Florida Senate - 2016                                    SB 7018
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs
       586-00943A-16                                         20167018__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to child welfare; amending s. 39.01,
    3         F.S.; defining a term; amending s. 39.013, F.S.;
    4         extending court jurisdiction to age 22 for young
    5         adults with disabilities in foster care; amending s.
    6         39.402, F.S.; revising information that the Department
    7         of Children and Families is required to inform the
    8         court of at shelter hearings; revising the written
    9         findings required to be included in an order for
   10         placement of a child in shelter care; amending s.
   11         39.521, F.S.; revising the required information a
   12         court must include in its written orders of
   13         disposition; amending s. 39.522, F.S.; providing
   14         conditions under which a child may be returned home
   15         with an in-home safety plan; amending s. 39.6011,
   16         F.S.; providing the purpose of a case plan; requiring
   17         a case plan to document that a preplacement plan has
   18         been provided and reasonable efforts have been made to
   19         prevent out-of-home placement; removing the
   20         prohibition of threatening or coercing a parent with
   21         the loss of custody or parental rights for failing to
   22         admit certain actions in a case plan; providing that a
   23         child must be given the opportunity to review, sign,
   24         and receive a copy of his or her case plan; providing
   25         additional requirements when the child attains a
   26         certain age; requiring the case plan to document that
   27         each parent has received additional written notices;
   28         amending s. 39.6012, F.S.; providing additional
   29         requirements for the department and criteria for a
   30         case plan, with regard to placement, permanency,
   31         education, health care, contact with family, extended
   32         family, and fictive kin, and independent living;
   33         amending s. 39.6035, F.S.; requiring court approval of
   34         a transition plan before the child’s 18th birthday;
   35         amending s. 39.621, F.S.; creating an exception to the
   36         order of preference for permanency goals under ch. 39,
   37         F.S., for maintaining and strengthening the placement;
   38         authorizing the new permanency goal to be used in
   39         specified circumstances; amending s. 39.701, F.S.;
   40         revising the information which must be included in a
   41         specified written report under certain circumstances;
   42         requiring a court, if possible, to order the
   43         department to file a written notification; creating s.
   44         409.142, F.S.; providing legislative findings and
   45         intent; defining the term “intervention services and
   46         supports”; requiring specified intervention services
   47         and supports; providing eligibility for such services
   48         and supports; providing requirements for the provision
   49         of services and supports; requiring community-based
   50         care lead agencies to submit a monitoring plan to the
   51         department by a certain date; requiring community
   52         based care lead agencies to annually collect and
   53         report specified information for each child to whom
   54         intervention services and supports are provided;
   55         requiring the department to adopt rules; creating s.
   56         409.143, F.S.; providing legislative findings and
   57         intent; defining terms; requiring an initial placement
   58         assessment for certain children under specified
   59         circumstances; requiring every child placed in out-of
   60         home care to be referred within a certain time for a
   61         comprehensive behavioral health assessment; requiring
   62         the department or the community-based care lead agency
   63         to establish special permanency teams to assist
   64         children in adjusting to home placement; requiring the
   65         department to submit an annual report to the Governor
   66         and the Legislature on the placement of children in
   67         licensed out-of-home care; creating s. 409.144, F.S.;
   68         providing legislative findings and intent; defining
   69         terms; requiring the department to develop a continuum
   70         of care for the placement of children in care
   71         settings; requiring the department to submit a report
   72         annually to the Governor and the Legislature;
   73         requiring the department to adopt rules; amending s.
   74         409.1451, F.S.; requiring that a child be living in
   75         licensed care on or after his or her 18th birthday as
   76         a condition for receiving aftercare services;
   77         requiring the department to provide education training
   78         vouchers; providing eligibility requirements;
   79         prohibiting vouchers from exceeding a certain amount;
   80         providing rulemaking authority; amending s. 409.988,
   81         F.S.; requiring lead agencies to ensure the
   82         availability of a full array of family support
   83         services; requiring the department to submit annually
   84         to the Governor and Legislature a report that
   85         evaluates the adequacy of family support services;
   86         requiring the department to adopt rules; amending s.
   87         39.202, F.S.; revising the designation of an agency
   88         with access to records; amending ss. 39.302, 39.524,
   89         39.6013, 394.495, 409.1678, 960.065, and 1002.3305,
   90         F.S.; conforming cross-references; repealing s.
   91         39.523, F.S., relating to the placement of children in
   92         residential group care; repealing s. 409.141, F.S.,
   93         relating to equitable reimbursement methodology;
   94         repealing s. 409.1676, F.S., relating to comprehensive
   95         residential group care services to children who have
   96         extraordinary needs; repealing s. 409.1677, F.S.,
   97         relating to model comprehensive residential services
   98         programs; repealing s. 409.1679, F.S., relating to
   99         program requirements and reimbursement methodology;
  100         providing an effective date.
  102  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  104         Section 1. Subsection (10) of section 39.01, Florida
  105  Statutes, is amended, present subsections (20) through (79) of
  106  that section are redesignated as subsections (21) through (80),
  107  respectively, a new subsection (20) is added to that section,
  108  and present subsection (32) of that section is amended, to read:
  109         39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the
  110  context otherwise requires:
  111         (10) “Caregiver” means the parent, legal custodian,
  112  permanent guardian, adult household member, or other person
  113  responsible for a child’s welfare as defined in subsection (48)
  114  subsection (47).
  115         (20) Conditions for return” means the circumstances that
  116  caused the out-of-home placement have been remedied to the
  117  extent that the return of the child to the home with an in-home
  118  safety plan will not be detrimental to the child’s safety, well
  119  being, and physical, mental, and emotional health.
  120         (32) “Institutional child abuse or neglect” means
  121  situations of known or suspected child abuse or neglect in which
  122  the person allegedly perpetrating the child abuse or neglect is
  123  an employee of a private school, public or private day care
  124  center, residential home, institution, facility, or agency or
  125  any other person at such institution responsible for the child’s
  126  care as defined in subsection (48) subsection (47).
  127         Section 2. Paragraph (e) is added to subsection (2) of
  128  section 39.013, Florida Statutes, to read:
  129         39.013 Procedures and jurisdiction; right to counsel.—
  130         (2) The circuit court has exclusive original jurisdiction
  131  of all proceedings under this chapter, of a child voluntarily
  132  placed with a licensed child-caring agency, a licensed child
  133  placing agency, or the department, and of the adoption of
  134  children whose parental rights have been terminated under this
  135  chapter. Jurisdiction attaches when the initial shelter
  136  petition, dependency petition, or termination of parental rights
  137  petition, or a petition for an injunction to prevent child abuse
  138  issued pursuant to s. 39.504, is filed or when a child is taken
  139  into the custody of the department. The circuit court may assume
  140  jurisdiction over any such proceeding regardless of whether the
  141  child was in the physical custody of both parents, was in the
  142  sole legal or physical custody of only one parent, caregiver, or
  143  some other person, or was not in the physical or legal custody
  144  of any person when the event or condition occurred that brought
  145  the child to the attention of the court. When the court obtains
  146  jurisdiction of any child who has been found to be dependent,
  147  the court shall retain jurisdiction, unless relinquished by its
  148  order, until the child reaches 21 years of age, with the
  149  following exceptions:
  150         (e)If a young adult with a disability remains in foster
  151  care, jurisdiction shall continue until the young adult chooses
  152  to leave foster care or upon the young adult reaching 22 years
  153  of age, whichever occurs first.
  154         Section 3. Paragraphs (f) and (h) of subsection (8) of
  155  section 39.402, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  156         39.402 Placement in a shelter.—
  157         (8)
  158         (f) At the shelter hearing, the department shall inform the
  159  court of:
  160         1. Any identified current or previous case plans negotiated
  161  under this chapter in any judicial circuit district with the
  162  parents or caregivers under this chapter and problems associated
  163  with compliance;
  164         2. Any adjudication of the parents or caregivers of
  165  delinquency;
  166         3. Any past or current injunction for protection from
  167  domestic violence; and
  168         4. All of the child’s places of residence during the prior
  169  12 months.
  170         (h) The order for placement of a child in shelter care must
  171  identify the parties present at the hearing and must contain
  172  written findings:
  173         1. That placement in shelter care is necessary based on the
  174  criteria in subsections (1) and (2).
  175         2. That placement in shelter care is in the best interest
  176  of the child.
  177         3.That the placement proposed by the department is in the
  178  least restrictive and most family-like setting that meets the
  179  needs of the child, unless it is otherwise documented that the
  180  identified type of placement needed is not available.
  181         4.3. That continuation of the child in the home is contrary
  182  to the welfare of the child because the home situation presents
  183  a substantial and immediate danger to the child’s physical,
  184  mental, or emotional health or safety which cannot be mitigated
  185  by the provision of preventive services.
  186         5.4. That based upon the allegations of the petition for
  187  placement in shelter care, there is probable cause to believe
  188  that the child is dependent or that the court needs additional
  189  time, which may not exceed 72 hours, in which to obtain and
  190  review documents pertaining to the family in order to
  191  appropriately determine the risk to the child.
  192         6.5. That the department has made reasonable efforts to
  193  prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the
  194  home. A finding of reasonable effort by the department to
  195  prevent or eliminate the need for removal may be made and the
  196  department is deemed to have made reasonable efforts to prevent
  197  or eliminate the need for removal if:
  198         a. The first contact of the department with the family
  199  occurs during an emergency;
  200         b. The appraisal of the home situation by the department
  201  indicates that the home situation presents a substantial and
  202  immediate danger to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional
  203  health or safety which cannot be mitigated by the provision of
  204  preventive services;
  205         c. The child cannot safely remain at home, either because
  206  there are no preventive services that can ensure the health and
  207  safety of the child or because, even with appropriate and
  208  available services being provided, the health and safety of the
  209  child cannot be ensured; or
  210         d. The parent or legal custodian is alleged to have
  211  committed any of the acts listed as grounds for expedited
  212  termination of parental rights in s. 39.806(1)(f)-(i).
  213         7.6. That the department has made reasonable efforts to
  214  keep siblings together if they are removed and placed in out-of
  215  home care unless such placement is not in the best interest of
  216  each child. It is preferred that siblings be kept together in a
  217  foster home, if available. Other reasonable efforts shall
  218  include short-term placement in a group home with the ability to
  219  accommodate sibling groups if such a placement is available. The
  220  department shall report to the court its efforts to place
  221  siblings together unless the court finds that such placement is
  222  not in the best interest of a child or his or her sibling.
  223         8.7. That the court notified the parents, relatives that
  224  are providing out-of-home care for the child, or legal
  225  custodians of the time, date, and location of the next
  226  dependency hearing and of the importance of the active
  227  participation of the parents, relatives that are providing out
  228  of-home care for the child, or legal custodians in all
  229  proceedings and hearings.
  230         9.8. That the court notified the parents or legal
  231  custodians of their right to counsel to represent them at the
  232  shelter hearing and at each subsequent hearing or proceeding,
  233  and the right of the parents to appointed counsel, pursuant to
  234  the procedures set forth in s. 39.013.
  235         10.9. That the court notified relatives who are providing
  236  out-of-home care for a child as a result of the shelter petition
  237  being granted that they have the right to attend all subsequent
  238  hearings, to submit reports to the court, and to speak to the
  239  court regarding the child, if they so desire.
  240         Section 4. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section
  241  39.521, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  242         39.521 Disposition hearings; powers of disposition.—
  243         (1) A disposition hearing shall be conducted by the court,
  244  if the court finds that the facts alleged in the petition for
  245  dependency were proven in the adjudicatory hearing, or if the
  246  parents or legal custodians have consented to the finding of
  247  dependency or admitted the allegations in the petition, have
  248  failed to appear for the arraignment hearing after proper
  249  notice, or have not been located despite a diligent search
  250  having been conducted.
  251         (d) The court shall, in its written order of disposition,
  252  include all of the following:
  253         1. The placement or custody of the child, including whether
  254  the placement is in the least restrictive and most family-like
  255  setting that meets the needs of the child, as determined by
  256  assessments completed pursuant to s. 409.143.
  257         2. Special conditions of placement and visitation.
  258         3. Evaluation, counseling, treatment activities, and other
  259  actions to be taken by the parties, if ordered.
  260         4. The persons or entities responsible for supervising or
  261  monitoring services to the child and parent.
  262         5. Continuation or discharge of the guardian ad litem, as
  263  appropriate.
  264         6. The date, time, and location of the next scheduled
  265  review hearing, which must occur within the earlier of:
  266         a. Ninety days after the disposition hearing;
  267         b. Ninety days after the court accepts the case plan;
  268         c. Six months after the date of the last review hearing; or
  269         d. Six months after the date of the child’s removal from
  270  his or her home, if no review hearing has been held since the
  271  child’s removal from the home.
  272         7. If the child is in an out-of-home placement, child
  273  support to be paid by the parents, or the guardian of the
  274  child’s estate if possessed of assets which under law may be
  275  disbursed for the care, support, and maintenance of the child.
  276  The court may exercise jurisdiction over all child support
  277  matters, shall adjudicate the financial obligation, including
  278  health insurance, of the child’s parents or guardian, and shall
  279  enforce the financial obligation as provided in chapter 61. The
  280  state’s child support enforcement agency shall enforce child
  281  support orders under this section in the same manner as child
  282  support orders under chapter 61. Placement of the child shall
  283  not be contingent upon issuance of a support order.
  284         8.a. If the court does not commit the child to the
  285  temporary legal custody of an adult relative, legal custodian,
  286  or other adult approved by the court, the disposition order
  287  shall include the reasons for such a decision and shall include
  288  a determination as to whether diligent efforts were made by the
  289  department to locate an adult relative, legal custodian, or
  290  other adult willing to care for the child in order to present
  291  that placement option to the court instead of placement with the
  292  department.
  293         b. If no suitable relative is found and the child is placed
  294  with the department or a legal custodian or other adult approved
  295  by the court, both the department and the court shall consider
  296  transferring temporary legal custody to an adult relative
  297  approved by the court at a later date, but neither the
  298  department nor the court is obligated to so place the child if
  299  it is in the child’s best interest to remain in the current
  300  placement.
  302  For the purposes of this section, “diligent efforts to locate an
  303  adult relative” means a search similar to the diligent search
  304  for a parent, but without the continuing obligation to search
  305  after an initial adequate search is completed.
  306         9. Other requirements necessary to protect the health,
  307  safety, and well-being of the child, to preserve the stability
  308  of the child’s educational placement, and to promote family
  309  preservation or reunification whenever possible.
  310         Section 5. Subsection (2) of section 39.522, Florida
  311  Statutes, is amended to read:
  312         39.522 Postdisposition change of custody.—The court may
  313  change the temporary legal custody or the conditions of
  314  protective supervision at a postdisposition hearing, without the
  315  necessity of another adjudicatory hearing.
  316         (2) In cases where the issue before the court is whether a
  317  child should be reunited with a parent, the court shall
  318  determine whether the circumstances that caused the out-of-home
  319  placement have been remedied parent has substantially complied
  320  with the terms of the case plan to the extent that the return of
  321  the child to the home with an in-home safety plan will not be
  322  detrimental to the child’s safety, well-being, and physical,
  323  mental, and emotional health of the child is not endangered by
  324  the return of the child to the home.
  325         Section 6. Section 39.6011, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  326  read:
  327         (Substantial rewording of section. See
  328         s. 39.6011, F.S., for present text.)
  329         39.6011 Case plan purpose; requirements; procedures.—
  330         (1) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the case plan is to promote and
  331  facilitate change in parental behavior and to address the
  332  treatment and long-term well-being of children receiving
  333  services under this chapter.
  334         (2)GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.—The department shall draft a case
  335  plan for each child receiving services under this chapter. The
  336  case plan must:
  337         (a) Document that a preplacement assessment of the service
  338  needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive
  339  services, if appropriate, have been provided pursuant to s.
  340  409.142, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home
  341  placement have been made.
  342         (b)Be developed in a face-to-face conference with the
  343  parent of the child, any court-appointed guardian ad litem, the
  344  child’s attorney, and, if appropriate, the temporary custodian
  345  of the child. The parent may receive assistance from any person
  346  or social service agency in preparing the case plan. The social
  347  service agency, the department, and the court, when applicable,
  348  shall inform the parent of the right to receive such assistance,
  349  including the right to assistance of counsel.
  350         (c)Be written simply and clearly in English and, if
  351  English is not the principal language of the child’s parent, in
  352  the parent’s principal language, to the extent practicable.
  353         (d)Describe a process for making available to all physical
  354  custodians and family services counselors the information
  355  required by s. 39.6012(2) and for ensuring that this information
  356  follows the child until permanency has been achieved.
  357         (e)Specify the period of time for which the case plan is
  358  applicable, which must be as short a period as possible for the
  359  parent to comply with the terms of the plan. The case plan’s
  360  compliance period expires no later than 12 months after the date
  361  the child was initially removed from the home, the date the
  362  child is adjudicated dependent, or the date the case plan is
  363  accepted by the court, whichever occurs first.
  364         (f)Be signed by all of the parties. Signing the case plan
  365  constitutes an acknowledgment by each of the parties that they
  366  have been involved in the development of the case plan and that
  367  they are in agreement with the terms and conditions contained in
  368  the case plan. The refusal of a parent to sign the case plan
  369  does not preclude the court’s acceptance of the case plan if it
  370  is otherwise acceptable to the court. The parent’s signing of
  371  the case plan does not constitute an admission to any allegation
  372  of abuse, abandonment, or neglect and does not constitute
  373  consent to a finding of dependency or termination of parental
  374  rights. The department shall explain the provisions of the case
  375  plan to all persons involved in its implementation, before the
  376  signing of the plan.
  377         (3)PARTICIPATION BY THE CHILD.—It is important that the
  378  child be involved in all aspects of the case planning process,
  379  including development of the plan, as well as the opportunity to
  380  review, sign, and receive a copy of the case plan. The child may
  381  not be included in any aspect of the case planning process when
  382  information will be revealed or discussed that is of a nature
  383  that would best be presented to the child in a more therapeutic
  384  setting. The child, when the child has attained 14 years of age
  385  or the child is otherwise at the appropriate age and capacity,
  386  must:
  387         (a)Be included in the face-to-face conference to develop
  388  the plan under this section, have the opportunity to express a
  389  placement preference, and have the option to choose two members
  390  of the case planning team who are not a foster parent or
  391  caseworker for the child.
  392         (b)Sign the case plan, unless there is reason to waive the
  393  child’s signature.
  394         (c)Receive an explanation of the provisions of the case
  395  plan from the department.
  396         (d)Be provided a copy of the case plan:
  397         1.After the case plan has been agreed upon and signed; and
  398         2.Within 3 business days before the disposition hearing
  399  after jurisdiction attaches and the plan has been filed with the
  400  court.
  401         (4)NOTICE TO PARENTS.The case plan must document that
  402  each parent has been advised of the following by written notice:
  403         (a)That he or she may not be coerced or threatened with
  404  the loss of custody or parental rights for failing to admit the
  405  abuse, neglect, or abandonment of the child in the case plan.
  406  Participation in the development of a case plan is not an
  407  admission to any allegation of abuse, abandonment, or neglect
  408  and does not constitute consent to a finding of dependency or
  409  termination of parental rights.
  410         (b)That the department must document a parent’s
  411  unwillingness or inability to participate in developing a case
  412  plan and provide such documentation in writing to the parent
  413  when it becomes available for the court record. In such event,
  414  the department will prepare a case plan that, to the extent
  415  possible, conforms with the requirements of this section. The
  416  parent must also be advised that his or her unwillingness or
  417  inability to participate in developing a case plan does not
  418  preclude the filing of a petition for dependency or for
  419  termination of parental rights. If the parent is available, the
  420  department shall provide a copy of the case plan to the parent
  421  and advise him or her that, at any time before the filing of a
  422  petition for termination of parental rights, he or she may enter
  423  into a case plan and that he or she may request judicial review
  424  of any provision of the case plan with which he or she disagrees
  425  at any court hearing set for the child.
  426         (c)That his or her failure to substantially comply with
  427  the case plan may result in the termination of parental rights,
  428  and that a material breach of the case plan may result in the
  429  filing of a petition for termination of parental rights before
  430  the scheduled completion date.
  431         (5)DISTRIBUTION AND FILING WITH THE COURT.The department
  432  shall adhere to the following procedural requirements in
  433  developing and distributing a case plan:
  434         (a)After the case plan has been agreed upon and signed by
  435  the parties, a copy of the case plan must immediately be given
  436  to the parties and to other persons, as directed by the court.
  437         (b)In each case in which a child has been placed in out
  438  of-home care, a case plan must be prepared within 60 days after
  439  the department removes the child from the home and must be
  440  submitted to the court for review and approval before the
  441  disposition hearing.
  442         (c)After jurisdiction attaches, all case plans must be
  443  filed with the court, and a copy provided to all of the parties
  444  whose whereabouts are known not less than 3 business days before
  445  the disposition hearing. The department shall file with the
  446  court and provide copies of such to all of the parties, all case
  447  plans prepared before jurisdiction of the court attached.
  448         (d)A case plan must be prepared, but need not be submitted
  449  to the court, for a child who will be in care for 30 days or
  450  less unless that child is placed in out-of-home care for a
  451  second time within a 12-month period.
  452         Section 7. Section 39.6012, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  453  read:
  454         (Substantial rewording of section. See
  455         s. 39.6012, F.S., for present text.)
  456         39.6012 Services and parental tasks under the case plan;
  457  safety, permanency, and well-being of the child.—The case plan
  458  must include a description of the identified problem that is
  459  being addressed, including the parent’s behavior or acts that
  460  have resulted in a threat to the safety of the child and the
  461  reason for the department’s intervention. The case plan must be
  462  designed to improve conditions in the child’s home to facilitate
  463  the child’s safe return and ensure proper care of the child, or
  464  to facilitate the child’s permanent placement. The services
  465  offered must be as unobtrusive as possible in the lives of the
  466  parent and the child, must focus on clearly defined objectives,
  467  and must provide the most timely and efficient path to
  468  reunification or permanent placement, given the circumstances of
  469  the case and the child’s need for safe and proper care.
  470         (1)CASE PLAN SERVICES AND TASKS.The case plan must be
  471  based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required
  472  intervention by the child welfare system. The case plan must
  473  describe the role of the foster parents or legal custodians, and
  474  must be developed in conjunction with the determination of the
  475  services that are to be provided under the case plan to the
  476  child, foster parents, or legal custodians. If a parent’s
  477  substantial compliance with the case plan requires the
  478  department to provide services to the parent or the child and
  479  the parent agrees to begin compliance with the case plan before
  480  it is accepted by the court, the department shall make
  481  appropriate referrals for services which will allow the parent
  482  to immediately begin the agreed-upon tasks and services.
  483         (a)Itemization in the case plan.The case plan must
  484  describe each of the tasks which the parent must complete and
  485  the services that will be provided to the parent, in the context
  486  of the identified problem, including:
  487         1.The type of services or treatment which will be
  488  provided.
  489         2.If the service is being provided by the department or
  490  its agent, the date the department will provide each service or
  491  referral for service.
  492         3.The date by which the parent must complete each task.
  493         4.The frequency of services or treatment to be provided,
  494  which shall be determined by the professionals providing the
  495  services and may be adjusted as needed based on the best
  496  professional judgment of the provider.
  497         5.The location of the delivery of the services.
  498         6.Identification of the staff of the department or the
  499  service provider who are responsible for the delivery of
  500  services or treatment.
  501         7.A description of measurable outcomes, including the
  502  timeframes specified for achieving the objectives of the case
  503  plan and addressing the identified problem.
  504         (b)Meetings with case manager.The case plan must include
  505  a schedule of the minimum number of face-to-face meetings to be
  506  held each month between the parent and the case manager to
  507  review the progress of the case plan, eliminate barriers to
  508  completion of the plan, and resolve conflicts or disagreements.
  509         (c)Request for notification from relative.—The case
  510  manager shall advise the attorney for the department of a
  511  relative’s request to receive notification of proceedings and
  512  hearings submitted pursuant to s. 39.301(14)(b).
  513         (d)Financial support.The case plan must specify the
  514  parent’s responsibility for the financial support of the child,
  515  including, but not limited to, health insurance and child
  516  support. The case plan must list the costs associated with any
  517  services or treatment that the parent and child are expected to
  518  receive which are the financial responsibility of the parent.
  519  The determination of child support and other financial support
  520  must be made independently of any determination of dependency
  521  under s. 39.013.
  523  case plan must include all available information that is
  524  relevant to the child’s care, including a detailed description
  525  of the identified needs of the child while in care and a
  526  description of the plan for ensuring that the child receives
  527  safe and proper care that is appropriate to his or her needs.
  528  Participation by the child must meet the requirements under s.
  529  39.6011.
  530         (a) Placement.—To comply with federal law, the department
  531  must ensure that the placement of a child in foster care be in
  532  the least restrictive, most family-like environment; must review
  533  the family assessment, safety plan, and case plan for the child
  534  to assess the necessity for and the appropriateness of the
  535  placement; must assess the progress that has been made toward
  536  case plan outcomes; and must project a likely date by which the
  537  child can be safely reunified or placed for adoption or legal
  538  guardianship. The family assessment must indicate the type of
  539  placement to which the child has been assigned and must document
  540  the following:
  541         1. That the child has undergone the placement assessments
  542  required pursuant to s. 409.143.
  543         2. That the child has been placed in the least restrictive
  544  and most family-like setting available consistent with the best
  545  interest and special needs of the child, and in as close
  546  proximity as possible to the child’s home.
  547         3. If the child is placed in a setting that is more
  548  restrictive than recommended by the placement assessments or is
  549  placed more than 50 miles from the child’s home, the reasons why
  550  the placement is necessary and in the best interest of the child
  551  and the steps required to place the child in the placement
  552  recommended by the assessment.
  553         4. If residential group care is recommended for the child,
  554  the needs of the child which necessitate such placement, the
  555  plan for transitioning the child to a family setting, and the
  556  projected timeline for the child’s transition to a less
  557  restrictive environment. If the child is placed in residential
  558  group care, his or her case plan shall be reviewed and updated
  559  within 90 days after the child’s admission to the residential
  560  group care facility and at least every 60 days thereafter.
  561         (b) Permanency.—If reunifying a child with his or her
  562  family is not possible, the department shall make every effort
  563  to provide other forms of permanency, such as adoption or
  564  guardianship. If a child is placed in an out-of-home placement,
  565  the case plan, in addition to any other requirements imposed by
  566  law or department rule, must include:
  567         1. If concurrent planning is being used, a description of
  568  the permanency goal of reunification with the parent or legal
  569  custodian and a description of one of the remaining permanency
  570  goals defined in s. 39.01; or, if concurrent case planning is
  571  not being used, an explanation as to why it is not being used.
  572         2. If the case plan has as its goal the adoption of the
  573  child or his or her placement in another permanent home, a
  574  statement of the child’s wishes regarding his or her permanent
  575  placement plan and an assessment of those stated wishes. The
  576  case plan must also include documentation of the steps the
  577  agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent
  578  living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an
  579  adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, or a legal
  580  guardian; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At
  581  a minimum, the documentation must include child-specific
  582  recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and
  583  national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange
  584  systems, after he or she has become legally eligible for
  585  adoption.
  586         3. If the child has been in out-of-home care for at least
  587  12 months and the permanency goal is not adoptive placement, the
  588  documentation of the compelling reason for a finding that
  589  termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best
  590  interest.
  591         (c)Education.—A case plan must ensure the educational
  592  stability of the child while in foster care. To the extent
  593  available and accessible, the names and addresses of the child’s
  594  educational providers, a record of his or her grade level
  595  performance, and his or her school record must be attached to
  596  the case plan and updated throughout the judicial review
  597  process. The case plan must also include documentation that the
  598  placement:
  599         1.Takes into account the appropriateness of the current
  600  educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the
  601  child is enrolled at the time of placement.
  602         2.Has been coordinated with appropriate local educational
  603  agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which
  604  the child is enrolled at the time of placement, or, if remaining
  605  in that school is not in the best interest of the child,
  606  assurances by the department and the local education agency to
  607  provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school and
  608  to provide all of the child’s educational records to the new
  609  school.
  610         (d) Health care.—To the extent that they are available and
  611  accessible, the names and addresses of the child’s health and
  612  behavioral health providers, a record of the child’s
  613  immunizations, the child’s known medical history, including any
  614  known health issues, the child’s medications, and any other
  615  relevant health and behavioral health information must be
  616  attached to the case plan and updated throughout the judicial
  617  review process.
  618         (e) Contact with family, extended family, and fictive kin.
  619  When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan must include
  620  provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling
  621  relationships and visitation, if the child has siblings and is
  622  separated from them, a description of the parent’s visitation
  623  rights and obligations, and a description of any visitation
  624  rights with extended family members as defined in s. 751.011. As
  625  used in this paragraph, the term “fictive kin” means individuals
  626  who are unrelated to the child by either birth or marriage, but
  627  who have an emotionally significant relationship with the child
  628  that would take on the characteristics of a family relationship.
  629  As soon as possible after a court order is entered, the
  630  following must be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver:
  631         1. Information regarding any court-ordered visitation
  632  between the child and the parents, and the terms and conditions
  633  necessary to facilitate such visits and protect the safety of
  634  the child.
  635         2. Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the
  636  visits between the child and his or her siblings, as well as any
  637  court-ordered terms and conditions necessary to facilitate the
  638  visits and protect the safety of the child.
  639         3. Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the
  640  visits between the child and any extended family member or
  641  fictive kin, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions
  642  necessary to facilitate the visits and protect the safety of the
  643  child.
  644         (f) Independent living.
  645         1. When appropriate, the case plan for a child who is 13
  646  years of age or older, must include a written description of the
  647  life skills services to be provided by the caregiver which will
  648  assist the child, consistent with his or her best interests, in
  649  preparing for the transition from foster care to independent
  650  living. The case plan must be developed with the child and
  651  individuals identified as important to the child, and must
  652  include the steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child
  653  has a connection with a caring adult.
  654         2.During the 180-day period after a child reaches 17 years
  655  of age, the department and the community-based care provider, in
  656  collaboration with the caregiver and any other individual whom
  657  the child would like to include, shall assist the child in
  658  developing a transition plan pursuant to s. 39.6035, which is in
  659  addition to standard case management requirements. The
  660  transition plan must address specific options that the child may
  661  use in obtaining services, including housing, health insurance,
  662  education, and workforce support and employment services. The
  663  transition plan must also consider establishing and maintaining
  664  naturally occurring mentoring relationships and other personal
  665  support services. The transition plan may be as detailed as the
  666  child chooses and must be attached to the case plan and updated
  667  before each judicial review.
  668         Section 8. Subsection (4) of section 39.6035, Florida
  669  Statutes, is amended to read:
  670         39.6035 Transition plan.—
  671         (4) If a child is planning to leave care upon reaching 18
  672  years of age, The transition plan must be approved by the court
  673  before the child’s 18th birthday child leaves care and the court
  674  terminates jurisdiction.
  675         Section 9. Subsection (2) of section 39.621, Florida
  676  Statutes, is amended, present subsections (3) through (11) of
  677  that section are redesignated as subsections (4) through (12),
  678  respectively, and a new subsection (3) is added to that section,
  679  to read:
  680         39.621 Permanency determination by the court.—
  681         (2) Except as provided in subsection (3), the permanency
  682  goals available under this chapter, listed in order of
  683  preference, are:
  684         (a) Reunification;
  685         (b) Adoption, if a petition for termination of parental
  686  rights has been or will be filed;
  687         (c) Permanent guardianship of a dependent child under s.
  688  39.6221; or
  689         (d) Permanent placement with a fit and willing relative
  690  under s. 39.6231; or
  691         (d)(e) Placement in another planned permanent living
  692  arrangement under s. 39.6241.
  693         (3)The permanency goal of maintaining and strengthening
  694  the placement with a parent may be used in the following
  695  circumstances:
  696         (a) If a child has not been removed from a parent but is
  697  found to be dependent, even if adjudication of dependency is
  698  withheld, the court may leave the child in the current placement
  699  with maintaining and strengthening the placement as a permanency
  700  option.
  701         (b) If a child has been removed from a parent and is placed
  702  with the parent from whom the child was not removed, the court
  703  may leave the child in the placement with the parent from whom
  704  the child was not removed with maintaining and strengthening the
  705  placement as a permanency option.
  706         (c) If a child has been removed from a parent and is
  707  subsequently reunified with that parent, the court may leave the
  708  child with that parent with maintaining and strengthening the
  709  placement as a permanency option.
  710         Section 10. Paragraphs (a) and (d) of subsection (2) of
  711  section 39.701, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  712         39.701 Judicial review.—
  714  AGE.—
  715         (a) Social study report for judicial review.—Before every
  716  judicial review hearing or citizen review panel hearing, the
  717  social service agency shall make an investigation and social
  718  study concerning all pertinent details relating to the child and
  719  shall furnish to the court or citizen review panel a written
  720  report that includes, but is not limited to:
  721         1. A description of the type of placement the child is in
  722  at the time of the hearing, including the safety of the child,
  723  and the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the
  724  placement, and that the placement is in the least restrictive
  725  and most family-like setting that meets the needs of the child
  726  as determined by the assessment completed pursuant to s.
  727  409.143.
  728         2. Documentation of the diligent efforts made by all
  729  parties to the case plan to comply with each applicable
  730  provision of the case plan.
  731         3. The amount of fees assessed and collected during the
  732  period of time being reported.
  733         4. The services provided to the foster family or legal
  734  custodian in an effort to address the needs of the child as
  735  indicated in the case plan.
  736         5. A statement that either:
  737         a. The parent, though able to do so, did not comply
  738  substantially with the case plan, and the agency
  739  recommendations;
  740         b. The parent did substantially comply with the case plan;
  741  or
  742         c. The parent has partially complied with the case plan,
  743  with a summary of additional progress needed and the agency
  744  recommendations.
  745         6. A statement from the foster parent or legal custodian
  746  providing any material evidence concerning the return of the
  747  child to the parent or parents.
  748         7. A statement concerning the frequency, duration, and
  749  results of the parent-child visitation, if any, and the agency
  750  recommendations for an expansion or restriction of future
  751  visitation.
  752         8. The number of times a child has been removed from his or
  753  her home and placed elsewhere, the number and types of
  754  placements that have occurred, and the reason for the changes in
  755  placement.
  756         9. The number of times a child’s educational placement has
  757  been changed, the number and types of educational placements
  758  which have occurred, and the reason for any change in placement.
  759         10. If the child has reached 13 years of age but is not yet
  760  18 years of age, a statement from the caregiver on the progress
  761  the child has made in acquiring independent living skills.
  762         11. Copies of all medical, psychological, and educational
  763  records that support the terms of the case plan and that have
  764  been produced concerning the parents or any caregiver since the
  765  last judicial review hearing.
  766         12. Copies of the child’s current health, mental health,
  767  and education records as identified in s. 39.6012.
  768         (d) Orders.—
  769         1. Based upon the criteria set forth in paragraph (c) and
  770  the recommended order of the citizen review panel, if any, the
  771  court shall determine whether or not the social service agency
  772  shall initiate proceedings to have a child declared a dependent
  773  child, return the child to the parent, continue the child in
  774  out-of-home care for a specified period of time, or initiate
  775  termination of parental rights proceedings for subsequent
  776  placement in an adoptive home. Amendments to the case plan must
  777  be prepared as prescribed in s. 39.6013. If the court finds that
  778  the prevention or reunification efforts of the department will
  779  allow the child can safely to remain in the safely at home with
  780  an in-home safety plan or be safely returned to the home, the
  781  court shall allow the child to remain in or return to the home
  782  after making a specific finding of fact that the reasons for the
  783  creation of the case plan have been remedied to the extent that
  784  the child’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and
  785  emotional health will not be endangered.
  786         2. The court shall return the child to the custody of the
  787  parents with an in-home safety plan at any time it determines
  788  that they have met conditions for return substantially complied
  789  with the case plan, and if the court is satisfied that return of
  790  the child to the home reunification will not be detrimental to
  791  the child’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental, and
  792  emotional health.
  793         3. If, in the opinion of the court, the social service
  794  agency has not complied with its obligations as specified in the
  795  written case plan, the court may find the social service agency
  796  in contempt, shall order the social service agency to submit its
  797  plans for compliance with the agreement, and shall require the
  798  social service agency to show why the child could not safely be
  799  returned to the home of the parents.
  800         4. If possible, the court shall order the department to
  801  file a written notification before a child changes placements or
  802  living arrangements. If such notification is not possible before
  803  the change, the department must file a notification immediately
  804  after a change. A written notification filed with the court must
  805  include assurances from the department that the provisions of s.
  806  409.145 and administrative rule relating to placement changes
  807  have been met.
  808         5.4. If, at any judicial review, the court finds that the
  809  parents have failed to substantially comply with the case plan
  810  to the degree that further reunification efforts are without
  811  merit and not in the best interest of the child, on its own
  812  motion, the court may order the filing of a petition for
  813  termination of parental rights, whether or not the time period
  814  as contained in the case plan for substantial compliance has
  815  expired.
  816         6.5. Within 6 months after the date that the child was
  817  placed in shelter care, the court shall conduct a judicial
  818  review hearing to review the child’s permanency goal as
  819  identified in the case plan. At the hearing the court shall make
  820  findings regarding the likelihood of the child’s reunification
  821  with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
  822  removal of the child from the home. If the court makes a written
  823  finding that it is not likely that the child will be reunified
  824  with the parent or legal custodian within 12 months after the
  825  child was removed from the home, the department must file with
  826  the court, and serve on all parties, a motion to amend the case
  827  plan under s. 39.6013 and declare that it will use concurrent
  828  planning for the case plan. The department must file the motion
  829  within 10 business days after receiving the written finding of
  830  the court. The department must attach the proposed amended case
  831  plan to the motion. If concurrent planning is already being
  832  used, the case plan must document the efforts the department is
  833  taking to complete the concurrent goal.
  834         7.6. The court may issue a protective order in assistance,
  835  or as a condition, of any other order made under this part. In
  836  addition to the requirements included in the case plan, the
  837  protective order may set forth requirements relating to
  838  reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specified
  839  period of time by a person or agency who is before the court;
  840  and the order may require any person or agency to make periodic
  841  reports to the court containing such information as the court in
  842  its discretion may prescribe.
  843         Section 11. Section 409.142, Florida Statutes, is created
  844  to read:
  845         409.142 Intervention services for unsafe children.
  846         (1)LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.—The Legislature finds
  847  that intervention services and supports are designed to
  848  strengthen and support families in order to keep them safely
  849  together and to prevent children from entering foster care.
  850  Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature for the
  851  department to identify evidence-based intervention programs that
  852  remedy child abuse and neglect, reduce the likelihood of foster
  853  care placement by supporting parents and relative or nonrelative
  854  caregivers, increase family reunification with parents or other
  855  relatives, and promote placement stability for children living
  856  with relatives or nonrelative caregivers.
  857         (2) DEFINITION.—As used in this section the term
  858  “Intervention services and supports” means assistance provided
  859  to a child or to the parents or relative and nonrelative
  860  caregivers of a child determined by a child protection
  861  investigation to be in present or impending danger.
  862         (3)SERVICES AND SUPPORTS.—Intervention services and
  863  supports that shall be made available to eligible individuals
  864  include, but are not limited to:
  865         (a) Safety management services provided to unsafe children
  866  which immediately and actively protect the child from dangerous
  867  threats if the parent or other caregiver cannot, as part of a
  868  safety plan.
  869         (b)Parenting skills training, including parent advocates,
  870  peer-to-peer mentoring, and support groups for parents and
  871  relative caregivers.
  872         (c)Individual, group, and family counseling, mentoring,
  873  and therapy.
  874         (d) Behavioral health care needs, domestic violence, and
  875  substance abuse services.
  876         (e)Crisis assistance or services to stabilize families in
  877  times of crisis or to facilitate relative placement, such as
  878  transportation, clothing, household goods, assistance with
  879  housing and utility payments, child care, respite care, and
  880  assistance connecting families with other community-based
  881  services.
  882         (4)ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES.—The following individuals are
  883  eligible for services and supports under this section:
  884         (a) A child who is unsafe but can remain safely at home or
  885  in a relative or nonrelative placement with receipt of specified
  886  services and supports.
  887         (b)A parent or relative caregiver of an unsafe child.
  888         (5)GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.—The community-based care lead
  889  agency shall prepare a case plan for each child and his or her
  890  family receiving services and support under this section which
  891  includes:
  892         (a)The safety services and supports necessary to prevent
  893  the child’s entry into foster care.
  894         (b) The services and supports that will enable the child to
  895  return home with an in-home safety plan.
  897         (a)By October 1, 2016, each community-based care lead
  898  agency shall submit a monitoring plan to the department
  899  describing how the lead agency will monitor and oversee the
  900  safety of children who receive intervention services and
  901  supports. The monitoring plan shall include a description of
  902  training and support for caseworkers handling intervention
  903  cases, including how caseload size and type will be determined,
  904  managed, and overseen.
  905         (b)Beginning October 1, 2016, each community-based care
  906  lead agency shall collect and report annually to the department,
  907  as part of the child welfare Results Oriented Accountability
  908  Program required under s. 409.997, the following with respect to
  909  each child for whom, or on whose behalf, intervention services
  910  and supports are provided during a 12-month period:
  911         1.The number of children and families served;
  912         2.The specific services provided and the total
  913  expenditures for each such service;
  914         3.The child’s placement status at the beginning and at the
  915  end of the period; and
  916         4.The child’s placement status 1 year after the end of the
  917  period.
  918         (c) Outcomes for this subsection shall be included in the
  919  annual report required under s. 409.997.
  920         (7)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to
  921  administer this section.
  922         Section 12. Section 409.143, Florida Statutes, is created
  923  to read:
  924         409.143Assessment and determination of appropriate
  925  placement.—
  927         (a) The Legislature finds that it is a basic tenet of child
  928  welfare practice and the law that children be placed in the
  929  least restrictive, most family-like setting available in close
  930  proximity to the home of their parents, consistent with the best
  931  interests and needs of the child, and that children be placed in
  932  permanent homes in a timely manner.
  933         (b) The Legislature also finds that behavior problems can
  934  create difficulties in a child’s placement and ultimately lead
  935  to multiple placements, which have been linked to negative
  936  outcomes for children.
  937         (c) The Legislature further finds that given the harm
  938  associated with multiple placements, the ideal is connecting
  939  children to the most appropriate setting at the time they come
  940  into care.
  941         (d) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that
  942  through the use of a standardized assessment process and the
  943  availability of an adequate array of appropriate placement
  944  options, that the first placement be the best placement for
  945  every child entering care.
  946         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  947         (a)“Child functioning level” means specific categories of
  948  child behaviors and needs.
  949         (b) “Comprehensive behavioral health assessment” means an
  950  in-depth and detailed assessment of the child’s emotional,
  951  social, behavioral, and developmental functioning within the
  952  family home, school, and community that must include direct
  953  observation of the child in the home, school, and community, as
  954  well as in the clinical setting.
  955         (c) “Level of care” means a tiered approach to the types of
  956  placement used and the acuity and intensity of intervention
  957  services provided to meet the severity of a dependent child’s
  958  specific physical, emotional, psychological, and social needs.
  960         (a) Each child that has been determined by the department,
  961  a sheriff’s office conducting protective investigations, or a
  962  community-based care provider to require an out-of-home
  963  placement must be assessed prior to placement selection to
  964  determine the best placement option to meet the child’s
  965  immediate and ongoing intervention and services and supports
  966  needs. The department shall develop and adopt by rule a
  967  preplacement assessment tool, which must include an analysis
  968  based on information available to the department at the time of
  969  the assessment, of the child’s age, maturity level, known
  970  behavioral health diagnosis, behaviors, prior placement
  971  arrangements, physical and medical needs, and educational
  972  commitments.
  973         (b) If it is determined during the preplacement evaluation
  974  that a child may be suitable for residential treatment as
  975  defined in s. 39.407, the procedures in that section must be
  976  followed.
  977         (c) A decision to place a child in group care with a
  978  residential child care agency may not be made by any individual
  979  or entity who has an actual or perceived conflict of interest
  980  with any agency being considered for placement.
  981         (d) The department shall document initial placement
  982  assessments in the Florida Safe Families Network.
  984         (a)Each child placed in out-of-home care shall be referred
  985  by the department for a comprehensive behavioral health
  986  assessment. The comprehensive assessment is intended to support
  987  the family assessment, which will guide the case plan outcomes,
  988  treatment, and well-being service provisions for a child in out
  989  of-home care, in addition to providing information to help
  990  determine if the child’s initial placement was the most
  991  appropriate out-of-home care setting for the child.
  992         (b)The referral for the comprehensive behavioral health
  993  assessment shall be made within 7 calendars days of the child
  994  entering out-of-home care.
  995         (c)The comprehensive assessment will measure the strengths
  996  and needs of the child and the services and supports that are
  997  necessary to maintain the child in the least restrictive out-of
  998  home care setting. In developing the assessment, consideration
  999  must be given to:
 1000         1.Current and historical information from any
 1001  psychological testing or evaluation of the child;
 1002         2.Current behaviors exhibited by the child which interfere
 1003  with or limit the child’s role or ability to function in a less
 1004  restrictive, family-like setting;
 1005         3.Current and historical information from the guardian ad
 1006  litem, if one has been appointed;
 1007         4.Current and historical information from any current
 1008  therapist, teacher, or other professional who has knowledge of
 1009  the child or has worked with the child;
 1010         5. Information related to the placement of any siblings of
 1011  the child; and
 1012         6.If the child has been moved more than once, the
 1013  circumstances necessitating the moves and the recommendations of
 1014  the former foster families or other caregivers, if available.
 1015         (d)Completion of the comprehensive assessment must occur
 1016  within 30 calendar days after the child entering out-of-home
 1017  care.
 1018         (e)The department shall use the results of the
 1019  comprehensive assessment and any additional information gathered
 1020  to determine the child’s functioning level and the level of care
 1021  needed for continued placement.
 1022         (f)Upon receipt of a child’s completed comprehensive
 1023  assessment, the child’s case manager shall review the
 1024  assessment, and document whether a less restrictive, more
 1025  family-like setting for the child is recommended and available.
 1026  The department shall document determinations resulting from the
 1027  comprehensive assessment in the Florida Safe Families Network
 1028  and update the case plan to include identified needs of the
 1029  child, specified services and supports to be provided by the
 1030  out-of-home care placement setting to meet the needs of the
 1031  child, and diligent efforts to transition the child to a less
 1032  restrictive, family-like setting.
 1033         (5) PERMANENCY TEAMS.—The department or community-based
 1034  care lead agency that places children pursuant to this section
 1035  shall establish special permanency teams dedicated to overcoming
 1036  the permanency challenges occurring for children in out-of-home
 1037  care. The special permanency team shall convene a
 1038  multidisciplinary staffing every 180 calendar days, to coincide
 1039  with the judicial review, to reassess the appropriateness of the
 1040  child’s current placement. At a minimum, the staffing shall be
 1041  attended by the community-based care lead agency, the caseworker
 1042  for the child, out-of-home care provider, guardian ad litem, and
 1043  any other agency or provider of services to the child. The
 1044  multidisciplinary staffing shall consider, at a minimum, the
 1045  current level of the child’s functioning, whether recommended
 1046  services are being provided effectively, any services that would
 1047  enable transition to a less restrictive family-like setting, and
 1048  diligent search efforts to find other permanent living
 1049  arrangements for the child.
 1050         (6) ANNUAL REPORT.—By October 1 of each year, the
 1051  department shall report to the Governor, the President of the
 1052  Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the
 1053  placement of children in licensed out-of-home care, including
 1054  family foster homes and residential group care, during the year.
 1055  At a minimum, the report should include the number of children
 1056  placed in family foster homes and residential group care, the
 1057  number of children placed more than 50 miles from their parents,
 1058  the number of children who had to change schools as a result of
 1059  a placement decision; use of this form of placement on a local,
 1060  regional, and statewide level; and the available services array
 1061  to serve children in the least restrictive settings.
 1062         Section 13. Section 409.144, Florida Statutes, is created
 1063  to read:
 1064         409.144 Continuum of care for children.—
 1066         (a)The Legislature finds that permanency, well-being, and
 1067  safety are critical goals for all children, especially for those
 1068  in care, and that children in foster care or at risk of entering
 1069  foster care are best supported through a continuum of care that
 1070  provides appropriate ongoing services, supports and place to
 1071  live from entry to exit.
 1072         (b)The Legislature also finds that federal law requires
 1073  that out-of-home placements for children are to be in the least
 1074  restrictive, most family-like setting available that is in close
 1075  proximity to the home of their parents and consistent with the
 1076  best interests and needs of the child, and that children be
 1077  transitioned from out-of-home care to a permanent home in a
 1078  timely manner.
 1079         (c)The Legislature further finds that permanency can be
 1080  achieved through preservation of the family, reunification with
 1081  the birth family, or through legal guardianship or adoption by
 1082  relatives or other caring and committed adults. Planning for
 1083  permanency should begin at entry into care and should be child
 1084  driven, family-focused, culturally appropriate, continuous, and
 1085  approached with the highest degree of urgency.
 1086         (d)It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature that
 1087  the department and the larger child welfare community establish
 1088  and maintain a continuum of care that affords every child the
 1089  opportunity to benefit from the most appropriate and least
 1090  restrictive interventions, both in or out of the home, while
 1091  ensuring that well-being and safety are addressed.
 1092         (2)DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
 1093         (a)“Continuum of care” means the complete range of
 1094  programs and services for children served by, or at risk of
 1095  being served by, the dependency system.
 1096         (b)Family foster care” means a family foster home as
 1097  defined in s. 409.175.
 1098         (c)“Level of care” means a tiered approach to the type of
 1099  placements used and the acuity and intensity of intervention
 1100  services provided to meet the severity of a dependent child’s
 1101  specific physical, emotional, psychological, and social needs.
 1102         (d)“Out-of-home care” means the placement of a child in
 1103  licensed and nonlicensed settings, arranged and supervised by
 1104  the department or contracted service provider, outside the home
 1105  of the parent.
 1106         (e) “Residential group care” means a 24-hour, live-in
 1107  environment that provides supervision, care, and services to
 1108  meet the physical, emotional, social, and life skills needs of
 1109  children served by the dependency system. Services may be
 1110  provided by residential group care staff who are qualified to
 1111  perform the needed service or a community-based service provider
 1112  with clinical expertise, credentials, and training to provide
 1113  services to the children being served.
 1114         (3)DEVELOPMENT OF CONTINUUM.The department, in
 1115  collaboration with the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, the
 1116  Quality Parenting Initiative, and the Florida Coalition for
 1117  Children, Inc., shall develop a continuum of care for the
 1118  placement of children in care, including, but not limited to,
 1119  both family foster care and residential group care. To implement
 1120  the continuum of care, the department shall by December 31,
 1121  2017:
 1122         (a) Establish levels of care in the continuum which are
 1123  clearly and concisely defined with the qualifying criteria for
 1124  placement for each level identified.
 1125         (b) Revise licensure standards and rules to reflect the
 1126  supports and services provided by a placement at each level of
 1127  care and the complexity of the needs of the children served.
 1128  This must include attention to the need for a particular
 1129  category of provider in a community before licensure can be
 1130  considered; quality standards of operation that must be met by
 1131  all licensed providers; numbers and qualifications of staff
 1132  which are adequate to effectively serve children with the issues
 1133  the facility seeks to serve; and a well-defined process tied to
 1134  specific criteria which leads to licensure suspension or
 1135  revocation.
 1136         (c) Develop policies and procedures necessary to ensure
 1137  that placement in any level of care is appropriate for each
 1138  specific child, is determined by the required assessments and
 1139  staffing, and lasts only as long as necessary to resolve the
 1140  issue that required the placement.
 1141         (d) Develop a plan to recruit, train, and retain
 1142  specialized family foster homes for pregnant and parenting
 1143  children and young adults. These family foster homes must be
 1144  designed to provide an out-of-home placement option for young
 1145  parents and their children to enable them to live in the same
 1146  family foster home while caring for their children and working
 1147  toward independent care of the child.
 1148         (e) Develop, in collaboration with the Department of
 1149  Juvenile Justice, a plan to develop specialized out-of-home
 1150  placements for children who are involved in both the dependency
 1151  and the juvenile justice systems.
 1152         (4)REPORTING REQUIREMENT.—The department shall submit a
 1153  report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the
 1154  Speaker of the House of Representatives by October 1 of each
 1155  year, with the first report due October 1, 2016. At a minimum,
 1156  the report must include the following:
 1157         (a) An update on the development of the continuum of care
 1158  required by this section.
 1159         (b) An inventory of existing placements for children by
 1160  type and by community-based care lead agency.
 1161         (c) An inventory of existing services available by
 1162  community-based care lead agency and a plan for filling any
 1163  identified gap, as well as a determination of what services are
 1164  available that can be provided to children in family foster care
 1165  without having to move the child to a more restrictive
 1166  placement.
 1167         (d) The strategies being used by community-based care lead
 1168  agencies to recruit, train, and support an adequate number of
 1169  families to provide home-based family care.
 1170         (e) For every placement of a child made that is contrary to
 1171  an appropriate placement as determined by the assessment process
 1172  in s. 409.142, an explanation from the community-based care lead
 1173  agency as to why the placement was made.
 1174         (f) The strategies being used by the community-based care
 1175  lead agencies to reduce the high percentage of turnover in
 1176  caseworkers.
 1177         (g) A plan for oversight by the department over the
 1178  implementation of the continuum by the community-based care lead
 1179  agencies.
 1180         (5)RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt rules to
 1181  implement this section.
 1182         Section 14. Subsection (3) of section 409.1451, Florida
 1183  Statutes, is amended, and subsection (11) is added to that
 1184  section, to read:
 1185         409.1451 The Road-to-Independence Program.—
 1186         (3) AFTERCARE SERVICES.—
 1187         (a) Aftercare services are available to a young adult who
 1188  was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday, who has
 1189  reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of age, and is:
 1190         1. Not in foster care.
 1191         2. Temporarily not receiving financial assistance under
 1192  subsection (2) to pursue postsecondary education.
 1193         (11) EDUCATION AND TRAINING VOUCHERS.—The department shall
 1194  make available education and training vouchers.
 1195         (a) A child or young adult is eligible for services and
 1196  support under this subsection if he or she is ineligible for
 1197  services under subsection (2) and:
 1198         1. Was living in licensed care on his or her 18th birthday,
 1199  is currently living in licensed care, or is at least 16 years of
 1200  age and has been adopted from foster care or placed with a
 1201  court-approved dependency guardian.
 1202         2. Has earned a standard high school diploma pursuant to s.
 1203  1002.3105(5), s. 1003.4281, or s. 1003.4282, or its equivalent
 1204  as provided in s. 1003.435.
 1205         3. Has been admitted for enrollment as a student in a
 1206  postsecondary educational institution.
 1207         4. Has made the initial application to participate before
 1208  age 21 and is not yet 23 years of age.
 1209         5. Has applied, with assistance from his or her caregiver
 1210  and the community-based lead agency, for any other grants and
 1211  scholarships for which he or she is qualified.
 1212         6. Has submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid
 1213  which is complete and error free.
 1214         7. Has signed an agreement to allow the department and the
 1215  community-based care lead agency access to school records.
 1216         8. Has maintained satisfactory academic progress as
 1217  determined by the postsecondary institution.
 1218         (b) The voucher provided for an individual under this
 1219  subsection may not exceed the lesser of $5,000 per year or the
 1220  total cost of attendance as defined in 42 U.S.C. s. 672.
 1221         (c) The department may adopt rules concerning the payment
 1222  of financial assistance that considers the applicant’s requests
 1223  concerning disbursement. The rules must include an appeals
 1224  process.
 1225         Section 15. Subsection (3) of section 409.988, Florida
 1226  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1227         409.988 Lead agency duties; general provisions.—
 1228         (3) SERVICES.—
 1229         (a) A lead agency must provide dependent children with
 1230  services that are supported by research or that are recognized
 1231  as best practices in the child welfare field. The agency shall
 1232  give priority to the use of services that are evidence-based and
 1233  trauma-informed and may also provide other innovative services,
 1234  including, but not limited to, family-centered and cognitive
 1235  behavioral interventions designed to mitigate out-of-home
 1236  placements.
 1237         (b)Lead agencies shall ensure the availability of a full
 1238  array of services to address the complex needs of all children,
 1239  including teens, and caregivers served within their local system
 1240  of care and that sufficient flexibility exists within the
 1241  service array to adequately match services to the unique
 1242  characteristics of families served, including the ages of the
 1243  children, cultural considerations, and parental choice.
 1244         (c)The department shall annually complete an evaluation of
 1245  the service array adequacies, the engagement of trauma-informed
 1246  and evidenced-based programming, and the impact of available
 1247  services on outcomes for the children served by the lead
 1248  agencies and any subcontracted providers of lead agencies. The
 1249  evaluation report shall be submitted to the Governor, the
 1250  President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
 1251  Representatives by December 31 of each year.
 1252         (d)The department shall adopt rules to implement this
 1253  section.
 1254         Section 16. Paragraph (s) of subsection (2) of section
 1255  39.202, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1256         39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
 1257  child abuse or neglect.—
 1258         (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
 1259  records, excluding the name of the reporter which shall be
 1260  released only as provided in subsection (5), shall be granted
 1261  only to the following persons, officials, and agencies:
 1262         (s) Persons with whom the department is seeking to place
 1263  the child or to whom placement has been granted, including
 1264  foster parents for whom an approved home study has been
 1265  conducted, the designee of a licensed residential child-caring
 1266  agency defined group home described in s. 409.175 s. 39.523, an
 1267  approved relative or nonrelative with whom a child is placed
 1268  pursuant to s. 39.402, preadoptive parents for whom a favorable
 1269  preliminary adoptive home study has been conducted, adoptive
 1270  parents, or an adoption entity acting on behalf of preadoptive
 1271  or adoptive parents.
 1272         Section 17. Subsection (1) of section 39.302, Florida
 1273  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1274         39.302 Protective investigations of institutional child
 1275  abuse, abandonment, or neglect.—
 1276         (1) The department shall conduct a child protective
 1277  investigation of each report of institutional child abuse,
 1278  abandonment, or neglect. Upon receipt of a report that alleges
 1279  that an employee or agent of the department, or any other entity
 1280  or person covered by s. 39.01(33) or (48) s. 39.01(32) or (47),
 1281  acting in an official capacity, has committed an act of child
 1282  abuse, abandonment, or neglect, the department shall initiate a
 1283  child protective investigation within the timeframe established
 1284  under s. 39.201(5) and notify the appropriate state attorney,
 1285  law enforcement agency, and licensing agency, which shall
 1286  immediately conduct a joint investigation, unless independent
 1287  investigations are more feasible. When conducting investigations
 1288  or having face-to-face interviews with the child, investigation
 1289  visits shall be unannounced unless it is determined by the
 1290  department or its agent that unannounced visits threaten the
 1291  safety of the child. If a facility is exempt from licensing, the
 1292  department shall inform the owner or operator of the facility of
 1293  the report. Each agency conducting a joint investigation is
 1294  entitled to full access to the information gathered by the
 1295  department in the course of the investigation. A protective
 1296  investigation must include an interview with the child’s parent
 1297  or legal guardian. The department shall make a full written
 1298  report to the state attorney within 3 working days after making
 1299  the oral report. A criminal investigation shall be coordinated,
 1300  whenever possible, with the child protective investigation of
 1301  the department. Any interested person who has information
 1302  regarding the offenses described in this subsection may forward
 1303  a statement to the state attorney as to whether prosecution is
 1304  warranted and appropriate. Within 15 days after the completion
 1305  of the investigation, the state attorney shall report the
 1306  findings to the department and shall include in the report a
 1307  determination of whether or not prosecution is justified and
 1308  appropriate in view of the circumstances of the specific case.
 1309         Section 18. Subsection (1) of section 39.524, Florida
 1310  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1311         39.524 Safe-harbor placement.—
 1312         (1) Except as provided in s. 39.407 or s. 985.801, a
 1313  dependent child 6 years of age or older who has been found to be
 1314  a victim of sexual exploitation as defined in s. 39.01(70)(g) s.
 1315  39.01(69)(g) must be assessed for placement in a safe house or
 1316  safe foster home as provided in s. 409.1678 using the initial
 1317  screening and assessment instruments provided in s. 409.1754(1).
 1318  If such placement is determined to be appropriate for the child
 1319  as a result of this assessment, the child may be placed in a
 1320  safe house or safe foster home, if one is available. However,
 1321  the child may be placed in another setting, if the other setting
 1322  is more appropriate to the child’s needs or if a safe house or
 1323  safe foster home is unavailable, as long as the child’s
 1324  behaviors are managed so as not to endanger other children
 1325  served in that setting.
 1326         Section 19. Subsection (7) of section 39.6013, Florida
 1327  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1328         39.6013 Case plan amendments.—
 1329         (7) Amendments must include service interventions that are
 1330  the least intrusive into the life of the parent and child, must
 1331  focus on clearly defined objectives, and must provide the most
 1332  efficient path to quick reunification or permanent placement
 1333  given the circumstances of the case and the child’s need for
 1334  safe and proper care. A copy of the amended plan must be
 1335  immediately given to the persons identified in s. 39.6011(5) s.
 1336  39.6011(6)(b).
 1337         Section 20. Paragraph (p) of subsection (4) of section
 1338  394.495, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1339         394.495 Child and adolescent mental health system of care;
 1340  programs and services.—
 1341         (4) The array of services may include, but is not limited
 1342  to:
 1343         (p) Trauma-informed services for children who have suffered
 1344  sexual exploitation as defined in s. 39.01(70)(g) s.
 1345  39.01(69)(g).
 1346         Section 21. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) and paragraphs
 1347  (a) and (b) of subsection (6) of section 409.1678, Florida
 1348  Statutes, are amended to read:
 1349         409.1678 Specialized residential options for children who
 1350  are victims of sexual exploitation.—
 1351         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
 1352         (c) “Sexually exploited child” means a child who has
 1353  suffered sexual exploitation as defined in s. 39.01(70)(g) s.
 1354  39.01(69)(g) and is ineligible for relief and benefits under the
 1355  federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 22 U.S.C. ss. 7101
 1356  et seq.
 1357         (6) LOCATION INFORMATION.—
 1358         (a) Information about the location of a safe house, safe
 1359  foster home, or other residential facility serving victims of
 1360  sexual exploitation, as defined in s. 39.01(70)(g) s.
 1361  39.01(69)(g), which is held by an agency, as defined in s.
 1362  119.011, is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s.
 1363  24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This exemption applies
 1364  to such confidential and exempt information held by an agency
 1365  before, on, or after the effective date of the exemption.
 1366         (b) Information about the location of a safe house, safe
 1367  foster home, or other residential facility serving victims of
 1368  sexual exploitation, as defined in s. 39.01(70)(g) s.
 1369  39.01(69)(g), may be provided to an agency, as defined in s.
 1370  119.011, as necessary to maintain health and safety standards
 1371  and to address emergency situations in the safe house, safe
 1372  foster home, or other residential facility.
 1373         Section 22. Subsection (5) of section 960.065, Florida
 1374  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1375         960.065 Eligibility for awards.—
 1376         (5) A person is not ineligible for an award pursuant to
 1377  paragraph (2)(a), paragraph (2)(b), or paragraph (2)(c) if that
 1378  person is a victim of sexual exploitation of a child as defined
 1379  in s. 39.01(70)(g) s. 39.01(69)(g).
 1380         Section 23. Subsection (11) of section 1002.3305, Florida
 1381  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1382         1002.3305 College-Preparatory Boarding Academy Pilot
 1383  Program for at-risk students.—
 1384         (11) STUDENT HOUSING.—Notwithstanding s. 409.176 ss.
 1385  409.1677(3)(d) and 409.176 or any other provision of law, an
 1386  operator may house and educate dependent, at-risk youth in its
 1387  residential school for the purpose of facilitating the mission
 1388  of the program and encouraging innovative practices.
 1389         Section 24. Section 39.523, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
 1390         Section 25. Section 409.141, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
 1391         Section 26. Section 409.1676, Florida Statutes, is
 1392  repealed.
 1393         Section 27. Section 409.1677, Florida Statutes, is
 1394  repealed.
 1395         Section 28. Section 409.1679, Florida Statutes, is
 1396  repealed.
 1397         Section 29. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016.