Florida Senate - 2015                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 320
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  02/18/2015           .                                

       Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services
       (Richter) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Between lines 51 and 52
    4  insert:
    5         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
    6  39.0016, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
    7         39.0016 Education of abused, neglected, and abandoned
    8  children; agency agreements; children having or suspected of
    9  having a disability.—
   10         (2) AGENCY AGREEMENTS.—
   11         (b) The department shall enter into agreements with
   12  district school boards or other local educational entities
   13  regarding education and related services for children known to
   14  the department who are of school age and children known to the
   15  department who are younger than school age but who would
   16  otherwise qualify for services from the district school board.
   17  Such agreements shall include, but are not limited to:
   18         1. A requirement that the department shall:
   19         a. Ensure Enroll children known to the department are
   20  enrolled in school or in the best educational setting that meets
   21  the needs of the child. The agreement shall provide for
   22  continuing the enrollment of a child known to the department at
   23  the same school of origin when, if possible if it is in the best
   24  interest of the child, with the goal of minimal avoiding
   25  disruption of education.
   26         b. Notify the school and school district in which a child
   27  known to the department is enrolled of the name and phone number
   28  of the child known to the department caregiver and caseworker
   29  for child safety purposes.
   30         c. Establish a protocol for the department to share
   31  information about a child known to the department with the
   32  school district, consistent with the Family Educational Rights
   33  and Privacy Act, since the sharing of information will assist
   34  each agency in obtaining education and related services for the
   35  benefit of the child. The protocol must require the district
   36  school boards or other local educational entities to access the
   37  department’s Florida Safe Families Network to obtain information
   38  about children known to the department, consistent with the
   39  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. s.
   40  1232g.
   41         d. Notify the school district of the department’s case
   42  planning for a child known to the department, both at the time
   43  of plan development and plan review. Within the plan development
   44  or review process, the school district may provide information
   45  regarding the child known to the department if the school
   46  district deems it desirable and appropriate.
   47         e. Show no prejudice against out-of-home caregivers who
   48  desire to educate at home any children placed in their home
   49  through the child welfare system.
   50         2. A requirement that the district school board shall:
   51         a. Provide the department with a general listing of the
   52  services and information available from the district school
   53  board to facilitate educational access for a child known to the
   54  department.
   55         b. Identify all educational and other services provided by
   56  the school and school district which the school district
   57  believes are reasonably necessary to meet the educational needs
   58  of a child known to the department.
   59         c. Determine whether transportation is available for a
   60  child known to the department when such transportation will
   61  avoid a change in school assignment due to a change in
   62  residential placement. Recognizing that continued enrollment in
   63  the same school throughout the time the child known to the
   64  department is in out-of-home care is preferable unless
   65  enrollment in the same school would be unsafe or otherwise
   66  impractical, the department, the district school board, and the
   67  Department of Education shall assess the availability of
   68  federal, charitable, or grant funding for such transportation.
   69         d. Provide individualized student intervention or an
   70  individual educational plan when a determination has been made
   71  through legally appropriate criteria that intervention services
   72  are required. The intervention or individual educational plan
   73  must include strategies to enable the child known to the
   74  department to maximize the attainment of educational goals.
   75         3. A requirement that the department and the district
   76  school board shall cooperate in accessing the services and
   77  supports needed for a child known to the department who has or
   78  is suspected of having a disability to receive an appropriate
   79  education consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities
   80  Education Act and state implementing laws, rules, and
   81  assurances. Coordination of services for a child known to the
   82  department who has or is suspected of having a disability may
   83  include:
   84         a. Referral for screening.
   85         b. Sharing of evaluations between the school district and
   86  the department where appropriate.
   87         c. Provision of education and related services appropriate
   88  for the needs and abilities of the child known to the
   89  department.
   90         d. Coordination of services and plans between the school
   91  and the residential setting to avoid duplication or conflicting
   92  service plans.
   93         e. Appointment of a surrogate parent, consistent with the
   94  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and pursuant to
   95  subsection (3), for educational purposes for a child known to
   96  the department who qualifies.
   97         f. For each child known to the department 14 years of age
   98  and older, transition planning by the department and all
   99  providers, including the department’s independent living program
  100  staff, to meet the requirements of the local school district for
  101  educational purposes.
  102         Section 2. Subsection (2) of section 409.145, Florida
  103  Statutes, is amended to read:
  104         409.145 Care of children; quality parenting; “reasonable
  105  and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the
  106  department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system
  107  of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster
  108  care to provide quality parenting, including approving or
  109  disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the
  110  caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent”
  111  standard.
  112         (2) QUALITY PARENTING.—A child in foster care shall be
  113  placed only with a caregiver who has the ability to care for the
  114  child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care,
  115  and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the
  116  child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or
  117  psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and
  118  family relationships. The department, the community-based care
  119  lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver
  120  with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver
  121  in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care
  122  for a particular child.
  123         (a) Roles and responsibilities of caregivers.—A caregiver
  124  shall:
  125         1. Participate in developing the case plan for the child
  126  and his or her family and work with others involved in his or
  127  her care to implement this plan. This participation includes the
  128  caregiver’s involvement in all team meetings or court hearings
  129  related to the child’s care.
  130         2. Complete all training needed to improve skills in
  131  parenting a child who has experienced trauma due to neglect,
  132  abuse, or separation from home, to meet the child’s special
  133  needs, and to work effectively with child welfare agencies, the
  134  court, the schools, and other community and governmental
  135  agencies.
  136         3. Respect and support the child’s ties to members of his
  137  or her biological family and assist the child in maintaining
  138  allowable visitation and other forms of communication.
  139         4. Effectively advocate for the child in the caregiver’s
  140  care with the child welfare system, the court, and community
  141  agencies, including the school, child care, health and mental
  142  health providers, and employers.
  143         5. Participate fully in the child’s medical, psychological,
  144  and dental care as the caregiver would for his or her biological
  145  child.
  146         6. Support the child’s educational school success by
  147  participating in school activities and meetings associated with
  148  the child’s school or other educational setting, including
  149  Individual Education Plan meetings and meetings with an
  150  educational surrogate if one has been appointed, assisting with
  151  school assignments, supporting tutoring programs, meeting with
  152  teachers and working with an educational surrogate if one has
  153  been appointed, and encouraging the child’s participation in
  154  extracurricular activities.
  155         a.Maintaining educational stability for a child while in
  156  out-of-home care by allowing the child to remain in the school
  157  or educational setting he or she attended before entry into out
  158  of-home care is the first priority, unless it is not in the best
  159  interest of the child.
  160         b.If it is not in the best interest of the child to remain
  161  in his or her school or educational setting upon entry into out
  162  of-home care, the caregiver must work with the case manager,
  163  guardian ad litem, teachers and guidance counselors, and
  164  educational surrogate if one has been appointed, to determine
  165  the best educational setting for the child. Those settings may
  166  include a public school that is not the school of origin, a
  167  private school pursuant to s. 1002.42, virtual education
  168  programs pursuant to s. 1002.45, or education at home pursuant
  169  to s. 1002.41.
  170         7. Work in partnership with other stakeholders to obtain
  171  and maintain records that are important to the child’s well
  172  being, including child resource records, medical records, school
  173  records, photographs, and records of special events and
  174  achievements.
  175         8. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care who is
  176  between 13 and 17 years of age learns and masters independent
  177  living skills.
  178         9. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care is aware
  179  of the requirements and benefits of the Road-to-Independence
  180  Program.
  181         10. Work to enable the child in the caregiver’s care to
  182  establish and maintain naturally occurring mentoring
  183  relationships.
  184         (b) Roles and responsibilities of the department, the
  185  community-based care lead agency, and other agency staff.—The
  186  department, the community-based care lead agency, and other
  187  agency staff shall:
  188         1. Include a caregiver in the development and
  189  implementation of the case plan for the child and his or her
  190  family. The caregiver shall be authorized to participate in all
  191  team meetings or court hearings related to the child’s care and
  192  future plans. The caregiver’s participation shall be facilitated
  193  through timely notification, an inclusive process, and
  194  alternative methods for participation for a caregiver who cannot
  195  be physically present.
  196         2. Develop and make available to the caregiver the
  197  information, services, training, and support that the caregiver
  198  needs to improve his or her skills in parenting children who
  199  have experienced trauma due to neglect, abuse, or separation
  200  from home, to meet these children’s special needs, and to
  201  advocate effectively with child welfare agencies, the courts,
  202  schools, and other community and governmental agencies.
  203         3. Provide the caregiver with all information related to
  204  services and other benefits that are available to the child.
  205         4. Show no prejudice against a caregiver who desires to
  206  educate at home any children placed in his or her home through
  207  the child welfare system.
  208         (c) Transitions.—
  209         1. Once a caregiver accepts the responsibility of caring
  210  for a child, the child will be removed from the home of that
  211  caregiver only if:
  212         a. The caregiver is clearly unable to safely or legally
  213  care for the child;
  214         b. The child and his or her biological family are
  215  reunified;
  216         c. The child is being placed in a legally permanent home
  217  pursuant to the case plan or a court order; or
  218         d. The removal is demonstrably in the child’s best
  219  interest.
  220         2. In the absence of an emergency, if a child leaves the
  221  caregiver’s home for a reason provided under subparagraph 1.,
  222  the transition must be accomplished according to a plan that
  223  involves cooperation and sharing of information among all
  224  persons involved, respects the child’s developmental stage and
  225  psychological needs, ensures the child has all of his or her
  226  belongings, allows for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s
  227  home and, if possible, for continued contact with the caregiver
  228  after the child leaves.
  229         (d) Information sharing.—Whenever a foster home or
  230  residential group home assumes responsibility for the care of a
  231  child, the department and any additional providers shall make
  232  available to the caregiver as soon as is practicable all
  233  relevant information concerning the child. Records and
  234  information that are required to be shared with caregivers
  235  include, but are not limited to:
  236         1. Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric, and
  237  behavioral history, as well as ongoing evaluation or treatment
  238  needs;
  239         2. School records;
  240         3. Copies of his or her birth certificate and, if
  241  appropriate, immigration status documents;
  242         4. Consents signed by parents;
  243         5. Comprehensive behavioral assessments and other social
  244  assessments;
  245         6. Court orders;
  246         7. Visitation and case plans;
  247         8. Guardian ad litem reports;
  248         9. Staffing forms; and
  249         10. Judicial or citizen review panel reports and
  250  attachments filed with the court, except confidential medical,
  251  psychiatric, and psychological information regarding any party
  252  or participant other than the child.
  253         (e) Caregivers employed by residential group homes.—All
  254  caregivers in residential group homes shall meet the same
  255  education, training, and background and other screening
  256  requirements as foster parents.
  258  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  259  And the title is amended as follows:
  260         Delete line 2
  261  and insert:
  262         An act relating to adoption and foster care; amending
  263         s. 39.0016, F.S.; revising what the Department of
  264         Children and Families must do when required to enter
  265         into agreements with specified entities; amending s.
  266         409.145, F.S.; revising caregiver roles and
  267         responsibilities; revising the roles and
  268         responsibilities of the department, the community
  269         based care lead agency, and other agency staff;
  270         creating