HB 773

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to termination of parental rights;
3amending s. 39.401, F.S.; providing that only in cases
4involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of
5the child may a person take a child alleged to be
6dependant into custody; providing additional exceptions;
7amending s. 39.702, F.S.; requiring formation of citizen
8review panels and deleting a requirement that a citizen
9review panel be authorized through an administrative order
10by the chief judge of the circuit; authorizing citizen
11review panels to make recommendations in adjudicatory
12hearings or trials under a specified provision; amending
13s. 39.809, F.S.; providing for recommendations by citizen
14review panels in hearings or trials on petitions for
15termination of parental rights; limiting continuances;
16providing an exception; providing that hearings or trials
17involving termination of parental rights are open to the
18public; providing an exception; requiring that reports and
19recommended orders from citizen review panels accompany
20the written orders in certain proceedings; providing an
21effective date.
23Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
25     Section 1.  Subsection (1) of section 39.401, Florida
26Statutes, is amended to read:
27     39.401  Taking a child alleged to be dependent into
28custody; law enforcement officers and authorized agents of the
30     (1)  Only in cases involving an immediate threat to the
31health or safety of a child may a person, including a law
32enforcement officer, a duly authorized person, or any other
33officer of the court or of the state, take a child may only be
34taken into custody unless the child is taken into custody:
35     (a)  Pursuant to the provisions of this part, based upon
36sworn testimony, either before or after a petition is filed
37resulting in a court order issued after a finding of probable
38cause by the court authorizing taking a child into custody; or
39     (b)  By a law enforcement officer, or an authorized agent
40of the department, if the officer or authorized agent has
41probable cause resulting in a court order issued supporting to
42support a finding:
43     1.  That the child has been abused, neglected, or
44abandoned, or is suffering from or is in imminent danger of
45illness or injury as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment;
46     2.  That the parent or legal custodian of the child has
47materially violated a condition of placement imposed by the
48court; or
49     3.  That the child has no parent, legal custodian, or
50responsible adult relative immediately known and available to
51provide supervision and care.
52     Section 2.  Subsection (1) of section 39.702, Florida
53Statutes, is amended to read:
54     39.702  Citizen review panels.-
55     (1)  Citizen review panels shall may be established in each
56judicial circuit and shall be authorized by an administrative
57order executed by the chief judge of each circuit. The court
58shall administer an oath of office to each citizen review panel
59member which shall authorize the panel member to participate in
60citizen review panels and make recommendations to the court
61pursuant to the provisions of this section and s. 39.809.
62     Section 3.  Section 39.809, Florida Statutes, is amended to
64     39.809  Adjudicatory hearing or trial.-
65     (1)  In a hearing or trial on a petition for termination of
66parental rights, the court shall consider, assisted by a report
67and a recommended order from the citizen review panel, the
68elements required for termination. Each of these elements must
69be established by clear and convincing evidence before the
70petition is granted.
71     (2)  The adjudicatory hearing must be held within 120 45
72days after the advisory hearing, but reasonable continuances for
73the purpose of investigation, discovery, or procuring counsel or
74witnesses may, when necessary, be granted. Continuances may not
75extend beyond 1 year after the advisory hearing unless there are
76compelling reasons or extraordinary circumstances,
77notwithstanding s. 39.0136.
78     (3)  The adjudicatory hearing or trial must be conducted by
79the judge without a jury, unless a demand for a jury is made by
80either party, applying the rules of evidence in use in civil
81cases and adjourning the case from time to time as necessary.
82For purposes of the adjudicatory hearing or trial, to avoid
83unnecessary duplication of expense, the judge may consider in-
84court testimony previously given at any properly noticed
85hearing, without regard to the availability or unavailability of
86the witness at the time of the actual adjudicatory hearing or
87trial, if the recorded testimony itself is made available to the
88judge. Consideration of such testimony does not preclude the
89witness being subpoenaed to answer supplemental questions.
90     (4)  All hearings or trials involving termination of
91parental rights are open confidential and closed to the public,
92except upon the written motion to the court by the parents or
93guardian of the child or children who are the subject of the
94hearing or trial that it be made confidential and closed.
95Hearings or trials involving more than one child may be held
96simultaneously when the children involved are related to each
97other or were involved in the same case. The child and the
98parents may be examined separately and apart from each other.
99     (5)  The judge shall enter a written order with the
100findings of fact and conclusions of law. The report and
101recommended order from the citizen review panel must accompany
102the written order.
103     Section 4.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.