Florida Senate - 2012                          SENATOR AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 434
                                Barcode 965684                          
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                Floor: 2/AD/2R         .                                
             01/10/2012 03:30 PM       .                                

       Senator Rich moved the following:
    1         Senate Amendment 
    3         Delete lines 232 - 259
    4  and insert:
    5         (1) PURPOSE AND INTENT.—
    6         (a) The Legislature acknowledges that safety, permanency,
    7  and well-being are critical goals for all children, especially
    8  for those in care, and that well-being depends on receiving a
    9  quality education, being provided with comprehensive health care
   10  and developing a permanent connection to a supportive adult. The
   11  Legislature finds that well-being also depends on each child in
   12  care being engaged in a broad range of the usual activities of
   13  family, school, and community life during adolescence that will
   14  help to empower the child in his or her transition into
   15  adulthood and in living independently.
   16         (b)The Legislature recognizes that education and the other
   17  positive experiences of a child are key to a successful future
   18  as an adult and that it is particularly important for a child in
   19  care to be provided with opportunities to succeed. The
   20  Legislature intends that individuals and communities become
   21  involved in the education of a child in care, address issues
   22  that will improve the educational outcomes for the child, and
   23  find ways to ensure that the child values and receives a high
   24  quality education. Many professionals in the local community
   25  understand these issues, and it is the intent of the Legislature
   26  that biological parents, caregivers, educators, advocates, the
   27  department and its community-based care providers, guardians ad
   28  litem, and judges, in fulfilling their responsibilities to the
   29  child, work together to ensure that an older child in care has
   30  access to the same academic resources, services, and
   31  extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to
   32  all children. The Legislature intends for education services to
   33  be delivered in an age-appropriate and developmentally
   34  appropriate manner, along with modifications or accommodations
   35  as may be necessary to include every child, specifically
   36  including a child with a disability.
   37         (c) The legislature also recognizes that there are many
   38  challenges and barriers to providing comprehensive health care
   39  for children in care. These include the extensive and complex
   40  health care needs of children in care and the lack of a
   41  coordinated health care system to meet those needs. The
   42  Legislature finds that challenges within the child welfare
   43  system include the frequency of placement changes that many
   44  children experience in while in care, lack of medical history
   45  information, and the poor integration of health care plans and
   46  permanency plans. Challenges within the health care system are
   47  primarily related to insufficient service capacity and a lack of
   48  qualified providers, especially mental health providers and
   49  dentists, who have experience with and are willing to serve
   50  children in care. The Legislature intends that every child in
   51  care be provided with appropriate, adequate and comprehensive
   52  health care.
   53         (d) The Legislature finds that while it is important to
   54  provide children with independent living skills, those skills
   55  must be built upon a foundation of permanent connections to
   56  family and other supportive adults. Children must have a
   57  permanent connection with at least one committed adult who
   58  provides a safe, stable, and secure parenting relationship;
   59  love, unconditional commitment, and lifelong support; and a
   60  legal relationship, if possible. The Legislature recognizes the
   61  need to focus more broadly on creating permanent family
   62  relationships and connections for, and with, children in care
   63  and intends that no child leaves care without a lifelong
   64  connection to a supportive adult
   65         (e) It is further the intent of the Legislature that while
   66  services to prepare a child for life on his or her own are
   67  important, these services will not diminish efforts to achieve
   68  permanency goals of reunification, adoption, or permanent
   69  guardianship.