Florida Senate - 2017                              CS for SB 200
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
       Senators Passidomo and Torres
       586-03329-17                                           2017200c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the temporary respite care of a
    3         child; creating s. 409.1761, F.S.; providing
    4         legislative findings; providing definitions;
    5         authorizing qualified nonprofit organizations to
    6         establish programs to provide temporary respite care
    7         for children; providing duties and recordkeeping
    8         requirements for such organizations; providing
    9         screening requirements for certain persons; requiring
   10         notification to the Department of Children and
   11         Families under certain circumstances; authorizing a
   12         volunteer respite family to enter into a contract for
   13         care to provide temporary respite care for a child;
   14         specifying the duration of a contract for care;
   15         specifying the form and execution of the contract;
   16         authorizing inspection of documents by the department;
   17         providing eligibility; authorizing the department to
   18         refer a child for such care; providing applicability;
   19         providing an effective date.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Section 409.1761, Florida Statutes, is created
   24  to read:
   25         409.1761 Organizations providing temporary respite care for
   26  children not in the child welfare system.—The Legislature finds
   27  that in circumstances in which a parent of a minor child is
   28  temporarily unable to provide care for the child, but does not
   29  need the full support of the child welfare system, a less
   30  intrusive alternative to supervision by the department or
   31  involvement by the judiciary should be available.
   32         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   33         (a) “Qualified association” means an association that:
   34         1. Publishes and requires compliance with its standards and
   35  files copies thereof with the department as provided in s.
   36  409.176(5)(b); and
   37         2. Establishes, publishes, and requires compliance with
   38  best practice standards for operating a program that assists
   39  parents in providing temporary respite care for a child by a
   40  volunteer respite family.
   41         (b) “Qualified nonprofit organization” or “organization”
   42  means a Florida private nonprofit organization that assists
   43  parents in providing temporary respite care for a child by a
   44  volunteer respite family under an agreement with a qualified
   45  association.
   46         (c)“Temporary respite care” means care provided to a child
   47  by a volunteer respite family in their home for a period of time
   48  that is not to exceed 90 days in order to provide temporary
   49  relief to parents who are unable to care for a child.
   50         (d) “Volunteer respite family” means an individual or a
   51  family who voluntarily agrees to provide, without compensation,
   52  temporary care for a period of time no longer than 90 days for a
   53  child under a contract for care with the child’s parent with the
   54  assistance of a qualified nonprofit organization.
   55         (2)ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PROGRAM.—A qualified nonprofit
   56  organization may establish a program that assists parents in
   57  providing temporary respite care for a child by a volunteer
   58  respite family.
   59         (a)A child is eligible for the program if he or she:
   60         1.Has not been removed from the child’s parent due to
   61  abuse or neglect and placed in the custody of the department;
   62         2.Is not the subject of an ongoing department
   63  investigation of abuse, abandonment, or neglect;
   64         3.Has not been the subject of a verified report of abuse,
   65  abandonment or neglect; or
   66         4.Is not the subject of an open court in-home dependency
   67  case and under protective supervision of the department.
   68         (b)Placement of a child under this section, in the absence
   69  of evidence to the contrary, does not constitute abuse, neglect,
   70  or abandonment as defined in s. 39.01 and is not considered to
   71  be placement of the child in foster care. However, the
   72  department may refer a child to an organization’s program if the
   73  department determines that the needs of the child or the needs
   74  of the child’s parent do not require an out-of-home safety plan
   75  pursuant to s. 39.301(9) or other formal involvement of the
   76  department and that the child and the child’s family may benefit
   77  from the temporary respite care and services provided by the
   78  organization.
   80  qualified nonprofit organization that provides temporary respite
   81  care to children under this section shall:
   82         (a)Establish its program under an agreement or
   83  certification with a qualified association.
   84         (b)Verify that the department has conducted background
   85  screenings under s. 409.175 and chapter 435 of the following
   86  persons before such persons have contact with a child:
   87         1.Employees of the organization who will have direct
   88  contact with children while assisting parents in providing
   89  temporary respite care.
   90         2.Members of the volunteer respite family and persons
   91  residing in the volunteer respite home who are 12 years of age
   92  or older. However, members of a volunteer respite family and
   93  persons residing in the volunteer respite home who are between
   94  the ages of 12 years and 18 years are not required to be
   95  fingerprinted but must be screened for delinquency records.
   96         (c)Train all volunteer respite families. The training must
   97  include:
   98         1.A discussion of the rights, duties, and limitations in
   99  providing temporary respite care for a child;
  100         2.An overview of program processes, including intake
  101  triage processes;
  102         3.Working with third-party service providers, including
  103  schools and medical professionals;
  104         4.General safety requirements, including the prevention of
  105  sudden unexpected death syndrome, proper supervision of
  106  children, and water and pool safety;
  107         5.Instruction on appropriate and constructive disciplinary
  108  practices, including the prohibition of physical punishment and
  109  discipline that is severe, humiliating, or frightening, or is
  110  associated with the deprivation of food, rest, or toileting;
  111         6.Abuse and maltreatment reporting requirements, including
  112  proper cooperation with the department;
  113         7.Confidentiality; and
  114         8.Building a healthy relationship with a child’s parents.
  115         (d)Be solely responsible for ongoing supervision of each
  116  child placed with a volunteer respite family.
  117         (e)Maintain records on each volunteer respite family and
  118  child served, including, but not limited to:
  119         1.The name and age of the child;
  120         2.The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and
  121  other contact information for the child’s parents;
  122         3.The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and
  123  other contact information for the child’s volunteer respite
  124  family;
  125         4.A copy of the contract for care executed pursuant to
  126  this section; and
  127         5.Proof that the volunteer respite family has met all the
  128  personnel screening requirements conducted by the department
  129  under this section.
  130         (f)Provide the following information to the department on
  131  an annual basis:
  132         1.The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and
  133  other contact information of the organization.
  134         2.The name of the organization’s director.
  135         3.The names and addresses of the officers and members of
  136  the governing body.
  137         4.The total number of volunteer respite families currently
  138  working with the organization and the total number of children
  139  who were provided temporary respite care in the previous fiscal
  140  year.
  141         5.A copy of its agreement or certification with a
  142  qualified association for the purpose of providing volunteer
  143  respite services pursuant to this section.
  144         (g)Provide the qualified association with data and other
  145  information as required by the qualified association to
  146  demonstrate that the qualified nonprofit organization is in
  147  substantial compliance with the minimum best practice standards
  148  published by the qualified association.
  149         (h)Immediately notify the department of any suspected or
  150  confirmed incident of abuse, neglect, or other maltreatment of a
  151  child while in the care of a volunteer respite family.
  152         (i)Make available to the department or qualified
  153  association at any time for inspection all records relating to
  154  the program and children cared for by the organization’s
  155  volunteer respite families to ensure compliance with this
  156  section and standards established by any entity with which the
  157  organization is affiliated.
  158         (4) CONTRACT FOR CARE.—All parents of a child must enter
  159  into a written contract with the qualified association for the
  160  provision of temporary respite care of the child under this
  161  section. The contract for care may not exceed 90 days in
  162  duration and may not be extended.
  163         (a)The contract must be executed before, or at the time,
  164  the child is placed with a volunteer respite family and
  165  organization. Through the contract for care, the parent may
  166  delegate to the volunteer respite family any of the powers
  167  regarding the care and custody of the child, except the power to
  168  consent to the marriage or adoption of the child, the
  169  performance or inducement of an abortion on the child, or the
  170  termination of parental rights regarding the child.
  171  Authorization for the volunteer respite family to consent to
  172  routine and emergency medical care on behalf of the parent shall
  173  be granted only upon the separate consent of the parent pursuant
  174  to s. 743.0645. The contract for care must at a minimum be
  175  signed by:
  176         1.The parent or both parents if both parents are living
  177  and have shared responsibility and timesharing of the child
  178  pursuant to law or a court order. Notification to a parent whose
  179  parental rights have been terminated is not required.
  180         2.All members of the volunteer respite family who are 18
  181  years of age or older.
  182         3.The representative of the organization who assisted with
  183  the child’s placement with the volunteer respite family.
  184         4.Two subscribing witnesses.
  185         (b)The contract for care must include:
  186         1.A statement that the contract does not deprive the
  187  parent of any parental or legal authority regarding the care and
  188  custody of the child or supersede a court order regarding the
  189  care and custody of the child.
  190         2.A statement that the contract may be revoked or
  191  withdrawn at any time by the parent and that custody of the
  192  child shall be returned to the parent as soon as reasonably
  193  possible.
  194         3.The basic services and accommodations provided by the
  195  volunteer respite family and organization.
  196         4.Identification of the child, the parent, and the members
  197  of the volunteer respite family, including contact information
  198  for all parties.
  199         5.Identification of the organization, including contact
  200  information for the organization and the representative who
  201  assisted with the child’s placement.
  202         6.A statement regarding disciplinary procedures that are
  203  used by the volunteer respite family and expectations regarding
  204  interactions between the volunteer respite family and the child.
  205  The statement must identify the child’s known behavioral or
  206  emotional issues and how such issues are addressed by the
  207  child’s parent.
  208         7.A statement of the minimum expected frequency of contact
  209  between the parent and the child, expectations for the volunteer
  210  respite family to facilitate any reasonable request for contact
  211  with the child outside of the established schedule, and the
  212  minimum expected frequency of contact between the parent and the
  213  volunteer respite family to discuss the child’s well-being and
  214  health.
  215         8.A statement regarding the child’s educational needs,
  216  including the name and address of the child’s school and the
  217  names of the child’s teachers.
  218         9.A list of extracurricular, religious, or community
  219  activities and programs in which the child participates.
  220         10.A list of any special dietary or nutritional
  221  requirements of the child.
  222         11.A description of the child’s medical needs, including
  223  any diagnoses, allergies, therapies, treatments, or medications
  224  prescribed to the child and the expectations for the volunteer
  225  respite family to address such medical needs.
  226         12.A statement that the volunteer respite family agrees to
  227  act in the best interests of the child and to consider all
  228  reasonable wishes and expectations of the parent concerning the
  229  care and comfort of the child.
  230         13.A statement that all appropriate members of the
  231  volunteer respite family have successfully met the personnel
  232  screening requirements pursuant to paragraph (3)(b).
  233         14.An expiration date for each contract for care, which
  234  may not exceed 90 days in duration.
  235         15.A statement that the goal of the organization,
  236  volunteer respite family, and parent is to return the child
  237  receiving temporary respite care to the parent as soon as the
  238  situation requiring such care has been resolved.
  239         16.A requirement that the volunteer respite family
  240  immediately notify the parent of the child’s need for medical
  241  care.
  242         (c)The parent may revoke or withdraw the contract for care
  243  at any time, and the child shall be returned immediately to the
  244  custody of the parent. A contract for care executed under this
  245  section expires automatically after 90 days and may not operate
  246  to deprive a parent of any parental or legal authority regarding
  247  the care and custody of the child or supersede a court order
  248  regarding the care and custody of the child.
  249         (d)If all parents do not sign the contract for care, the
  250  organization must, prior to the child’s placement with a
  251  voluntary respite family:
  252         1.Secure a notarized consent for placement with a
  253  volunteer respite family executed by the parent who did not sign
  254  the contract for care. The Consent for Placement with Volunteer
  255  Respite Family must contain each term set forth in the contract
  256  for care as required in this subsection and an advisory that the
  257  parent may elect to object to the contract for care and take
  258  custody of the child pursuant to the provision of Florida law;
  259  or
  260         2.Personally serve the parent who did not sign the
  261  contract for care with a petition for dependency pursuant to
  262  chapter 39 setting forth grounds to establish that the parent
  263  has abandoned, abused, or neglected the child.
  264         (5) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.Any organization that is
  265  registered with a qualified association shall immediately notify
  266  the department if it has in its care:
  267         (a)A child with a serious developmental disability or a
  268  physical, emotional, or mental handicap for which the
  269  organization is not qualified or able to provide care; or
  270         (b)A child who has not been returned to a parent when the
  271  contract expires.
  272         (6) APPLICABILITY.—Placement of a child under this section
  273  without additional evidence does not constitute abandonment,
  274  abuse, or neglect, as defined in s. 39.01, and is not considered
  275  to be placement of the child in foster care. However, this
  276  section does not prevent the department or a law enforcement
  277  agency from investigating allegations of abandonment, abuse,
  278  neglect, unlawful desertion of a child, or human trafficking.
  279         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.