(1) Within funds appropriated, the department shall establish and supervise a program of emergency shelters, runaway shelters, foster homes, group homes, agency-operated group treatment homes, nonpsychiatric residential group care facilities, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, and other appropriate facilities to provide shelter and care for dependent children who must be placed away from their families. The department, in accordance with established goals, shall contract for the provision of such shelter and care by counties, municipalities, nonprofit corporations, and other entities capable of providing needed services if:
(a) The services so provided are available;
(b) The services so provided are more cost-effective than those provided by the department; and
(c) Unless otherwise provided by law, such providers of shelter and care are licensed by the department.
It is the legislative intent that the funds appropriated for the alternate care of children as described in this section may be used to meet the needs of children in their own homes or those of relatives if the children can be safely served in their own homes, or the homes of relatives, and the expenditure of funds in such manner is calculated by the department to be an eventual cost savings over placement of children.
(2) The department may cooperate with all child service institutions or agencies within the state which meet the rules for proper care and supervision prescribed by the department for the well-being of children.
(3) With the written consent of parents, custodians, or guardians, or in accordance with those provisions in chapter 39 that relate to dependent children, the department, under rules properly adopted, may place a child:
(a) With a relative;
(b) With an adult nonrelative approved by the court for long-term custody;
(c) With a person who is considering the adoption of a child in the manner provided for by law;
(d) When limited, except as provided in paragraph (b), to temporary emergency situations, with a responsible adult approved by the court;
(e) With a person or agency licensed by the department in accordance with s. 409.175; or (f) In a subsidized independent living situation, subject to the provisions of s. 409.1451(4)(c),
under such conditions as are determined to be for the best interests or the welfare of the child. Any child placed in an institution or in a family home by the department or its agency may be removed by the department or its agency, and such other disposition may be made as is for the best interest of the child, including transfer of the child to another institution, another home, or the home of the child. Expenditure of funds appropriated for out-of-home care can be used to meet the needs of a child in the child’s own home or the home of a relative if the child can be safely served in the child’s own home or that of a relative if placement can be avoided by the expenditure of such funds, and if the expenditure of such funds in this manner is calculated by the department to be a potential cost savings.