Florida Senate - 2019 CS for SB 1432 By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and Senator Baxley 586-04038-19 20191432c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to foster parents; creating s. 3 39.4087, F.S.; providing a short title; providing 4 legislative intent; creating a bill of rights for 5 foster parents; providing for mediation; requiring the 6 Department of Children and Families to adopt rules; 7 providing an effective date. 8 9 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 10 11 Section 1. Section 39.4087, Florida Statutes, is created to 12 read: 13 39.4087 Bill of rights for foster parents.— 14 (1) SHORT TITLE.—This act may be cited as the “Foster 15 Parent Bill of Rights.” 16 (2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—The Legislature finds that foster 17 parents providing care for children who are in the custody of 18 the department play an integral, indispensable, and vital role 19 in the state’s effort to care for dependent children displaced 20 from their homes. The Legislature further finds that it is in 21 the best interest of the state’s child welfare system to 22 acknowledge foster parents as active and participating members 23 of this system and to support them through a bill of rights for 24 foster parents who care for children in the custody of the 25 department through direct approval and placement by the 26 department. 27 (3) BILL OF RIGHTS.—To the extent not otherwise prohibited 28 by general law, the department shall implement each of the 29 following policies. With respect to the placement of any foster 30 child with a foster parent that is contracted directly with the 31 department, or through an agency that contracts with the 32 department to place children in foster care: 33 (a) The department shall treat a foster parent with 34 dignity, respect, and trust, and shall consider a foster parent 35 as a member of the professional team caring for foster children. 36 (b) The department shall provide a foster parent with a 37 clear explanation and understanding of the role of the 38 department and the role of the members of the child’s birth 39 family. 40 (c) A foster parent may continue his or her own family 41 values and routines. 42 (d) A foster parent shall be provided training and support 43 for the purposes of improving skills in providing daily care, 44 meeting the special needs of the child in foster care, and 45 having a better understanding of the rights and responsibilities 46 of the foster parent. 47 (e) Before the placement of a child in foster care, the 48 department shall inform the foster parent of issues relative to 49 the child that may jeopardize the health and safety of the 50 foster family or alter the manner in which foster care should be 51 administered. 52 (f) The department shall fully disclose to the foster 53 parent any information regarding past or pending charges of 54 delinquency as a juvenile; criminal charges, if charged as an 55 adult; and previous hospitalizations, whether due to mental or 56 physical issues, of the foster child. 57 (g) The department shall provide a means by which the 58 foster parent can contact the department 24 hours a day, 7 days 59 a week for the purpose of receiving assistance. 60 (h) The department shall provide the foster parent timely 61 and adequate financial reimbursement. 62 (i) The department shall provide a clear, written 63 explanation of the plan concerning the placement of a child in 64 the foster parent’s home. For emergency placements, the 65 department shall provide such explanation as soon as reasonably 66 possible. 67 (j) Before placement in a foster home, unless there is the 68 need for an emergency placement, the department shall allow the 69 foster parent to review written information concerning the child 70 and allow the foster parent to assist in determining if the 71 prospective foster family is the proper placement for the child. 72 (k) The department shall allow the foster parent to refuse 73 placement in his or her home, or to request, upon reasonable 74 notice to the department, the removal of a child from his or her 75 home for good reason, without threat of reprisal, unless 76 otherwise stipulated by contract or policy. 77 (l) The department shall inform a foster parent of 78 decisions made by the court or the licensed child-placing agency 79 concerning the child. 80 (m) The department shall allow the foster parent to 81 communicate with any person who works directly with the foster 82 child, such as therapists, physicians, and teachers, with 83 written consent of the person. 84 (n) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, a foster parent has 85 the right to full disclosure of all medical, psychological, and 86 behavioral issues of the child in his or her care. The 87 department shall provide all information regarding the child and 88 the child’s family background and health history in a timely 89 manner to the foster parent. 90 (o) The department shall provide timely written 91 notification of changes to the case plan or termination of the 92 placement, and the reasons for the changes or termination of 93 placement. 94 (p) The department shall notify the foster parent of all 95 court hearings and any meeting pertaining to the child in his or 96 her care at least 7 days before such hearing or meeting. The 97 foster parent is permitted to attend such hearings or meetings 98 at the discretion of the court. 99 (q) The department shall provide, upon request by the 100 foster parent, information regarding the child’s progress after 101 a child leaves foster care, to the extent the department is in 102 possession of such information at the time of the request. 103 (r) The department shall take into consideration whether a 104 foster family is an appropriate permanent placement for the 105 child, if the child has been in the foster family’s care for 12 106 months or longer. 107 (s) The department shall consider a former foster family as 108 a placement option when a foster child reenters foster care. 109 (t) A foster parent may take a period of respite where the 110 department may not place foster children within the home upon 111 reasonable notice to the department. 112 (u) A foster parent may submit factually based written 113 statements relevant to the case to the court, as provided by 114 law. 115 (4) MEDIATION.—The department shall provide a foster parent 116 with information regarding the department’s mediation policy. A 117 foster parent may file for mediation upon a violation of this 118 section. 119 (5) RULES.—The department shall adopt rules to implement 120 this section. 121 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.