Florida Senate - 2017 CS for CS for CS for SB 200 By the Committees on Rules; Judiciary; and Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and Senators Passidomo and Torres 595-04437-17 2017200c3 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to temporary respite care for a child; 3 creating s. 409.1761, F.S.; providing legislative 4 findings; providing definitions; authorizing qualified 5 nonprofit organizations to establish programs to 6 provide temporary respite care for children; providing 7 duties and recordkeeping requirements for such 8 organizations; providing screening requirements for 9 certain persons; requiring notification to the 10 Department of Children and Families under certain 11 circumstances; authorizing a volunteer respite family 12 to enter into a contract for care to provide temporary 13 respite care for a child; specifying the duration of a 14 contract for care; specifying the form and execution 15 of the contract; specifying that a parent may revoke 16 or withdraw the contract for care at any time; 17 requiring the child to be returned immediately to the 18 custody of the parent if the contract is revoked or 19 withdrawn; specifying that the contract expires after 20 a specified timeframe; prohibiting the contract from 21 operating to deprive a parent of certain authority or 22 from superseding certain court orders; providing 23 notification requirements; providing applicability; 24 providing an effective date. 25 26 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 27 28 Section 1. Section 409.1761, Florida Statutes, is created 29 to read: 30 409.1761 Organizations providing temporary respite care for 31 children not in the child welfare system.—The Legislature finds 32 that in circumstances in which a parent of a minor child is 33 temporarily unable to provide care for the child, but does not 34 need the full support of the child welfare system, a less 35 intrusive alternative to supervision by the department or 36 involvement by the judiciary should be available. 37 (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term: 38 (a) “Parent” means the parent or parents who are required 39 to sign the contract for care under subsection (4). 40 (b) “Qualified association” means an association that 41 publishes minimum best practice standards for operating a 42 qualified nonprofit organization and establishes and requires 43 compliance with those best practice standards. 44 (c) “Qualified nonprofit organization” or “organization” 45 means a private Florida nonprofit organization that: 46 1. Is in compliance with the best practice standards of a 47 qualified association. 48 2. Assists parents by providing temporary respite care for 49 children through the use of volunteer respite families who are 50 under a contract for care. 51 3. Provides assistance and support to parents and training 52 and support for volunteer respite families. 53 (d) “Temporary respite care” means care provided to a child 54 by a volunteer respite family in its home for a period of time 55 not to exceed 90 days in order to provide temporary relief to 56 parents who are unable to care for a child. 57 (e) “Volunteer respite family” means an individual or a 58 family that voluntarily agrees to provide, without compensation, 59 temporary care for up to 90 days for a child under a contract 60 for care with the child’s parent with the assistance of a 61 qualified nonprofit organization. 62 (2) ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PROGRAM.—A qualified nonprofit 63 organization may establish a program that assists parents in 64 providing temporary respite care for a child by a volunteer 65 respite family. 66 (a) A child is eligible for the program if he or she: 67 1. Has not been removed from his or her parent due to abuse 68 or neglect and placed in the custody of the department; 69 2. Is not the subject of an ongoing department 70 investigation of abuse, abandonment, or neglect; 71 3. Has not been the subject of a verified report of abuse, 72 abandonment, or neglect; or 73 4. Is not the subject of an open court in-home dependency 74 case and under protective supervision of the department. 75 (b) The department may refer a child to an organization’s 76 program if the department determines that the needs of the child 77 or the needs of the child’s parent do not require an out-of-home 78 safety plan pursuant to s. 39.301(9) or other formal involvement 79 of the department and that the child and the child’s family may 80 benefit from the temporary respite care and services provided by 81 the organization. 82 (3) DUTIES OF A QUALIFIED NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION.—A 83 qualified nonprofit organization that provides temporary respite 84 care to children under this section shall: 85 (a) Establish its program under an agreement or 86 certification with a qualified association. 87 (b) Verify that the department has conducted background 88 screenings using the level 2 standards for screening under s. 89 409.175 and chapter 435 of the following persons before such 90 persons have contact with a child: 91 1. Employees of the organization who will have direct 92 contact with children while assisting parents in providing 93 temporary respite care. 94 2. Members of the volunteer respite family and persons 95 residing in the volunteer respite home who are 12 years of age 96 or older. However, members of a volunteer respite family and 97 persons residing in the volunteer respite home who are between 98 the ages of 12 years and 18 years are not required to be 99 fingerprinted but must be screened for delinquency records. 100 (c) Conduct a home study, a home safety assessment and 101 complete a home safety checklist approved by the qualifying 102 association of all prospective volunteer respite families to 103 ensure that the family and home meet basic safety standards for 104 the care of children. 105 (d) Train all volunteer respite families. The training must 106 include: 107 1. A discussion of the rights, duties, and limitations in 108 providing temporary respite care for a child; 109 2. An overview of program processes, including intake 110 triage processes; 111 3. Working with third-party service providers, including 112 schools and medical professionals; 113 4. General safety requirements, including the prevention of 114 sudden unexpected death syndrome, proper supervision of 115 children, and water and pool safety; 116 5. Instruction on appropriate and constructive disciplinary 117 practices, including the prohibition of physical punishment and 118 discipline that is severe, humiliating, or frightening, or is 119 associated with the deprivation of food, rest, or toileting; 120 6. Abuse and maltreatment reporting requirements, including 121 proper cooperation with the department; 122 7. Confidentiality; and 123 8. Building a healthy relationship with a child’s parent. 124 (e) Be solely responsible for ongoing supervision of each 125 child placed with a volunteer respite family. 126 (f) Maintain records on each volunteer respite family and 127 child served, including, but not limited to: 128 1. The name and age of the child; 129 2. The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and 130 other contact information for the child’s parent; 131 3. The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and 132 other contact information for the child’s volunteer respite 133 family; 134 4. A copy of the contract for care executed pursuant to 135 this section; and 136 5. Proof that the volunteer respite family has met all the 137 personnel screening requirements conducted by the department 138 under this section. 139 (g) Provide all of the following information to the 140 department on an annual basis: 141 1. The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and 142 other contact information of the organization. 143 2. The name of the organization’s director. 144 3. The names and addresses of the officers and members of 145 the governing body. 146 4. The total number of volunteer respite families currently 147 working with the organization and the total number of children 148 who were provided temporary respite care in the previous fiscal 149 year. 150 5. A copy of its agreement or certification with a 151 qualified association for the purpose of providing volunteer 152 respite services pursuant to this section. 153 (h) Provide the qualified association with data and other 154 information as required by the qualified association to 155 demonstrate that the qualified nonprofit organization is in 156 substantial compliance with the minimum best practice standards 157 published by the qualified association. 158 (i) Immediately notify the department of any suspected or 159 confirmed incident of abuse, neglect, or other maltreatment of a 160 child while in the care of a volunteer respite family. 161 (j) Make available at any time to the department or 162 qualified association for inspection all records relating to the 163 program and children cared for by the organization’s volunteer 164 respite families to ensure compliance with this section and 165 standards established by the association with which the 166 organization is affiliated. 167 (4) CONTRACT FOR CARE.—Before a volunteer respite family 168 cares for a child, there must be a written contract for care as 169 provided in this subsection. The contract for care may not 170 exceed 90 days in duration and may be extended only for one 90 171 day period. 172 (a) The contract must be executed before a volunteer 173 respite family cares for a child. Under a contract for care, the 174 parent may delegate to the volunteer respite family any of the 175 powers regarding the care and custody of the child, except the 176 power to consent to the marriage or adoption of the child, the 177 performance or inducement of an abortion on the child, or the 178 termination of parental rights regarding the child. 179 Authorization for the volunteer respite family to consent to 180 routine and emergency medical care on behalf of the parent may 181 be granted only upon the separate consent of the parent pursuant 182 to s. 743.0645. The contract for care must at a minimum be 183 signed by: 184 1. The parent or both parents if both parents are living 185 and have shared responsibility and timesharing of the child 186 pursuant to law or a court order, except in a situation of 187 urgent need. A “situation of urgent need” is defined as a 188 sudden, unexpected, or impending situation in which the 189 qualified nonprofit organization reasonably believes that urgent 190 action is needed to prevent a worsening of the situation in 191 order to protect the health, safety, and best interests of the 192 child. If the parents do not have shared parental responsibility 193 and timesharing of the child, the parent having sole parental 194 responsibility has the authority to enter the contract for care. 195 The qualified nonprofit organization shall make reasonable 196 efforts to determine if there is a parent without parental 197 responsibility and timesharing having rights to the child. The 198 organization shall obtain last known contact information for 199 that parent and contact that parent via telephone at the time of 200 placement. The qualified nonprofit organization must document 201 all attempts to contact that parent. If the parent without 202 parental responsibility and timesharing cannot be located or 203 reached at the time of placement, the qualified nonprofit 204 organization may place the child with a volunteer respite 205 family, but shall assist the parent having sole parental 206 responsibility with notifying the other parent and timesharing 207 in writing of the placement. Such notification must be provided 208 by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the parent 209 without parental responsibility and timesharing at his or her 210 last known address within 5 days after the contract for care is 211 signed. Notification to a parent whose parental rights have been 212 terminated is not required. 213 2. All members of the volunteer respite family who are 18 214 years of age or older. 215 3. The representative of the organization who assisted with 216 the child’s placement with the volunteer respite family. 217 4. Two subscribing witnesses. 218 (b) The contract for care must include: 219 1. A statement that the contract does not deprive the 220 parent of any parental or legal authority regarding the care and 221 custody of the child or supersede a court order regarding the 222 care and custody of the child. 223 2. A statement that the contract may be revoked or 224 withdrawn at any time by the parent and that custody of the 225 child shall be returned to the parent as soon as reasonably 226 possible. 227 3. The basic services and accommodations provided by the 228 volunteer respite family and organization. 229 4. Identification of the child, the parent, and the members 230 of the volunteer respite family, including contact information 231 for all parties. 232 5. Identification of the organization, including contact 233 information for the organization and the representative who 234 assisted with the child’s placement. 235 6. A statement regarding disciplinary procedures that are 236 used by the volunteer respite family and expectations regarding 237 interactions between the volunteer respite family and the child. 238 The statement must identify the child’s known behavioral or 239 emotional issues and how such issues are addressed by the 240 child’s parent. 241 7. A statement of the minimum expected frequency of contact 242 between the parent and the child, expectations for the volunteer 243 respite family to facilitate any reasonable request for contact 244 with the child outside of the established schedule, and the 245 minimum expected frequency of contact between the parent and the 246 volunteer respite family to discuss the child’s well-being and 247 health. 248 8. A statement regarding the child’s educational needs, 249 including the name and address of the child’s school and the 250 names of the child’s teachers. 251 9. A list of extracurricular, religious, or community 252 activities and programs in which the child participates. 253 10. A list of any special dietary or nutritional 254 requirements of the child. 255 11. A description of the child’s medical needs, including 256 any diagnoses, allergies, therapies, treatments, or medications 257 prescribed to the child and the expectations for the volunteer 258 respite family to address such medical needs. 259 12. A statement that the volunteer respite family agrees to 260 act in the best interests of the child and to consider all 261 reasonable wishes and expectations of the parent concerning the 262 care and comfort of the child. 263 13. A statement that all appropriate members of the 264 volunteer respite family have successfully met the personnel 265 screening requirements pursuant to paragraph (3)(b). 266 14. An expiration date for each contract for care. 267 15. A statement that the goal of the organization, 268 volunteer respite family, and parent is to return the child 269 receiving temporary respite care to the parent as soon as the 270 situation requiring such care has been resolved. 271 16. A requirement that the volunteer respite family 272 immediately notify the parent of the child’s need for medical 273 care. 274 (c) The parent may revoke or withdraw the contract for care 275 at any time, and the child shall be returned immediately to the 276 custody of the parent. A contract for care executed under this 277 section may not exceed 90 days in duration, may only be extended 278 for one 90-day period, and may not operate to deprive a parent 279 of any parental or legal authority regarding the care and 280 custody of the child or supersede a court order regarding the 281 care and custody of the child. 282 (5) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.—Any organization that is 283 registered with a qualified association shall immediately notify 284 the department if it has in its care: 285 (a) A child with a serious developmental disability or a 286 physical, emotional, or mental handicap for which the 287 organization is not qualified or able to provide care; or 288 (b) A child who has not been returned to a parent when the 289 contract expires. 290 (6) APPLICABILITY.—Placement of a child under this section 291 without additional evidence does not constitute abandonment, 292 abuse, or neglect, as defined in s. 39.01, and is not considered 293 to be placement of the child in foster care. However, this 294 section does not prevent the department or a law enforcement 295 agency from investigating allegations of abandonment, abuse, 296 neglect, unlawful desertion of a child, or human trafficking. 297 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.