         (f) The amount of the monthly foster care room and board
 1192  rate may be increased upon agreement among the department, the
 1193  community-based care lead agency, and the foster parent.
 1194         (g) From July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019, community
 1195  based care lead agencies providing care under contract with the
 1196  department shall pay a supplemental room and board payment to
 1197  foster care parents of all family foster homes, on a per-child
 1198  basis, for providing independent life skills and normalcy
 1199  supports to children who are 13 through 17 years of age placed
 1200  in their care. The supplemental payment shall be paid monthly to
 1201  the foster care parents in addition to the current monthly room
 1202  and board rate payment. The supplemental monthly payment shall
 1203  be based on 10 percent of the monthly room and board rate for
 1204  children 13 through 21 years of age as provided under this
 1205  section and adjusted annually. Effective July 1, 2019, such
 1206  supplemental payments shall only be paid to foster parents of
 1207  level II through level V family foster homes.
 1208         (4)(5) RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt by rule
 1209  procedures to administer this section.
 1210         Section 11. Paragraph (j) of subsection (1) of section
 1211  409.988, Florida Statutes, is amended, and paragraph (l) is
 1212  added to that subsection, to read:
 1213         409.988 Lead agency duties; general provisions.—
 1214         (1) DUTIES.—A lead agency:
 1215         (j) May subcontract for the provision of services required
 1216  by the contract with the lead agency and the department;
 1217  however, the subcontracts must specify how the provider will
 1218  contribute to the lead agency meeting the performance standards
 1219  established pursuant to the child welfare results-oriented
 1220  accountability system required by s. 409.997. The lead agency
 1221  shall directly provide no more than 35 percent of all child
 1222  welfare services provided unless it demonstrates a need, within
 1223  the lead agency’s geographic service area, to exceed this
 1224  threshold. The local community alliance in the geographic
 1225  service area in which the lead agency is seeking to exceed the
 1226  threshold shall review the lead agency’s justification for need
 1227  and recommend to the department whether the department should
 1228  approve or deny the lead agency’s request for an exemption from
 1229  the services threshold. If there is not a community alliance
 1230  operating in a lead agency’s geographic service area, such
 1231  review and recommendation must be made by representatives of
 1232  local stakeholders, including at least one representative from
 1233  each of the following:
 1234         1.The department.
 1235         2.The county government.
 1236         3.The school district.
 1237         4.The county United Way.
 1238         5.The county sheriff’s office.
 1239         6.The circuit court having jurisdiction in the county.
 1240         7.The county children’s board, if one exists.
 1241         (l) Shall conduct home studies of prospective adoptive
 1242  parents who wish to adopt a child after the state has terminated
 1243  parental rights. Home studies must assess the residence to
 1244  ensure the safety of a newly adopted child and the financial and
 1245  medical status of the prospective adoptive parents. Home studies
 1246  must be completed within 2 weeks after the date on which the
 1247  community-based care lead agency receives a completed
 1248  application. The home study must be conducted concurrently with
 1249  the required background screening of the prospective parents.
 1250         Section 12. Present subsections (11) through (23) of
 1251  section 409.996, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as
 1252  subsections (12) through (24), respectively, a new subsection
 1253  (11) is added to that section, and paragraph (a) of subsection
 1254  (1) of that section is amended, to read:
 1255         409.996 Duties of the Department of Children and Families.
 1256  The department shall contract for the delivery, administration,
 1257  or management of care for children in the child protection and
 1258  child welfare system. In doing so, the department retains
 1259  responsibility for the quality of contracted services and
 1260  programs and shall ensure that services are delivered in
 1261  accordance with applicable federal and state statutes and
 1262  regulations.
 1263         (1) The department shall enter into contracts with lead
 1264  agencies for the performance of the duties by the lead agencies
 1265  pursuant to s. 409.988. At a minimum, the contracts must:
 1266         (a) Provide for the services needed to accomplish the
 1267  duties established in s. 409.988 and provide information to the
 1268  department which is necessary to meet the requirements for a
 1269  quality assurance program pursuant to subsection (19) (18) and
 1270  the child welfare results-oriented accountability system
 1271  pursuant to s. 409.997.
 1272         (11) The department shall conduct level 1 and level 2
 1273  background screenings of prospective adoptive parents. The
 1274  background screenings must be completed within 2 weeks of a
 1275  completed application from the prospective adoptive parents. The
 1276  department shall provide the results of the screening to the
 1277  community-based care lead agency. The background screening must
 1278  be conducted concurrently with the home study of the prospective
 1279  parents required under s. 409.988(1)(l).
 1280         Section 13. Paragraph (d) of subsection (5) of section
 1281  39.6225, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1282         39.6225 Guardianship Assistance Program.—
 1283         (5) A guardian with an application approved pursuant to
 1284  subsection (2) who is caring for a child placed with the
 1285  guardian by the court pursuant to this part may receive
 1286  guardianship assistance payments based on the following
 1287  criteria:
 1288         (d) The department shall provide guardianship assistance
 1289  payments in the amount of $4,000 annually, paid on a monthly
 1290  basis, or in an amount other than $4,000 annually as determined
 1291  by the guardian and the department and memorialized in a written
 1292  agreement between the guardian and the department. The agreement
 1293  shall take into consideration the circumstances of the guardian
 1294  and the needs of the child. Changes may not be made without the
 1295  concurrence of the guardian. However, in no case shall the
 1296  amount of the monthly payment exceed the foster care maintenance
 1297  payment that would have been paid during the same period if the
 1298  child had been in licensed care at his or her designated level
 1299  of care at the rate established in s. 409.145(3) s. 409.145(4).
 1300         Section 14. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of section
 1301  393.065, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1302         393.065 Application and eligibility determination.—
 1303         (5) The agency shall assign and provide priority to clients
 1304  waiting for waiver services in the following order:
 1305         (b) Category 2, which includes individuals on the waiting
 1306  list who are:
 1307         1. From the child welfare system with an open case in the
 1308  Department of Children and Families’ statewide automated child
 1309  welfare information system and who are either:
 1310         a. Transitioning out of the child welfare system at the
 1311  finalization of an adoption, a reunification with family
 1312  members, a permanent placement with a relative, or a
 1313  guardianship with a nonrelative; or
 1314         b. At least 18 years but not yet 22 years of age and who
 1315  need both waiver services and extended foster care services; or
 1316         2. At least 18 years but not yet 22 years of age and who
 1317  withdrew consent pursuant to s. 39.6251(5)(c) to remain in the
 1318  extended foster care system.
 1320  For individuals who are at least 18 years but not yet 22 years
 1321  of age and who are eligible under sub-subparagraph 1.b., the
 1322  agency shall provide waiver services, including residential
 1323  habilitation, and the community-based care lead agency shall
 1324  fund room and board at the rate established in s. 409.145(3) s.
 1325  409.145(4) and provide case management and related services as
 1326  defined in s. 409.986(3)(e). Individuals may receive both waiver
 1327  services and services under s. 39.6251. Services may not
 1328  duplicate services available through the Medicaid state plan.
 1330  Within categories 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, the agency shall maintain a
 1331  waiting list of clients placed in the order of the date that the
 1332  client is determined eligible for waiver services.
 1333         Section 15. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
 1334  409.1451, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1335         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
 1337         (b) The amount of the financial assistance shall be as
 1338  follows:
 1339         1. For a young adult who does not remain in foster care and
 1340  is attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1341  the amount is $1,256 monthly.
 1342         2. For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
 1343  attending a postsecondary school, as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1344  and continues to reside in a licensed foster home, the amount is
 1345  the established room and board rate for foster parents. This
 1346  takes the place of the payment provided for in s. 409.145(3) s.
 1347  409.145(4).
 1348         3. For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
 1349  temporarily resides away from a licensed foster home for
 1350  purposes of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s.
 1351  1009.533, the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of
 1352  the payment provided for in s. 409.145(3) s. 409.145(4).
 1353         4. For a young adult who remains in foster care, is
 1354  attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533, and
 1355  continues to reside in a licensed group home, the amount is
 1356  negotiated between the community-based care lead agency and the
 1357  licensed group home provider.
 1358         5. For a young adult who remains in foster care, but
 1359  temporarily resides away from a licensed group home for purposes
 1360  of attending a postsecondary school as provided in s. 1009.533,
 1361  the amount is $1,256 monthly. This takes the place of a
 1362  negotiated room and board rate.
 1363         6. A young adult is eligible to receive financial
 1364  assistance during the months when he or she is enrolled in a
 1365  postsecondary educational institution.
 1366         Section 16. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.