(1) The department shall, upon receipt of a report alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, begin within 24 hours a protective investigation of the facts alleged therein. If a caregiver refuses to allow the department to begin a protective investigation or interferes with the conduct of such an investigation, the appropriate law enforcement agency shall be contacted for assistance. If, during the course of the investigation, the department has reason to believe that the abuse, neglect, or exploitation is perpetrated by a second party, the appropriate law enforcement agency and state attorney shall be orally notified. The department and the law enforcement agency shall cooperate to allow the criminal investigation to proceed concurrently with, and not be hindered by, the protective investigation. The department shall make a preliminary written report to the law enforcement agencies within 5 working days after the oral report. The department shall, within 24 hours after receipt of the report, notify the appropriate Florida local advocacy council, or the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, when appropriate, that an alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation perpetrated by a second party has occurred. Notice to the Florida local advocacy council or the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program may be accomplished orally or in writing and shall include the name and location of the vulnerable adult alleged to have been abused, neglected, or exploited and the nature of the report.
(2) Upon commencing an investigation, the protective investigator shall inform all of the vulnerable adults and alleged perpetrators named in the report of the following:
(a) The names of the investigators and identifying credentials from the department.
(b) The purpose of the investigation.
(c) That the victim, the victim’s guardian, the victim’s caregiver, and the alleged perpetrator, and legal counsel for any of those persons, have a right to a copy of the report at the conclusion of the investigation.
(d) The name and telephone number of the protective investigator’s supervisor available to answer questions.
(e) That each person has the right to obtain his or her own attorney.
Any person being interviewed by a protective investigator may be represented by an attorney, at the person’s own expense, or may choose to have another person present. The other person present may not be an alleged perpetrator in any report currently under investigation. Before participating in such interview, the other person present shall execute an agreement to comply with the confidentiality requirements of ss. 415.101-415.113. The absence of an attorney or other person does not prevent the department from proceeding with other aspects of the investigation, including interviews with other persons. In an investigative interview with a vulnerable adult, the protective investigator may conduct the interview with no other person present.
(3) For each report it receives, the department shall perform an onsite investigation to: (a) Determine that the person is a vulnerable adult as defined in s. 415.102. (b) Determine whether the person is a vulnerable adult in need of services, as defined in s. 415.102.
(c) Determine the composition of the family or household, including the name, address, date of birth, social security number, sex, and race of each person in the household.
(d) Determine whether there is an indication that a vulnerable adult is abused, neglected, or exploited.
(e) Determine the nature and extent of present or prior injuries, abuse, or neglect, and any evidence thereof.
(f) Determine, if possible, the person or persons apparently responsible for the abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including name, address, date of birth, social security number, sex, and race.
(g) Determine the immediate and long-term risk to each vulnerable adult through utilization of standardized risk assessment instruments.
(h) Determine the protective, treatment, and ameliorative services necessary to safeguard and ensure the vulnerable adult’s well-being and cause the delivery of those services.
(4) No later than 60 days after receiving the initial report, the designated protective investigative staff of the department shall complete the investigation and notify the guardian of the vulnerable adult, the vulnerable adult, and the caregiver of any recommendations of services to be provided to ameliorate the causes or effects of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
(5) Whenever the law enforcement agency and the department have conducted independent investigations, the law enforcement agency shall, within 5 working days after concluding its investigation, report its findings to the state attorney and to the department.
(6) Upon receipt of a report which alleges that an employee or agent of the department acting in an official capacity has committed an act of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the department shall commence, or cause to be commenced, a protective investigation and shall notify the state attorney in whose circuit the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation occurred.
(7) With respect to any case of reported abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, the department, when appropriate, shall transmit all relevant reports to the state attorney of the circuit where the incident occurred.
(8) Within 15 days after completion of the state attorney’s investigation of a case reported to him or her pursuant to this section, the state attorney shall report his or her findings to the department and shall include a determination of whether or not prosecution is justified and appropriate in view of the circumstances of the specific case.
(9) The department shall not use a warning, reprimand, or disciplinary action against an employee, found in that employee’s personnel records, as the sole basis for a finding of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.