Florida Senate - 2021 CS for SB 122 By the Committee on Appropriations; and Senators Baxley, Garcia, Albritton, and Harrell 576-04427-21 2021122c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to surrendered newborn infants; 3 amending s. 383.50, F.S.; revising the definition of 4 the term “newborn infant”; amending s. 63.0423, F.S.; 5 making conforming and technical changes; providing an 6 effective date. 7 8 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 9 10 Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 383.50, Florida 11 Statutes, is amended to read: 12 383.50 Treatment of surrendered newborn infant.— 13 (1) As used in this section, the term “newborn infant” 14 means a child who a licensed physician reasonably believes is 15 approximately 30
7days old or younger at the time the child is 16 left at a hospital, an emergency medical services station, or a 17 fire station. 18 Section 2. Section 63.0423, Florida Statutes, is amended to 19 read: 20 63.0423 Procedures with respect to surrendered newborn 21 infants.— 22 (1) Upon entry of final judgment terminating parental 23 rights, a licensed child-placing agency that takes physical 24 custody of a newborn aninfant surrendered at a hospital, an 25 emergency medical services station, or a fire station pursuant 26 to s. 383.50 assumes responsibility for the medical and other 27 costs associated with the emergency services and care of the 28 surrendered newborn infant from the time the licensed child 29 placing agency takes physical custody of the surrendered newborn 30 infant. 31 (2) The licensed child-placing agency shall immediately 32 seek an order from the circuit court for emergency custody of 33 the surrendered newborn infant. The emergency custody order 34 shall remain in effect until the court orders preliminary 35 approval of placement of the surrendered newborn infant in the 36 prospective home, at which time the prospective adoptive parents 37 become guardians pending termination of parental rights and 38 finalization of adoption or until the court orders otherwise. 39 The guardianship of the prospective adoptive parents shall 40 remain subject to the right of the licensed child-placing agency 41 to remove the surrendered newborn infant from the placement 42 during the pendency of the proceedings if such removal is deemed 43 by the licensed child-placing agency to be in the best interests 44 of the child. The licensed child-placing agency may immediately 45 seek to place the surrendered newborn infant in a prospective 46 adoptive home. 47 (3) The licensed child-placing agency that takes physical 48 custody of the surrendered newborn infant shall, within 24 hours 49 thereafter, request assistance from law enforcement officials to 50 investigate and determine, through the Missing Children 51 Information Clearinghouse, the National Center for Missing and 52 Exploited Children, and any other national and state resources, 53 whether the surrendered newborn infant is a missing child. 54 (4) The parent who surrenders the newborn infant in 55 accordance with s. 383.50 is presumed to have consented to 56 termination of parental rights, and express consent is not 57 required. Except when there is actual or suspected child abuse 58 or neglect, the licensed child-placing agency shall not attempt 59 to pursue, search for, or notify that parent as provided in s. 60 63.088 and chapter 49. For purposes of s. 383.50 and this 61 section, a surrendered newborn aninfant who tests positive for 62 illegal drugs, narcotic prescription drugs, alcohol, or other 63 substances, but shows no other signs of child abuse or neglect, 64 shall be placed in the custody of a licensed child-placing 65 agency. Such a placement does not eliminate the reporting 66 requirement under s. 383.50(7). When the department is contacted 67 regarding a newborn aninfant properly surrendered under this 68 section and s. 383.50, the department shall provide instruction 69 to contact a licensed child-placing agency and may not take 70 custody of the newborn infant unless reasonable efforts to 71 contact a licensed child-placing agency to accept the newborn 72 infant have not been successful. 73 (5) A petition for termination of parental rights under 74 this section may not be filed until 30 days after the date the 75 newborn infant was surrendered in accordance with s. 383.50. A 76 petition for termination of parental rights may not be granted 77 until a parent has failed to reclaim or claim the surrendered 78 newborn infant within the time period specified in s. 383.50. 79 (6) A claim of parental rights of the surrendered newborn 80 infant must be made to the entity having legal custody of the 81 surrendered newborn infant or to the circuit court before which 82 proceedings involving the surrendered newborn infant are 83 pending. A claim of parental rights of the surrendered newborn 84 infant may not be made after the judgment to terminate parental 85 rights is entered, except as otherwise provided by subsection 86 (9). 87 (7) If a claim of parental rights of a surrendered newborn 88 infant is made before the judgment to terminate parental rights 89 is entered, the circuit court may hold the action for 90 termination of parental rights in abeyance for a period of time 91 not to exceed 60 days. 92 (a) The court may order scientific testing to determine 93 maternity or paternity at the expense of the parent claiming 94 parental rights. 95 (b) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the 96 surrendered newborn infant and order whatever investigation, 97 home evaluation, and psychological evaluation are necessary to 98 determine what is in the best interests of the surrendered 99 newborn infant. 100 (c) The court may not terminate parental rights solely on 101 the basis that the parent left the newborn infant at a hospital, 102 an emergency medical services station, or a fire station in 103 accordance with s. 383.50. 104 (d) The court shall enter a judgment with written findings 105 of fact and conclusions of law. 106 (8) Within 7 business days after recording the judgment, 107 the clerk of the court shall mail a copy of the judgment to the 108 department, the petitioner, and any person whose consent was 109 required, if known. The clerk shall execute a certificate of 110 each mailing. 111 (9)(a) A judgment terminating parental rights of a 112 surrendered newborn infant pending adoption is voidable, and any 113 later judgment of adoption of that child minoris voidable, if, 114 upon the motion of a parent, the court finds that a person 115 knowingly gave false information that prevented the parent from 116 timely making known his or her desire to assume parental 117 responsibilities toward the child minoror from exercising his 118 or her parental rights. A motion under this subsection must be 119 filed with the court originally entering the judgment. The 120 motion must be filed within a reasonable time but not later than 121 1 year after the entry of the judgment terminating parental 122 rights. 123 (b) No later than 30 days after the filing of a motion 124 under this subsection, the court shall conduct a preliminary 125 hearing to determine what contact, if any, will be allowed 126 permittedbetween a parent and the child pending resolution of 127 the motion. Such contact may be allowed only if it is requested 128 by a parent who has appeared at the hearing and the court 129 determines that it is in the best interests of the child. If the 130 court orders contact between a parent and the child, the order 131 must be issued in writing as expeditiously as possible and must 132 state with specificity any provisions regarding contact with 133 persons other than those with whom the child resides. 134 (c) The court may not order scientific testing to determine 135 the paternity or maternity of the child minoruntil such time as 136 the court determines that a previously entered judgment 137 terminating the parental rights of that parent is voidable 138 pursuant to paragraph (a), unless all parties agree that such 139 testing is in the best interests of the child. Upon the filing 140 of test results establishing that person’s maternity or 141 paternity of the surrendered newborn infant, the court may order 142 visitation only if it appears to be in the best interests of the 143 child. 144 (d) Within 45 days after the preliminary hearing, the court 145 shall conduct a final hearing on the motion to set aside the 146 judgment and shall enter its written order as expeditiously as 147 possible thereafter. 148 (10) Except to the extent expressly provided in this 149 section, proceedings initiated by a licensed child-placing 150 agency for the termination of parental rights and subsequent 151 adoption of a newborn infant left at a hospital, an emergency 152 medical services station, or a fire station in accordance with 153 s. 383.50 shall be conducted pursuant to this chapter. 154 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.