Florida Senate - 2013 (Corrected Copy) CS for SB 164
By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to children in foster care; creating
3 the “Quality-Parenting for Children in Foster Care
4 Act”; creating s. 39.409, F.S.; providing legislative
5 findings and intent; providing definitions;
6 establishing and providing for the application of a
7 “reasonable and prudent parent” standard; directing
8 the Department of Children and Families to adopt
9 rules; amending s. 39.522, F.S.; specifying that the
10 standard for reunification from “endangerment” to “the
11 best interest of the child” in certain circumstances;
12 amending s. 409.1451, F.S.; providing for the
13 application of the reasonable and prudent parent
14 standard to independent living transition services;
15 specifying that department rules must reflect the
16 considerations of the reasonable and prudent parent
17 standard; directing the department to adopt rules;
18 providing an effective date.
20 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
22 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Quality Parenting
23 for Children in Foster Care Act.”
24 Section 2. Section 39.409, Florida Statutes, is created to
26 39.409 Participation in childhood activities.-
27 (1) FINDINGS AND INTENT.—
28 (a) The Legislature finds that parents make important
29 decisions every day regarding their child’s participation in
30 activities and that caregivers of children in out-of-home care
31 are faced with making the same decisions for a child in their
33 (b) The Legislature also finds that when a caregiver makes
34 decisions, he or she must consider applicable laws and rules to
35 safeguard the health and safety of a child in his or her care
36 and that those laws and rules have been interpreted to prohibit
37 children in care from participating in extracurricular
39 (c) The Legislature further finds that participation in
40 extracurricular activities is important to the child’s well
41 being, both emotionally and in terms of developing valuable
42 life-coping skills.
43 (d) It is the intent of the Legislature to recognize the
44 importance of normalizing the lives of children in out-of-home
45 care and to empower caregivers to approve or disapprove a
46 child’s participation in activities without prior approval of
47 the department, the caseworker, or the court.
48 (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
49 (a) “Age-appropriate” means an activity or item that is
50 generally accepted as suitable for a child of the same
51 chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is
52 based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and
53 behavioral capacity which is typical for an age or age group.
54 (b) “Caregiver” means a person with whom the child is
55 placed in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group
56 care facility licensed by the department under s.409.175.
57 (c) “Reasonable and prudent parent standard” means the
58 standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to
59 allow a child in his or her care to participate in
60 extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This
61 standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental
62 decisionmaking that is intended to maintain a child’s health,
63 safety, and best interest while encouraging the child’s
64 emotional and developmental growth.
65 (3) APPLICATION OF STANDARD OF CARE.—
66 (a) Every child who comes into out-of-home care pursuant to
67 this chapter is entitled to participate in age-appropriate
68 extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
69 (b) Each caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent
70 parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a
71 child living in out-of-home care to participate in
72 extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. When using
73 the reasonable and prudent parent standard, the caregiver must
75 1. The child’s age, maturity, and developmental level to
76 maintain the overall health and safety of the child.
77 2. The potential risk factors and the appropriateness of
78 the extracurricular, enrichment, or social activity.
79 3. The best interest of the child, based on information
80 known by the caregiver.
81 4. The importance of encouraging the child’s emotional and
82 developmental growth.
83 5. The importance of providing the child with the most
84 family-like living experience possible.
85 6. The behavioral history of the child and the child’s
86 ability to safely participate in the proposed activity.
87 (c) The department and each community-based care lead
88 agency is required to verify that private agencies providing
89 out-of-home care services to dependent children have policies in
90 place that are consistent with this section and that these
91 agencies promote and protect the ability of dependent children
92 to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment,
93 and social activities.
94 (d) A caregiver is not liable for harm caused to a child
95 who participates in an activity approved by the caregiver,
96 provided that the caregiver has acted in accordance with the
97 reasonable and prudent parent standard. This paragraph may not
98 be interpreted as removing or limiting any existing liability
99 protection afforded by law.
100 (4) RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to
101 administer this section.
102 Section 3. Section 39.522, Florida Statutes, is amended to
104 39.522 Postdisposition relief; postdisposition change of
105 custody.—The court may change the temporary legal custody or the
106 conditions of protective supervision at a postdisposition
107 hearing, without the necessity of another adjudicatory hearing.
108 (1) A child who has been placed in the child’s own home
109 under the protective supervision of an authorized agent of the
110 department, in the home of a relative, in the home of a legal
111 custodian, or in some other place may be brought before the
112 court by the department or by any other interested person, upon
113 the filing of a petition alleging a need for a change in the
114 conditions of protective supervision or the placement. If the
115 parents or other legal custodians deny the need for a change,
116 the court must
shall hear all parties in person or by counsel,
117 or both. Upon the admission of a need for a change or after such
118 hearing, the court must shall enter an order changing the
119 placement, modifying the conditions of protective supervision,
120 or continuing the conditions of protective supervision as
121 ordered. The standard for changing custody of the child is shall
122 be the best interest of the child. When applying this standard,
123 the court must shall consider the continuity of the child’s
124 placement in the same out-of-home residence as a factor when
125 determining the best interests of the child. If the child is not
126 placed in foster care, then the new placement for the child must
127 meet the home study criteria and court approval pursuant to this
129 (2) In cases where the issue before the court is whether a
130 child should be reunited with a parent, and the child is
131 currently placed with someone other than a parent, the court
132 must shall determine whether the parent has substantially
133 complied with the terms of the case plan to the extent that the
134 safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and emotional health
135 of the child is not endangered by the return of the child to the
137 (3) In cases in which the issue before the court is whether
138 a child who has been placed in the custody of a parent from whom
139 the child was not removed should be reunited with the other
140 parent upon a finding of substantial compliance with the terms
141 of the case plan, the applicable standard is not endangerment,
142 but the best interest of the child.
143 Section 4. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) and subsection
144 (10) of section 409.1451, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
145 409.1451 Independent living transition services.—
146 (3) PREPARATION FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING.—
147 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature that for the
148 Department of Children and Families Family Services to assist
149 older children in foster care and young adults who exit foster
150 care at age 18 in making the transition to independent living
151 and self-sufficiency as adults. The department shall provide
152 such children and young adults with opportunities to participate
153 in life skills activities in their foster families and
154 communities which are reasonable and appropriate for their
155 respective ages or for any special needs they may have and shall
156 provide them with services to build life skills and increase
157 their ability to live independently and become self-sufficient.
158 To support the provision of opportunities for participation in
159 age-appropriate life skills activities, the department shall:
160 1. Develop a list of age-appropriate activities and
161 responsibilities to be offered to all children involved in
162 independent living transition services and their foster parents.
163 2. Provide training for staff and foster parents to address
164 the issues of older children in foster care in transitioning to
165 adulthood, which includes shall include information on high
166 school completion, grant applications, vocational school
167 opportunities, supporting education and employment
168 opportunities, and opportunities to participate in appropriate
169 daily activities.
170 3. Establish Develop procedures to maximize the authority
171 of foster parents, family foster homes, residential child-caring
172 agencies, or other authorized caregivers to approve
173 participation in age-appropriate activities of children in their
174 care in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent
175 standard established in s. 39.409. The age-appropriate
176 activities and the authority of the foster parent, family foster
177 home, residential child-caring agency, or caregiver shall be
178 developed into a written plan that the foster parent, family
179 foster home, residential child-caring agency, or caregiver, the
180 child, and the case manager all develop together, sign, and
181 follow. This plan must include specific goals and objectives and
182 be reviewed and updated no less than quarterly. Foster parents,
183 family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, or other
184 authorized caregivers who use the reasonable and prudent parent
185 standard in their decisionmaking are who have developed a
186 written plan as described in this subparagraph shall not be held
187 responsible under administrative rules or laws pertaining to
188 state licensure and or have their licensure status may not be in
189 any manner jeopardized as a result of the actions of a child
190 engaged in the approved age-appropriate activities specified in
191 the written plan. Goals and objectives for participation in
192 extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities, as well as
193 specific information on the child’s progress toward meeting
194 those objectives, must be incorporated into the agency’s written
195 judicial social study report and must be reviewed by the court
196 at each hearing conducted pursuant to s. 39.701.
197 4. Provide opportunities for older children in foster care
198 to interact with mentors.
199 5. Develop and implement procedures for older children to
200 directly access and manage the personal allowance they receive
201 from the department in order to learn responsibility and
202 participate in age-appropriate life skills activities to the
203 extent feasible.
204 6. Make a good faith effort to fully explain, before prior
205 to execution of any signature, if required, any document,
206 report, form, or other record, whether written or electronic,
207 presented to a child or young adult pursuant to this chapter and
208 allow for the recipient to ask any appropriate questions
209 necessary to fully understand the document. It is shall be the
210 responsibility of the person presenting the document to the
211 child or young adult to comply with this subparagraph.
212 (10) RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to by
213 rule procedures to administer this section. The rules must
214 provide , including balancing the goals of normalcy and safety
215 for the youth and providing the caregivers with as much
216 flexibility as possible to enable children in their care the
217 youth to participate in normal life experiences and must reflect
218 the considerations cited in s. 39.409(3)(b) in connection with
219 the reasonable and prudent parent standard established in that
220 section. The department shall engage in appropriate planning to
221 prevent, to the extent possible, a reduction in awards after
222 issuance. The department shall adopt rules to govern the
223 payments and conditions related to payments for services to
224 youth or young adults provided under this section.
225 Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.