Florida Senate - 2020 SB 1748
By Senator Hutson
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to child welfare; amending s. 39.01,
3 F.S.; revising definitions; amending s. 39.0135, F.S.;
4 requiring that child support payments be deposited
5 into specified trust funds; amending s. 39.202, F.S.;
6 authorizing the Agency for Health Care Administration
7 to access certain records; amending s. 39.407, F.S.;
8 authorizing the Department of Children and Families to
9 place children in a specified program without court
10 approval; defining the term “qualifying assessment”
11 and revising definitions; providing applicability;
12 requiring an assessment by a specified professional in
13 order to be placed in a program; requiring assessment
14 within a specified timeframe; requiring that an
15 assessment be provided to certain persons; requiring
16 the department to submit a specified report to the
17 court; requiring the court to approve program
18 placement for a child; authorizing the department to
19 adopt rules relating to the program; amending s.
20 39.6011, F.S.; requiring certain documentation in the
21 case plan when a child is placed in a qualified
22 residential treatment program; amending s. 39.6221,
23 F.S.; revising the conditions under which a court
24 determines permanent guardian placement for a child;
25 amending s. 39.6251, F.S.; specifying certain
26 facilities that are not considered a supervised living
27 arrangement; requiring a supervised living arrangement
28 to be voluntary; amending s. 61.30, F.S.; providing a
29 presumption for child support in proceedings under
30 chapter 39; amending s. 409.145, F.S.; requiring
31 certain screening requirements for residential group
32 home employees and caregivers; requiring a written
33 agreement to modify foster care room and board rates;
34 providing an exception; repealing s. 409.1676, F.S.,
35 relating to comprehensive residential group care
36 services to children who have extraordinary needs;
37 creating s. 409.16765, F.S.; defining the term
38 “qualified residential treatment program”; providing
39 requirements for qualified residential treatment
40 programs; providing responsibilities for community
41 based care lead agencies; providing placement
42 timeframes for the qualified residential treatment
43 program; requiring the department to adopt rules;
44 amending s. 409.1678, F.S.; revising a requirement and
45 an authorization for safe houses; repealing s.
46 409.1679, F.S., relating to comprehensive residential
47 group care requirements and reimbursement; amending s.
48 409.175, F.S.; revising definitions; amending ss.
49 39.301, 39.302, 39.402, 39.501, and 39.6013, F.S.;
50 making technical and conforming changes; providing an
51 effective date.
53 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
55 Section 1. Subsections (11) and (67) of section 39.01,
56 Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
57 39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the
58 context otherwise requires:
59 (11) “Case plan” means a document, as described in s.
60 39.6011, prepared by the department with input from all parties.
61 The case plan follows the child from the provision of preventive
voluntary services through any dependency, foster care, or
63 termination of parental rights proceeding or related activity or
65 (67) “Preventive services” means social services and other
66 supportive and rehabilitative services provided, either
67 voluntarily or by court order, to the parent or legal custodian
68 of the child and to the child or on behalf of the child for the
69 purpose of averting the removal of the child from the home or
70 disruption of a family which will or could result in the
71 placement of a child in foster care. Social services and other
72 supportive and rehabilitative services shall promote the child’s
73 developmental needs and need for physical, mental, and emotional
74 health and a safe, stable, living environment; shall promote
75 family autonomy; and shall strengthen family life, whenever
77 Section 2. Section 39.0135, Florida Statutes, is amended to
79 39.0135 Federal Grants and Operations and Maintenance Trust
80 Funds Fund.—The department shall deposit all child support
81 payments made to the department, equaling the cost of care,
82 under pursuant to this chapter into the Federal Grants Trust
83 Fund for Title IV-E eligible children and the Operations and
84 Maintenance Trust Fund for children ineligible for Title IV-E.
85 If the child support payment does not equal the cost of care,
86 the total amount of the payment shall be deposited into the
87 appropriate trust fund. The purpose of this funding is to care
88 for children who are committed to the temporary legal custody of
89 the department.
90 Section 3. Paragraphs (a) and (h) of subsection (2) of
91 section 39.202, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
92 39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
93 child abuse or neglect.—
94 (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
95 records, excluding the name of, or other identifying information
96 with respect to, the reporter which shall be released only as
97 provided in subsection (5), shall be granted only to the
98 following persons, officials, and agencies:
99 (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of
100 the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons
101 with Disabilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration,
102 the Office of Early Learning, or county agencies responsible for
103 carrying out:
104 1. Child or adult protective investigations;
105 2. Ongoing child or adult protective services;
106 3. Early intervention and prevention services;
107 4. Healthy Start services;
108 5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes,
109 child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapters 393
110 and 394 chapter 393, family day care homes, providers who
111 receive school readiness funding under part VI of chapter 1002,
112 or other homes used to provide for the care and welfare of
114 6. Employment screening for employees caregivers in
115 residential group homes licensed by the department, the Agency
116 for Persons with Disabilities, or the Agency for Health Care
117 Administration; or
118 7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided
119 by certified domestic violence centers working at the
120 department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients.
122 Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice
123 responsible for the provision of services to children, under
124 pursuant to chapters 984 and 985.
125 (h) Any appropriate official of the department, the Agency
126 for Health Care Administration, or the Agency for Persons with
127 Disabilities who is responsible for:
128 1. Administration or supervision of the department’s
129 program for the prevention, investigation, or treatment of child
130 abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, neglect, or
131 exploitation of a vulnerable adult, when carrying out his or her
132 official function;
133 2. Taking appropriate administrative action concerning an
134 employee of the department or the agency who is alleged to have
135 perpetrated child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse,
136 neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult; or
137 3. Employing and continuing employment of personnel of the
138 department or the agency.
139 Section 4. Subsection (6) of section 39.407, Florida
140 Statutes, is amended to read:
141 39.407 Medical, psychiatric, and psychological examination
142 and treatment of child; physical, mental, or substance abuse
143 examination of person with or requesting child custody.—
144 (6) Children who are in the legal custody of the department
145 may be placed by the department, without prior approval of the
146 court, in a residential treatment center licensed under s.
147 394.875, a qualified residential treatment program as defined in
148 s. 409.16765, or a hospital licensed under chapter 395 for
149 residential mental health treatment only under pursuant to this
150 section or may be placed by the court in accordance with an
151 order of involuntary examination or involuntary placement
152 entered under pursuant to s. 394.463 or s. 394.467. All children
153 placed in a residential treatment program under this subsection
154 must have a guardian ad litem appointed.
155 (a) As used in this subsection, the term:
156 1. “Residential treatment” means placement for observation,
157 diagnosis, or treatment of an emotional disturbance in a
158 residential treatment center licensed under s. 394.875, a
159 qualified residential treatment program defined in s. 409.16765,
160 or a hospital licensed under chapter 395.
161 2. “Least restrictive alternative” means the treatment and
162 conditions of treatment that, separately and in combination, are
163 no more intrusive or restrictive of freedom than reasonably
164 necessary to achieve a substantial therapeutic benefit or to
165 protect the child or adolescent or others from physical injury.
166 3. “Suitable for residential treatment” or “suitability”
167 means a determination concerning a child or adolescent with an
168 emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(5) or a serious
169 emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(6) that each of
170 the following criteria is met:
171 a. The child requires residential treatment.
172 b. The child is in need of a residential treatment program
173 and is expected to benefit from mental health treatment.
174 c. An appropriate, less restrictive alternative to
175 residential treatment is unavailable.
176 4. “Qualifying assessment” means a determination by a
177 department-approved functional assessment concerning a child or
178 adolescent who has an emotional disturbance or a serious
179 emotional disturbance or mental illness, as those terms are
180 defined in s. 394.492, for recommended placement in a qualified
181 residential treatment program under s. 409.16765.
182 (b)1. If Whenever the department believes that a child in
183 its legal custody is emotionally disturbed and may need
184 residential treatment, an examination and suitability assessment
185 must be conducted by a qualified evaluator who is appointed by
186 the Agency for Health Care Administration. This suitability
187 assessment must be completed before the placement of the child
188 in a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed
189 children and adolescents or a hospital. The qualified evaluator
190 must be a psychiatrist or a psychologist licensed in Florida who
191 has at least 3 years of experience in the diagnosis and
192 treatment of serious emotional disturbances in children and
193 adolescents and who has no actual or perceived conflict of
194 interest with any inpatient facility or residential treatment
195 center or program. This paragraph does not apply to a child who
196 may need placement in a qualified residential treatment program.
197 2. (c) Before a child is admitted under this paragraph
198 subsection, the child must shall be assessed for suitability for
199 residential treatment by a qualified evaluator who has conducted
200 a personal examination and assessment of the child and has made
201 written findings that:
202 a. 1. The child appears to have an emotional disturbance
203 serious enough to require residential treatment and is
204 reasonably likely to benefit from the treatment.
205 b. 2. The child has been provided with a clinically
206 appropriate explanation of the nature and purpose of the
208 c. 3. All available modalities of treatment less restrictive
209 than residential treatment have been considered, and a less
210 restrictive alternative that would offer comparable benefits to
211 the child is unavailable.
212 3. A copy of the written findings of the evaluation and
213 suitability assessment must be provided to the department, to
214 the guardian ad litem, and, if the child is a member of a
215 Medicaid managed care plan, to the plan that is financially
216 responsible for the child’s care in residential treatment, all
217 of whom must be provided with the opportunity to discuss the
218 findings with the evaluator.
219 (c)1. If the department believes that a child in its legal
220 custody has a serious emotional or behavioral disorder or
221 disturbance and may need placement in a qualified residential
222 treatment program, a qualifying assessment must be conducted by
223 a qualified evaluator who is a trained professional with a
224 master’s degree in human services, has at least 3 years’
225 experience working with children or adolescents involved in the
226 child welfare system of care, and has no actual or perceived
227 conflict of interest with any inpatient facility or residential
228 treatment center or program. The qualifying assessment must be
229 completed no later than 30 days after placement of the child in
230 a qualified residential treatment program.
231 2. A copy of the qualifying assessment must be provided to
232 the department; to the guardian ad litem; and, if the child is a
233 member of a Medicaid managed care plan, to the plan that is
234 financially responsible for the child’s care in residential
235 treatment, all of whom must be provided with the opportunity to
236 discuss the placement recommendations with the evaluator.
237 (d) Immediately upon placing a child in a residential
238 treatment program under this section, the department must notify
239 the guardian ad litem and the court having jurisdiction over the
240 child and must provide the guardian ad litem and the court with
241 a copy of the suitability or qualifying assessment by the
242 qualified evaluator.
243 (e) Within 10 days after the admission of a child to a
244 residential treatment program, the director of the residential
245 treatment program or the director’s designee must ensure that an
246 individualized plan of treatment has been prepared by the
247 program and has been explained to the child, to the department,
248 and to the guardian ad litem, and submitted to the department.
249 The child must be involved in the preparation of the plan to the
250 maximum feasible extent consistent with his or her ability to
251 understand and participate, and the guardian ad litem and the
252 child’s foster parents must be involved to the maximum extent
253 consistent with the child’s treatment needs. The plan must
254 include a preliminary plan for residential treatment and
255 aftercare upon completion of residential treatment. The plan
256 must include specific behavioral and emotional goals against
257 which the success of the residential treatment may be measured.
258 A copy of the plan must be provided to the child, to the
259 guardian ad litem, and to the department.
260 (f) Within 30 days after admission, the residential
261 treatment program must review the appropriateness and
262 suitability of the child’s placement in the program. The
263 residential treatment program must determine whether the child
264 is receiving benefit toward the treatment goals and whether the
265 child could be treated in a less restrictive treatment program.
266 The residential treatment program shall prepare a written report
267 of its findings and submit the report to the guardian ad litem
268 and to the department. The department must submit the report to
269 the court. The report must include a discharge plan for the
270 child. The residential treatment program must continue to
271 evaluate the child’s treatment progress every 30 days thereafter
272 and must include its findings in a written report submitted to
273 the department and the guardian ad litem. The department must
274 submit the report to the court. The department may not reimburse
275 a facility until the facility has submitted every written report
276 that is due.
277 (g)1. The department must submit, at the beginning of each
278 month, to the court having jurisdiction over the child, a
279 written report regarding the child’s progress toward achieving
280 the goals specified in the individualized plan of treatment.
281 2. The court must conduct a hearing to review the status of
282 the child’s residential treatment plan no later than 60 days
283 after the child’s admission to the residential treatment
284 program. An independent review of the child’s progress toward
285 achieving the goals and objectives of the treatment plan must be
286 completed by a qualified evaluator and submitted to the court
287 before its 60-day review.
288 3. For any child in residential treatment at the time a
289 judicial review is held under pursuant to s. 39.701, the child’s
290 continued placement in residential treatment must be a subject
291 of the judicial review.
292 4. If at any time the court determines that the child is
293 not suitable for continued residential treatment, the court
294 shall order the department to place the child in the least
295 restrictive setting that is best suited to meet his or her
297 (h) After the initial 60-day review, the court must conduct
298 a review of the child’s residential treatment plan every 90
300 (i) In addition to the requirements of paragraphs (g) and
301 (h), within 60 days after initial placement in a qualified
302 residential treatment program, the court must approve or
303 disapprove the placement based on the qualified assessment,
304 determination, and documentation made by the qualified
305 evaluator, as well as any other factors the court deems fit.
306 (j)1. (i) The department must adopt rules for implementing
307 timeframes for the completion of suitability and qualifying
308 assessments by qualified evaluators and a procedure that
309 includes timeframes for completing the 60-day independent review
310 by the qualified evaluators of the child’s progress toward
311 achieving the goals and objectives of the treatment plan which
312 review must be submitted to the court. The Agency for Health
313 Care Administration must adopt rules for the registration of
314 qualified evaluators, the procedure for selecting the evaluators
315 to conduct the reviews required under this section, and a
316 reasonable, cost-efficient fee schedule for qualified
318 2. The department may adopt rules relating to the
319 assessment tool, the placement recommendations from the
320 assessment, and the training criteria for qualified evaluators
321 in order to administer this section.
322 Section 5. Subsections (6) through (9) of section 39.6011,
323 Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (7) through
324 (10), respectively, and a new subsection (6) is added to that
325 section, to read:
326 39.6011 Case plan development.—
327 (6) When a child is placed in a qualified residential
328 treatment program, the case plan must include documentation
329 outlining the most recent assessment for a qualified residential
330 treatment program, the date of the most recent placement in a
331 qualified residential treatment program, the treatment or
332 service needs of the child, and preparation for the child to
333 return home or be in an out-of-home placement. If a child is
334 placed in a qualified residential treatment program for longer
335 than the timeframes described in s. 409.16765, a copy of the
336 signed approval of such placement by the department must be
337 included in the case plan.
338 Section 6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
339 39.6221, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
340 39.6221 Permanent guardianship of a dependent child.—
341 (1) If a court determines that reunification or adoption is
342 not in the best interest of the child, the court may place the
343 child in a permanent guardianship with a relative or other adult
344 approved by the court if all of the following conditions are
346 (a) The child has been in the placement for not less than
347 the preceding 6 months, or the preceding 3 months if the
348 caregiver has been named as the successor guardian on the
349 child’s Guardianship Assistance Agreement.
350 Section 7. Paragraph (a) of subsection (4) of section
351 39.6251, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
352 39.6251 Continuing care for young adults.—
353 (4)(a) The young adult must reside in a supervised living
354 environment that is approved by the department or a community
355 based care lead agency. The young adult shall live
356 independently, but in an environment in which he or she is
357 provided supervision, case management, and supportive services
358 by the department or lead agency. Such an environment must offer
359 developmentally appropriate freedom and responsibility to
360 prepare the young adult for adulthood. For the purposes of this
361 subsection, a supervised living arrangement may include a
362 licensed foster home, licensed group home, college dormitory,
363 shared housing, apartment, or another housing arrangement if the
364 arrangement is approved by the community-based care lead agency
365 and is acceptable to the young adult. A young adult may continue
366 to reside with the same licensed foster family or group care
367 provider with whom he or she was residing at the time he or she
368 reached the age of 18 years. A supervised living arrangement may
369 not include detention facilities, forestry camps, training
370 schools, or any other facility operated primarily for the
371 detention of children or young adults who are determined to be
372 delinquent. A young adult may not reside in any setting in which
373 the young adult is involuntarily placed.
374 Section 8. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
375 61.30, Florida Statutes, is amended, and paragraph (d) is added
376 to that subsection, to read:
377 61.30 Child support guidelines; retroactive child support.—
378 (1)(a) The child support guideline amount as determined by
379 this section presumptively establishes the amount the trier of
380 fact shall order as child support in an initial proceeding for
381 such support or in a proceeding for modification of an existing
382 order for such support, whether the proceeding arises under this
383 or another chapter, except as provided in paragraph (d). The
384 trier of fact may order payment of child support which varies,
385 plus or minus 5 percent, from the guideline amount, after
386 considering all relevant factors, including the needs of the
387 child or children, age, station in life, standard of living, and
388 the financial status and ability of each parent. The trier of
389 fact may order payment of child support in an amount which
390 varies more than 5 percent from such guideline amount only upon
391 a written finding explaining why ordering payment of such
392 guideline amount would be unjust or inappropriate.
393 Notwithstanding the variance limitations of this section, the
394 trier of fact shall order payment of child support which varies
395 from the guideline amount as provided in paragraph (11)(b)
396 whenever any of the children are required by court order or
397 mediation agreement to spend a substantial amount of time with
398 either parent. This requirement applies to any living
399 arrangement, whether temporary or permanent.
400 (d) In a proceeding under chapter 39, if the child is in an
401 out-of-home placement, the presumptively correct amount of
402 periodic support is 10 percent of the obligor’s actual or
403 imputed gross income. The court may deviate from this
404 presumption as provided in paragraph (a).
405 Section 9. Paragraph (e) of subsection (2) and paragraph
406 (f) of subsection (4) of section 409.145, Florida Statutes, are
407 amended, and a new paragraph (h) is added to subsection (4) of
408 that section, to read:
409 409.145 Care of children; quality parenting; “reasonable
410 and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the
411 department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system
412 of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster
413 care to provide quality parenting, including approving or
414 disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the
415 caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent”
417 (2) QUALITY PARENTING.—A child in foster care shall be
418 placed only with a caregiver who has the ability to care for the
419 child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care,
420 and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the
421 child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or
422 psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and
423 family relationships. The department, the community-based care
424 lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver
425 with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver
426 in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care
427 for a particular child.
428 (e) Employees caregivers employed by residential group
429 homes.—All employees, including persons who do not work directly
430 with children, of a residential group home must meet the
431 background screening requirements under s. 39.0138 and the level
432 2 standards for screening under chapter 435. All caregivers in
433 residential group homes must shall meet, at a minimum, the same
434 education and , training , and background and other screening
435 requirements as foster parents.
436 (4) FOSTER CARE ROOM AND BOARD RATES.—
437 (f) Excluding level I family foster homes, the amount of
438 the monthly foster care room and board rate may be increased
439 upon agreement among the department, the community-based care
440 lead agency, and the foster parent.
441 (h) All room and board rate increases, excluding increases
442 under paragraph (b), must be outlined in a written agreement
443 between the department and the community-based care lead agency.
444 Section 10. Section 409.1676, Florida Statutes, is
446 Section 11. Section 409.16765, Florida Statutes, is created
447 to read:
448 409.16765 Qualified residential treatment programs.—
449 (1) As used in this section, the term “qualified
450 residential treatment program” means a residential group home
451 environment that provides care for a child who has an emotional
452 disturbance or a serious emotional disturbance or mental
453 illness, as those terms are defined in s. 394.492.
454 (2) A qualified residential treatment program shall,
455 subject to available resources, meet the following requirements:
456 (a) Provide a safe and therapeutic environment tailored to
457 the needs of children with emotional or behavioral health
459 (b) Use a model of treatment that includes a strength-based
460 and trauma-informed approach.
461 (c) Be licensed as a residential child-caring agency as
462 defined in s. 409.175.
463 (d) Be accredited by an accrediting organization under s.
464 472(k)(4)(g) of the Social Security Act.
465 (e) Have available, 24 hours a day, registered or licensed
466 nursing and clinical staff based on the child’s treatment plan.
467 (f) Provide aftercare services or supports to all children
468 who are discharged from the program.
469 (3) The community-based care lead agency shall:
470 (a) Ensure each child who is placed in a qualified
471 residential treatment program receives a qualifying assessment,
472 as defined in s. 39.407, no later than 30 days after placement
473 in the program.
474 (b) Maintain documentation of a child’s placement in a
475 qualified residential treatment program as specified in s.
477 (c) Not place a child in a qualified residential treatment
478 program for more than 12 consecutive months or 18 nonconsecutive
479 months, or if the child is under the age of 13 years, for more
480 than 6 months, whether consecutive or nonconsecutive, without
481 the signed approval of the department for the continued
483 (4) The department shall adopt rules necessary to
484 administer this section.
485 Section 12. Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of section
486 409.1678, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
487 409.1678 Specialized residential options for children who
488 are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.—
489 (2) CERTIFICATION OF SAFE HOUSES AND SAFE FOSTER HOMES.—
490 (c) To be certified, a safe house must hold a license as a
491 residential child-caring agency, as defined in s. 409.175, and a
492 safe foster home must hold a license as a family foster home, as
493 defined in s. 409.175. A safe house or safe foster home must
495 1. Use strength-based and trauma-informed approaches to
496 care, to the extent possible and appropriate.
497 2. Serve exclusively one sex.
498 3. Group child victims of commercial sexual exploitation by
499 age or maturity level.
500 4. If a safe house, care for child victims of commercial
501 sexual exploitation in a manner that separates those children
502 from children with other needs. Safe houses and Safe foster
503 homes may care for other populations if the children who have
504 not experienced commercial sexual exploitation do not interact
505 with children who have experienced commercial sexual
507 5. Have awake staff members on duty 24 hours a day, if a
508 safe house.
509 6. Provide appropriate security through facility design,
510 hardware, technology, staffing, and siting, including, but not
511 limited to, external video monitoring or door exit alarms, a
512 high staff-to-client ratio, or being situated in a remote
513 location that is isolated from major transportation centers and
514 common trafficking areas.
515 7. Meet other criteria established by department rule,
516 which may include, but are not limited to, personnel
517 qualifications, staffing ratios, and types of services offered.
518 Section 13. Section 409.1679, Florida Statutes, is
520 Section 14. Paragraphs (l) and (m) of subsection (2) of
521 section 409.175, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
522 409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential
523 child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public
524 records exemption.—
525 (2) As used in this section, the term:
526 (l) “Residential child-caring agency” means any person,
527 corporation, or agency, public or private, other than the
528 child’s parent or legal guardian, that provides staffed 24-hour
529 care for children in facilities maintained for that purpose,
530 regardless of whether operated for profit or whether a fee is
531 charged. Such residential child-caring agencies include, but are
532 not limited to, maternity homes, runaway shelters, group homes
533 that are administered by an agency, emergency shelters that are
534 not in private residences, qualified residential treatment
535 programs as defined in s. 409.16765, human trafficking safe
536 houses as defined in s. 409.1678, at-risk homes, and wilderness
537 camps. Residential child-caring agencies do not include
538 hospitals, boarding schools, summer or recreation camps, nursing
539 homes, or facilities operated by a governmental agency for the
540 training, treatment, or secure care of delinquent youth, or
541 facilities licensed under s. 393.067 or s. 394.875 or chapter
543 (m) “Screening” means the act of assessing the background
544 of personnel or level II through level V family foster homes and
545 includes, but is not limited to, criminal history checks as
546 provided in s. 39.0138 and employment history checks as provided
547 in chapter 435, using the level 2 standards for screening set
548 forth in that chapter.
549 Section 15. Paragraph (a) of subsection (14) of section
550 39.301, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
551 39.301 Initiation of protective investigations.—
552 (14)(a) If the department or its agent determines that a
553 child requires immediate or long-term protection through medical
554 or other health care or homemaker care, day care, protective
555 supervision, or other services to stabilize the home
556 environment, including intensive family preservation services
557 through the Intensive Crisis Counseling Program, such services
558 shall first be offered for voluntary acceptance unless:
559 1. There are high-risk factors that may impact the ability
560 of the parents or legal custodians to exercise judgment. Such
561 factors may include the parents’ or legal custodians’ young age
562 or history of substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic
563 violence; or
564 2. There is a high likelihood of lack of compliance with
565 preventive voluntary services, and such noncompliance would
566 result in the child being unsafe.
567 Section 16. Paragraph (b) of subsection (7) of section
568 39.302, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
569 39.302 Protective investigations of institutional child
570 abuse, abandonment, or neglect.—
571 (7) When an investigation of institutional abuse, neglect,
572 or abandonment is closed and a person is not identified as a
573 caregiver responsible for the abuse, neglect, or abandonment
574 alleged in the report, the fact that the person is named in some
575 capacity in the report may not be used in any way to adversely
576 affect the interests of that person. This prohibition applies to
577 any use of the information in employment screening, licensing,
578 child placement, adoption, or any other decisions by a private
579 adoption agency or a state agency or its contracted providers.
580 (b) Likewise, if a person is employed as a caregiver in a
581 residential group home licensed under pursuant to s. 409.175 and
582 is named in any capacity in three or more reports within a 5
583 year period, the department may review all reports for the
584 purposes of the employment screening required under s.
585 409.175(2)(m) pursuant to s. 409.145(2)(e).
586 Section 17. Subsection (15) of section 39.402, Florida
587 Statutes, is amended to read:
588 39.402 Placement in a shelter.—
589 (15) The department, at the conclusion of the shelter
590 hearing, shall make available to parents or legal custodians
591 seeking preventive voluntary services any referral information
592 necessary for participation in such identified services to allow
593 the parents or legal custodians to begin the services as soon as
594 possible. The parents’ or legal custodians’ participation in the
595 services may not be considered an admission or other
596 acknowledgment of the allegations in the shelter petition.
597 Section 18. Paragraph (d) of subsection (3) of section
598 39.501, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
599 39.501 Petition for dependency.—
601 (d) The petitioner must state in the petition, if known,
603 1. A parent or legal custodian named in the petition has
604 previously unsuccessfully participated in preventive voluntary
605 services offered by the department;
606 2. A parent or legal custodian named in the petition has
607 participated in mediation and whether a mediation agreement
609 3. A parent or legal custodian has rejected the preventive
610 voluntary services offered by the department;
611 4. A parent or legal custodian named in the petition has
612 not fully complied with a safety plan; or
613 5. The department has determined that preventive voluntary
614 services are not appropriate for the parent or legal custodian
615 and the reasons for such determination.
617 If the department is the petitioner, it shall provide all safety
618 plans as defined in s. 39.01 involving the parent or legal
619 custodian to the court.
620 Section 19. Subsection (8) of section 39.6013, Florida
621 Statutes, is amended to read:
622 39.6013 Case plan amendments.—
623 (8) Amendments must include service interventions that are
624 the least intrusive into the life of the parent and child, must
625 focus on clearly defined objectives, and must provide the most
626 efficient path to quick reunification or permanent placement
627 given the circumstances of the case and the child’s need for
628 safe and proper care. A copy of the amended plan must be
629 immediately given to the persons identified in s. 39.6011(8)(c)
630 s. 39.6011(7)(c).
631 Section 20. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.