Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 998
       By Senator Book
       32-00589A-18                                           2018998__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to child-placing agencies; amending s.
    3         409.175, F.S.; requiring the Department of Children
    4         and Families to adopt or amend licensing rules for
    5         child-placing agencies to include specific
    6         requirements to prevent the separation of siblings;
    7         providing an effective date.
    9  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   11         Section 1. Paragraphs (a), (b), and (d) of subsection (5)
   12  of section 409.175, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   13         409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential
   14  child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public
   15  records exemption.—
   16         (5)(a) The department shall adopt and amend licensing rules
   17  for family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, and
   18  child-placing agencies. The department may also adopt rules
   19  relating to the screening requirements for summer day camps and
   20  summer 24-hour camps. The requirements for licensure and
   21  operation of family foster homes, residential child-caring
   22  agencies, and child-placing agencies shall include:
   23         1. The operation, conduct, and maintenance of these homes
   24  and agencies and the responsibility which they assume for
   25  children served and the evidence of need for that service.
   26         2. The provision of food, clothing, educational
   27  opportunities, services, equipment, and individual supplies to
   28  assure the healthy physical, emotional, and mental development
   29  of the children served.
   30         3. The appropriateness, safety, cleanliness, and general
   31  adequacy of the premises, including fire prevention and health
   32  standards, to provide for the physical comfort, care, and well
   33  being of the children served.
   34         4. The ratio of staff to children required to provide
   35  adequate care and supervision of the children served and, in the
   36  case of foster homes, the maximum number of children in the
   37  home.
   38         5. The good moral character based upon screening,
   39  education, training, and experience requirements for personnel.
   40         6. The department may grant exemptions from
   41  disqualification from working with children or the
   42  developmentally disabled as provided in s. 435.07.
   43         6.7. The provision of preservice and inservice training for
   44  all foster parents and agency staff.
   45         7.8. Satisfactory evidence of financial ability to provide
   46  care for the children in compliance with licensing requirements.
   47         8.9. The maintenance by the agency of records pertaining to
   48  admission, progress, health, and discharge of children served,
   49  including written case plans and reports to the department.
   50         9.10. The provision for parental involvement to encourage
   51  preservation and strengthening of a child’s relationship with
   52  the family.
   53         10.11. The transportation safety of children served.
   54         11.12. The provisions for safeguarding the cultural,
   55  religious, and ethnic values of a child.
   56         12.13. Provisions to safeguard the legal rights of children
   57  served.
   58         (b) The requirements for the licensure and operation of a
   59  child-placing agency shall also include:
   60         1. Compliance with the requirements of ss. 63.0422 and
   61  790.335; and
   62         2. The following provisions to prevent the separation of
   63  siblings:
   64         a. Siblings must be placed in the same home whenever
   65  possible. If it is not possible to place the siblings in the
   66  same home, siblings may be placed on the same campus. All
   67  efforts to place the siblings in the same home must be
   68  documented in each child’s record.
   69         b. If a foster home is not able to accept all siblings, the
   70  siblings must be placed in residential care. Siblings who are
   71  placed in residential care and who are stable must remain in
   72  such residential care until permanency can be attained.
   73         (d) When adopting In promulgating licensing rules pursuant
   74  to this section, the department may make distinctions among
   75  types of care; numbers of children served; and the physical,
   76  mental, emotional, and educational needs of the children to be
   77  served by a home or agency.
   78         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.