Florida Senate - 2015                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 940
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                  Comm: RCS            .                                
                  03/12/2015           .                                

       The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs (Detert)
       recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Section 39.523, Florida Statutes, is amended to
    6  read:
    7         39.523 Placement in residential group care.—
    8         (1) Except as provided in s. 39.407, any dependent child 11
    9  years of age or older who has been in licensed family foster
   10  care for 6 months or longer and who is then moved more than once
   11  and who is a child with extraordinary needs as defined in s.
   12  409.1676 must be assessed for placement in licensed residential
   13  group care. The assessment procedures shall be conducted by the
   14  department or its agent and shall incorporate and address
   15  current and historical information from any psychological
   16  testing or evaluation that has occurred; current and historical
   17  information from the guardian ad litem, if one has been
   18  assigned; current and historical information from any current
   19  therapist, teacher, or other professional who has knowledge of
   20  the child and has worked with the child; information regarding
   21  the placement of any siblings of the child and the impact of the
   22  child’s placement in residential group care on the child’s
   23  siblings; the circumstances necessitating the moves of the child
   24  while in family foster care and the recommendations of the
   25  former foster families, if available; the status of the child’s
   26  case plan and a determination as to the impact of placing the
   27  child in residential group care on the goals of the case plan;
   28  the age, maturity, and desires of the child concerning
   29  placement; the availability of any less restrictive, more
   30  family-like setting for the child in which the foster parents
   31  have the necessary training and skills for providing a suitable
   32  placement for the child; and any other information concerning
   33  the availability of suitable residential group care. If such
   34  placement is determined to be appropriate as a result of this
   35  procedure, the child must be placed in residential group care,
   36  if available.
   37         (2) The results of the assessment described in subsection
   38  (1) and the actions taken as a result of the assessment must be
   39  included in the next judicial review of the child. At each
   40  subsequent judicial review, the court must be advised in writing
   41  of the status of the child’s placement, with special reference
   42  regarding the stability of the placement and the permanency
   43  planning for the child.
   44         (3) Any residential group care facility that receives
   45  children under the provisions of this subsection shall establish
   46  special permanency teams dedicated to overcoming the special
   47  permanency challenges presented by this population of children.
   48  Each facility shall report to the department its success in
   49  achieving permanency for children placed by the department in
   50  its care at intervals that allow the current information to be
   51  provided to the court at each judicial review for the child.
   52         (4) This section does not prohibit the department from
   53  assessing and placing children who do not meet the criteria in
   54  subsection (1) in residential group care if such placement is
   55  the most appropriate placement for such children.
   56         (5)(a) By December 1 of each year, the department shall
   57  report to the Legislature on the placement of children in
   58  licensed residential group care during the year, including the
   59  criteria used to determine the placement of children, the number
   60  of children who were evaluated for placement, the number of
   61  children who were placed based upon the evaluation, and the
   62  number of children who were not placed. The department shall
   63  maintain data specifying the number of children who were
   64  referred to licensed residential child care for whom placement
   65  was unavailable and the counties in which such placement was
   66  unavailable. The department shall include this data in its
   67  report to the Legislature due on December 1, so that the
   68  Legislature may consider this information in developing the
   69  General Appropriations Act.
   70         (b) As part of the report required in paragraph (a), the
   71  department shall also provide a detailed account of the
   72  expenditures incurred for “Special Categories: Grants and Aids
   73  Specialized Residential Group Care Services” for the fiscal year
   74  immediately preceding the date of the report. This section of
   75  the report must include whatever supporting data is necessary to
   76  demonstrate full compliance with paragraph (6)(c). The document
   77  must present the information by district and must specify, at a
   78  minimum, the number of additional beds, the average rate per
   79  bed, the number of additional persons served, and a description
   80  of the enhanced and expanded services provided.
   81         (6)(a) The provisions of this section shall be implemented
   82  to the extent of available appropriations contained in the
   83  annual General Appropriations Act for such purpose.
   84         (b) Each year, funds included in the General Appropriations
   85  Act for Enhanced Residential Group Care as provided for in s.
   86  409.1676 shall be appropriated in a separately identified
   87  special category that is designated in the act as “Special
   88  Categories: Grants and Aids—Specialized Residential Group Care
   89  Services.”
   90         (c) Each fiscal year, all funding increases for Enhanced
   91  Residential Group Care as provided in s. 409.1676 which are
   92  included in the General Appropriations Act shall be appropriated
   93  in a lump-sum category as defined in s. 216.011(1)(aa). In
   94  accordance with s. 216.181(6)(a), the Executive Office of the
   95  Governor shall require the department to submit a spending plan
   96  that identifies the residential group care bed capacity shortage
   97  throughout the state and proposes a distribution formula by
   98  district which addresses the reported deficiencies. The spending
   99  plan must have as its first priority the reduction or
  100  elimination of any bed shortage identified and must also provide
  101  for program enhancements to ensure that residential group care
  102  programs meet a minimum level of expected performance and
  103  provide for expansion of the comprehensive residential group
  104  care services described in s. 409.1676. Annual appropriation
  105  increases appropriated in the lump-sum appropriation must be
  106  used in accordance with the provisions of the spending plan.
  107         (d) Funds from “Special Categories: Grants and Aids
  108  Specialized Residential Group Care Services” may be used as one
  109  time startup funding for residential group care purposes that
  110  include, but are not limited to, remodeling or renovation of
  111  existing facilities, construction costs, leasing costs, purchase
  112  of equipment and furniture, site development, and other
  113  necessary and reasonable costs associated with the startup of
  114  facilities or programs upon the recommendation of the lead
  115  community-based provider if one exists and upon specific
  116  approval of the terms and conditions by the secretary of the
  117  department.
  118         Section 2. Section 409.144, Florida Statutes, is created to
  119  read:
  120         409.144Continuum of care; residential group home care.—
  122         (a)The Legislature finds that children in out-of-home care
  123  should live in their communities in home-based family care
  124  settings and that the need to recruit, train, and support an
  125  adequate number of families to provide home-based family care is
  126  an essential part of any initiative to reform out-of-home care
  127  for children.
  128         (b)The Legislature also finds that children who initially
  129  cannot be safely placed in home-based family care may be still
  130  placed into residential group home care, but for only the
  131  minimum time required for stabilization and with specific short
  132  time-limited plans for their care. When needed, residential
  133  group home care should be considered a short-term, specialized,
  134  and intensive intervention that is just one part of a continuum
  135  of care available for children.
  136         (c)The Legislature further finds that, once stabilized,
  137  most children should transition from residential group home care
  138  into home-based family care with their services following them.
  139         (d)Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to
  140  support an effort to reform the current system of using
  141  residential group home care that reflects current research
  142  findings and the appropriate place of residential group home
  143  care in the child welfare system continuum of care. It is
  144  further the intent of the Legislature that the reform effort
  145  provides for improved assessments of children and families to
  146  make more informed and appropriate initial placement decisions,
  147  an emphasis on home-based family care placements for children,
  148  appropriate support for those placements with available
  149  services, a change in goals for residential group home care
  150  placements, and increased transparency and accountability for
  151  child outcomes.
  152         (2)DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.—The department shall collect
  153  and compile data and information necessary to inform the
  154  development of a work plan to be used by the Continuum of Care
  155  Advisory Council created in subsection (3) to address the
  156  placement and services needs of children who are cared for in
  157  out-of-home care. At a minimum, the collected and compiled data
  158  and information must include current data and information
  159  related to all of the following:
  160         (a)Methods of assessing children coming into care for
  161  their initial placement.
  162         (b)Definitions and characteristics of types of placements
  163  in use.
  164         (c)Service needs of children in out-of-home care.
  165         (d)Program design and quality standards.
  166         (e)Licensing categories and accreditation requirements for
  167  types of out-of-home placements.
  168         (f)Rates and procedures used for payment rate setting.
  169         (g)Outcomes, outcome indicators and performance measures.
  170         (h)Impact of existing performance measures.
  171         (i)Mechanisms that ensure continuous quality improvement
  172  and transition strategies from group care to other levels of
  173  care.
  174         (3)CONTINUUM OF CARE ADVISORY COUNCIL.The Continuum of
  175  Care Advisory Council is created within the department for the
  176  purpose of recommending a plan to address the placement and
  177  service needs of children who are cared for outside their own
  178  homes by creating a continuum of care which consists of
  179  recruiting, training, and supporting an adequate supply of home
  180  based family care; providing needed services and supports in
  181  those family care settings; and limiting congregate care to only
  182  those situations in which adequate services cannot be safely
  183  provided while a child lives with a family, and for only the
  184  minimum amount of time required for stabilization. The work of
  185  the advisory council shall be conducted in collaboration with
  186  the primary stakeholders and shall be based on empirical
  187  research and best practices data. The process must include
  188  gathering research data, holding public meetings, and entering
  189  into partnerships with academia and other stakeholders to
  190  complete the task. The advisory council shall function as
  191  specified in this subsection until the Legislature determines
  192  that the advisory council can no longer provide a valuable
  193  contribution to the department’s efforts to create a continuum
  194  of care.
  195         (a) The 25 members of the advisory council must be
  196  appointed in the following manner:
  197         1.Three members from the headquarters and regional offices
  198  of the department, to be appointed by the secretary.
  199         2.One member with recognized expertise in developmental
  200  psychology, to be appointed by the secretary.
  201         3.One member with expertise in children’s mental health,
  202  to be appointed by the secretary.
  203         4.One member with expertise in children’s health issues,
  204  to be appointed by the secretary.
  205         5.One member who is an economist with expertise in
  206  behavioral economics, to be appointed by the secretary.
  207         6.Two members from the community-based care lead agencies,
  208  one from the lead agency with the lowest rate and one from the
  209  lead agency with the highest rate of residential group home
  210  placement, to be appointed by the secretary.
  211         7.One member with experience working with children with
  212  special needs in residential group home settings, to be
  213  appointed by the secretary.
  214         8.Two members who are foster parents, to be appointed by
  215  the executive director of the Florida State Foster/Adoptive
  216  Parent Association.
  217         9.Two members who are kinship caregivers, to be appointed
  218  by the secretary.
  219         10.One member from the Quality Parenting Initiative, to be
  220  appointed by the secretary.
  221         11.Three members who are residential group home providers,
  222  representing different models of residential group home care and
  223  who are involved in daily operation of the facilities, to be
  224  appointed by the secretary.
  225         12.Two members from Florida Youth SHINE, to be appointed
  226  by the secretary.
  227         13.One member from Florida’s Children First, to be
  228  appointed by the secretary.
  229         14.One member from the Agency for Persons with
  230  Disabilities, to be appointed by the director of the agency.
  231         15.One member from the Department of Juvenile Justice, to
  232  be appointed by the Secretary of Juvenile Justice.
  233         16.One member from the Department of Education, to be
  234  appointed by the Commissioner of Education.
  235         17.One member from the Florida Institute for Child
  236  Welfare, to be appointed by the secretary.
  237         (b)The advisory council is encouraged to work with any
  238  additional individuals who are knowledgeable in the subject
  239  areas; however, those additional individuals may not become
  240  members of the council and may not vote on the final report and
  241  recommendations of the council, but may submit reports and
  242  recommendations for review by the council and may be invited to
  243  speak to the council by a member of the council.
  244         (c)Nongovernmental members of the advisory council shall
  245  serve without compensation but are entitled to receive per diem
  246  and travel expenses in accordance with s. 112.061 while in
  247  performance of their duties.
  248         (d)The advisory council shall propose a timeline and work
  249  plan for reform and an estimate of associated costs and shall
  250  submit the proposal and estimate of costs to the Governor, the
  251  President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
  252  Representatives by December 31, 2016. At a minimum, the proposal
  253  must consider the following:
  254         1.The impact of group care on children based on their age
  255  and history based on an impartial compilation of research
  256  related to residential group care.
  257         2.Criteria for admission to residential group care and the
  258  types of assessments that should be performed to determine
  259  whether the admission criteria are being met and who should
  260  perform the assessments.
  261         3. Policies and procedures needed to ensure that placement
  262  in a residential group care is appropriate for each specific
  263  child and lasts only as long as necessary to resolve the issue
  264  that required the placement.
  265         4.Services that are currently available for children in
  266  group placements and the types of services that could be
  267  provided to eliminate the need for group care.
  268         5.The need to develop a classification system for group
  269  care.
  270         6.Requirements needed in plans for children in group care
  271  to transition to family placement.
  272         7.The role of state licensing in determining the quality
  273  of care and the need for a new licensing category or categories
  274  to better meet the needs of the children in out-of-home care.
  275         8.The value of requiring group home accreditation by a
  276  national accrediting body.
  277         9.The need to plan for any change in federal funding for
  278  long-term residential group care.
  279         10.Current practices related to the use of residential
  280  group home care in order to develop a framework that can be used
  281  to transition residential group homes into short-term,
  282  specialized, and intensive treatment providers used for the
  283  minority of children who cannot safely be served in home-based
  284  family care settings.
  285         11.Age limitations that should be placed on group care
  286  based on developmental research.
  287         12.Comparison of cost of group care placement and family
  288  based care, and what economic and other incentives exist for
  289  placement of children in group care.
  290         13.Alternate funding mechanisms for children placed in
  291  residential group home care.
  292         14.Adjustments to funding to encourage placement in home
  293  based family care settings.
  294         15.Standards that should be in effect to ensure that group
  295  home staff has adequate training, experience, and supervision to
  296  provide therapeutic care to children and youth in the
  297  facilities.
  298         (e)The department shall provide administrative support to
  299  the advisory council to accomplish its assigned tasks. The
  300  advisory council shall have access to all appropriate data from
  301  the department, each community-based care lead agency, and other
  302  relevant agencies in order to accomplish the tasks set forth in
  303  this section. The data collected by the advisory council may not
  304  include information that would identify a specific child or
  305  young adult.
  306         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.
  307  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  308  And the title is amended as follows:
  309         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  310  and insert:
  311                        A bill to be entitled                      
  312         An act relating to continuum of care for children;
  313         amending s. 39.523, F.S.; removing a requirement that
  314         the Department of Children and Families submit a
  315         report annually to the Legislature on the placement of
  316         children in licensed residential group care; removing
  317         a provision requiring the department to provide a
  318         detailed account of certain expenditures; removing
  319         provisions regarding implementation and specified
  320         annual funding; creating s. 409.144, F.S.; providing
  321         legislative findings and intent; requiring the
  322         department to collect and compile specified data and
  323         information; creating the Continuum of Care Advisory
  324         Council within the department for specified purposes;
  325         providing duties of the council; requiring the members
  326         of the advisory council to be appointed in specified
  327         manners; authorizing the advisory council to work with
  328         certain individuals and providing limitations on the
  329         involvement of those individuals; providing per diem
  330         and travel expenses for certain members; requiring the
  331         advisory council to submit specified information to
  332         the Governor and the Legislature by a certain date;
  333         requiring the department to provide administrative
  334         support to the advisory council; requiring that the
  335         advisory council have access to specified information;
  336         prohibiting certain data from including information
  337         that would identify specific individuals; providing an
  338         effective date.