2004 Florida Statutes
Sheriffs of certain counties to provide child protective investigative services; procedures; funding.
(1) As described in this section, the Department of Children and Family Services shall, by the end of fiscal year 1999-2000, transfer all responsibility for child protective investigations for Pinellas County, Manatee County, Broward County, and Pasco County to the sheriff of that county in which the child abuse, neglect, or abandonment is alleged to have occurred. Each sheriff is responsible for the provision of all child protective investigations in his or her county. Each individual who provides these services must complete the training provided to and required of protective investigators employed by the Department of Children and Family Services.
(2) During fiscal year 1998-1999, the Department of Children and Family Services and each sheriff's office shall enter into a contract for the provision of these services. Funding for the services will be appropriated to the Department of Children and Family Services, and the department shall transfer to the respective sheriffs for the duration of fiscal year 1998-1999, funding for the investigative responsibilities assumed by the sheriffs, including federal funds that the provider is eligible for and agrees to earn and that portion of general revenue funds which is currently associated with the services that are being furnished under contract, and including, but not limited to, funding for all investigative, supervisory, and clerical positions; training; all associated equipment; furnishings; and other fixed capital items. The contract must specify whether the department will continue to perform part or none of the child protective investigations during the initial year. The sheriffs may either conduct the investigations themselves or may, in turn, subcontract with law enforcement officials or with properly trained employees of private agencies to conduct investigations related to neglect cases only. If such a subcontract is awarded, the sheriff must take full responsibility for any safety decision made by the subcontractor and must immediately respond with law enforcement staff to any situation that requires removal of a child due to a condition that poses an immediate threat to the child's life. The contract must specify whether the services are to be performed by departmental employees or by persons determined by the sheriff. During this initial year, the department is responsible for quality assurance, and the department retains the responsibility for the performance of all child protective investigations. The department must identify any barriers to transferring the entire responsibility for child protective services to the sheriffs' offices and must pursue avenues for removing any such barriers by means including, but not limited to, applying for federal waivers. By January 15, 1999, the department shall submit to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the chairs of the Senate and House committees that oversee departmental activities a report that describes any remaining barriers, including any that pertain to funding and related administrative issues. Unless the Legislature, on the basis of that report or other pertinent information, acts to block a transfer of the entire responsibility for child protective investigations to the sheriffs' offices, the sheriffs of Pasco County, Manatee County, Broward County, and Pinellas County, beginning in fiscal year 1999-2000, shall assume the entire responsibility for such services, as provided in subsection (3).
(3)(a) Beginning in fiscal year 1999-2000, the sheriffs of Pasco County, Manatee County, Broward County, and Pinellas County have the responsibility to provide all child protective investigations in their respective counties. Beginning in fiscal year 2000-2001, the Department of Children and Family Services is authorized to enter into grant agreements with sheriffs of other counties to perform child protective investigations in their respective counties.
(b) The sheriffs shall operate, at a minimum, in accordance with the performance standards and outcome measures established by the Legislature for protective investigations conducted by the Department of Children and Family Services. Each individual who provides these services must complete, at a minimum, the training provided to and required of protective investigators employed by the Department of Children and Family Services.
(c) Funds for providing child protective investigations must be identified in the annual appropriation made to the Department of Children and Family Services, which shall award grants for the full amount identified to the respective sheriffs' offices. Notwithstanding the provisions of ss. 216.181(16)(b) and 216.351, the Department of Children and Family Services may advance payments to the sheriffs for child protective investigations. Funds for the child protective investigations may not be integrated into the sheriffs' regular budgets. Budgetary data and other data relating to the performance of child protective investigations must be maintained separately from all other records of the sheriffs' offices and reported to the Department of Children and Family Services as specified in the grant agreement.
(d) Program performance evaluation shall be based on criteria mutually agreed upon by the respective sheriffs and the Department of Children and Family Services. The program performance evaluation shall be conducted by a team of peer reviewers from the respective sheriffs' offices that perform child protective investigations and representatives from the department. The Department of Children and Family Services shall submit an annual report regarding quality performance, outcome-measure attainment, and cost efficiency to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and to the Governor no later than January 31 of each year the sheriffs are receiving general appropriations to provide child protective investigations.
History.--s. 2, ch. 98-180; ss. 12, 53, ch. 99-228; s. 3, ch. 2000-139; ss. 20, 66, ch. 2000-171; s. 13, ch. 2001-60.