Florida Senate - 2015 SB 320 By Senator Gaetz 1-00809-15 2015320__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to adoption and foster care; creating 3 s. 409.1662, F.S.; providing the purpose of the 4 adoption incentive program; directing the Department 5 of Children and Families to establish an adoption 6 incentive program for certain agencies and 7 subcontractors; requiring that the department conduct 8 a comprehensive baseline assessment of lead agencies 9 and provider performance and compile annual data for 10 the most recent 5 years of available data; providing a 11 nonexclusive list of factors for the assessment to 12 identify; requiring that the department negotiate an 13 outcome-based agreement; requiring that several 14 factors be included in the agreement; requiring the 15 department to allocate incentive payments; creating s. 16 409.1664, F.S.; defining terms; providing certain 17 amounts payable to a qualifying adoptive employee who 18 adopts specified children under certain circumstances 19 subject to a specific appropriation to the department; 20 providing prorated payments for a part-time employee 21 and limiting the monetary benefit to one award per 22 child; requiring that a qualifying adoptive employee 23 apply to the agency head for the monetary benefit on 24 forms approved by the department and include a 25 certified copy of the final order of adoption; 26 providing that the rights offered by this act do not 27 preclude a qualifying adoptive employee who adopts a 28 special needs child to receive any other assistance or 29 incentive; requiring that parental leave for 30 qualifying adoptive employees be provided; requiring 31 the department to adopt rules; requiring the Chief 32 Financial Officer to submit payment to a qualifying 33 adoptive employee depending on where he or she works; 34 requiring state agencies to develop uniform procedures 35 for informing employees about this benefit and for 36 assisting the department in making eligibility 37 determinations and processing applications; creating 38 s. 409.1666, F.S.; requiring the Governor to annually 39 select and recognize certain individuals, families, or 40 organizations for adoption achievement awards; 41 requiring the department to define categories for the 42 achievement awards and seek nominations for potential 43 recipients; authorizing a direct-support organization 44 established by the Office of Adoption and Child 45 Protection to accept donations of products or services 46 from private sources to be given to the recipients of 47 the adoption achievement awards; providing an 48 effective date. 49 50 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 51 52 Section 1. Section 409.1662, Florida Statutes, is created 53 to read: 54 409.1662 Children within the child welfare system; adoption 55 incentive program.— 56 (1) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the adoption incentive program 57 is to advance the state’s achievement of permanency and 58 stability in living arrangements for children in foster care who 59 cannot be reunited with their families. The department shall 60 establish the adoption incentive program to award incentive 61 payment to community-based care lead agencies, as defined in s. 62 409.986, and their subcontractors that are involved in the 63 adoption process for achievement of specific and measureable 64 adoption performance standards. 65 (2) ADMINISTRATION OF THE PROGRAM.— 66 (a) The department shall conduct a comprehensive baseline 67 assessment of the performance of lead agencies and providers 68 related to adoption of children from foster care. The assessment 69 shall compile annual data for each of the most recent 5 years 70 for which data is available. At a minimum, the assessment shall 71 identify: 72 1. The number of families attempting to adopt children from 73 foster care and the number of families completing the adoption 74 process. 75 2. The number of children eligible for adoption and the 76 number of children whose adoptions were finalized. 77 3. The amount of time eligible children waited for 78 adoption. 79 4. The number of adoptions that resulted in disruption or 80 dissolution and the subset of those disrupted adoptions that 81 were preventable by the lead agency or the subcontracted 82 provider. 83 5. The time taken to complete each phase of the adoption 84 process. 85 6. The expenditures made to recruit adoptive homes and a 86 description of any initiative to improve adoption performance or 87 streamline the adoption process. 88 7. The results of any specific effort to gather feedback 89 from prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents. 90 (b) Using the information from the baseline assessment, the 91 department shall negotiate an outcome-based agreement with lead 92 agencies and their subcontracted providers that are involved in 93 the adoption process. The agreement shall establish measureable 94 outcome targets, define the method for measuring performance and 95 for determining the level of performance required to earn the 96 incentive payment, and the amount of the incentive payment which 97 may be earned for each target. The department shall update the 98 assessment annually. 99 (3) INCENTIVE PAYMENTS.— 100 (a) The department shall allocate incentive payments to 101 performance improvement targets in a manner that ensures that 102 total payments do not exceed the amount appropriated for this 103 purpose. 104 (b) The department shall ensure that the amount of the 105 incentive payments are proportionate to the value of the 106 performance improvement. 107 Section 2. Section 409.1664, Florida Statutes, is created 108 to read: 109 409.1664 Adoption benefits for qualifying adoptive 110 employees of state agencies.— 111 (1) As used in this section, the term: 112 (a) “Child within the child welfare system” has the same 113 meaning as in s. 409.166. 114 (b) “Qualifying adoptive employee” means a full-time or 115 part-time employee of a state agency who is paid from regular 116 salary appropriations, or otherwise meets the state agency 117 employer’s definition of a regular rather than temporary 118 employee, and who adopts a child within the child welfare system 119 pursuant to chapter 63. The term includes instructional 120 personnel, as defined in s. 1012.01, employed by the Florida 121 School for the Deaf and the Blind. 122 (c) “State agency” means a branch, department, or agency of 123 state government for which the Chief Financial Officer processes 124 payroll requisitions, a state university or Florida College 125 System institution as defined in s. 1000.21, a school district 126 unit as defined in s. 1001.30, or a water management district as 127 defined in s. 373.019. 128 (2) A qualifying adoptive employee that adopts a child 129 within the child welfare system who has additional special needs 130 as described in s. 409.166 is eligible to receive a lump-sum 131 monetary benefit in the amount of $10,000 per child within the 132 child welfare system, subject to applicable taxes. A qualifying 133 adoptive employee that adopts a child within the child welfare 134 system who has no additional special needs as described in s. 135 409.166 is eligible to receive a lump-sum monetary benefit in 136 the amount of $5,000 per child within the child welfare system, 137 subject to applicable taxes. 138 (a) Benefits paid to a qualifying adoptive employee who is 139 a part-time employee must be prorated based on the qualifying 140 adoptive employee’s full-time equivalency at the time of 141 applying for the benefits. 142 (b) Monetary benefits are limited to one award per adopted 143 child within the child welfare system. 144 (c) The payment of a lump-sum monetary benefit for adopting 145 a child within the child welfare system under this section is 146 subject to a specific appropriation to the department for such 147 purpose. 148 (3) A qualifying adoptive employee must apply to his or her 149 agency head to obtain the monetary benefit provided in 150 subsection (2). Applications must be on forms approved by the 151 department and must include a certified copy of the final order 152 of adoption naming the applicant as the adoptive parent. 153 (4) This section does not affect the right of any 154 qualifying adoptive employee who adopts a special needs child 155 that is not a child within the child welfare system to receive 156 adoption assistance under s. 409.166 or any other statute that 157 provides financial incentives for the adoption of children. 158 (5) Parental leave for a qualifying adoptive employee must 159 be provided in accordance with the personnel policies and 160 procedures of the employee’s state agency employer. 161 (6) The department shall adopt rules to administer this 162 section. The rules may provide for an application process such 163 as, but not limited to, an open enrollment period during which 164 qualifying adoptive employees may apply for monetary benefits 165 under this section. 166 (7) The Chief Financial Officer shall disburse a monetary 167 benefit to a qualifying adoptive employee upon the department’s 168 submission of a payroll requisition. The Chief Financial Officer 169 shall transfer funds from the department to a state university, 170 Florida College System institution, school district unit, or 171 water management district, as appropriate, to enable payment to 172 the qualifying adoptive employee through the payroll systems as 173 long as funds are available for such purpose. 174 (8) Each state agency shall develop a uniform procedure for 175 informing employees about this benefit and for assisting the 176 department in making eligibility determinations and processing 177 applications. Any procedure adopted by a state agency is valid 178 and enforceable if the procedure does not conflict with the 179 express terms of this section. 180 Section 3. Section 409.1666, Florida Statutes, is created 181 to read: 182 409.1666 Annual adoption achievement awards.—Each year, the 183 Governor shall select and recognize one or more individuals, 184 families, or organizations that make significant contributions 185 to enabling this state’s foster children to achieve permanency 186 through adoption. The department shall define appropriate 187 categories for the achievement awards and seek nominations for 188 potential recipients in each category from individuals and 189 organizations knowledgeable about foster care and adoption. 190 (1) The award shall recognize persons whose contributions 191 involve extraordinary effort or personal sacrifice in order to 192 provide caring and permanent homes for foster children. 193 (2) A direct-support organization established in accordance 194 with s. 39.0011 by the Office of Adoption and Child Protection 195 within the Executive Office of the Governor may accept donations 196 of products or services from private sources to be given to the 197 recipients of the adoption achievement awards. The direct 198 support organization may also provide suitable plaques, framed 199 certificates, pins, and other tokens of recognition. 200 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.