Florida Senate - 2017                CS for CS for CS for SB 200
       By the Committees on Rules; Judiciary; and Children, Families,
       and Elder Affairs; and Senators Passidomo and Torres
       595-04437-17                                           2017200c3
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to temporary respite care for a child;
    3         creating s. 409.1761, F.S.; providing legislative
    4         findings; providing definitions; authorizing qualified
    5         nonprofit organizations to establish programs to
    6         provide temporary respite care for children; providing
    7         duties and recordkeeping requirements for such
    8         organizations; providing screening requirements for
    9         certain persons; requiring notification to the
   10         Department of Children and Families under certain
   11         circumstances; authorizing a volunteer respite family
   12         to enter into a contract for care to provide temporary
   13         respite care for a child; specifying the duration of a
   14         contract for care; specifying the form and execution
   15         of the contract; specifying that a parent may revoke
   16         or withdraw the contract for care at any time;
   17         requiring the child to be returned immediately to the
   18         custody of the parent if the contract is revoked or
   19         withdrawn; specifying that the contract expires after
   20         a specified timeframe; prohibiting the contract from
   21         operating to deprive a parent of certain authority or
   22         from superseding certain court orders; providing
   23         notification requirements; providing applicability;
   24         providing an effective date.
   26  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   28         Section 1. Section 409.1761, Florida Statutes, is created
   29  to read:
   30         409.1761 Organizations providing temporary respite care for
   31  children not in the child welfare system.—The Legislature finds
   32  that in circumstances in which a parent of a minor child is
   33  temporarily unable to provide care for the child, but does not
   34  need the full support of the child welfare system, a less
   35  intrusive alternative to supervision by the department or
   36  involvement by the judiciary should be available.
   37         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   38         (a) “Parent” means the parent or parents who are required
   39  to sign the contract for care under subsection (4).
   40         (b) “Qualified association” means an association that
   41  publishes minimum best practice standards for operating a
   42  qualified nonprofit organization and establishes and requires
   43  compliance with those best practice standards.
   44         (c) “Qualified nonprofit organization” or “organization”
   45  means a private Florida nonprofit organization that:
   46         1. Is in compliance with the best practice standards of a
   47  qualified association.
   48         2. Assists parents by providing temporary respite care for
   49  children through the use of volunteer respite families who are
   50  under a contract for care.
   51         3. Provides assistance and support to parents and training
   52  and support for volunteer respite families.
   53         (d)“Temporary respite care” means care provided to a child
   54  by a volunteer respite family in its home for a period of time
   55  not to exceed 90 days in order to provide temporary relief to
   56  parents who are unable to care for a child.
   57         (e) “Volunteer respite family” means an individual or a
   58  family that voluntarily agrees to provide, without compensation,
   59  temporary care for up to 90 days for a child under a contract
   60  for care with the child’s parent with the assistance of a
   61  qualified nonprofit organization.
   62         (2)ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PROGRAM.—A qualified nonprofit
   63  organization may establish a program that assists parents in
   64  providing temporary respite care for a child by a volunteer
   65  respite family.
   66         (a)A child is eligible for the program if he or she:
   67         1.Has not been removed from his or her parent due to abuse
   68  or neglect and placed in the custody of the department;
   69         2.Is not the subject of an ongoing department
   70  investigation of abuse, abandonment, or neglect;
   71         3.Has not been the subject of a verified report of abuse,
   72  abandonment, or neglect; or
   73         4.Is not the subject of an open court in-home dependency
   74  case and under protective supervision of the department.
   75         (b)The department may refer a child to an organization’s
   76  program if the department determines that the needs of the child
   77  or the needs of the child’s parent do not require an out-of-home
   78  safety plan pursuant to s. 39.301(9) or other formal involvement
   79  of the department and that the child and the child’s family may
   80  benefit from the temporary respite care and services provided by
   81  the organization.
   83  qualified nonprofit organization that provides temporary respite
   84  care to children under this section shall:
   85         (a)Establish its program under an agreement or
   86  certification with a qualified association.
   87         (b)Verify that the department has conducted background
   88  screenings using the level 2 standards for screening under s.
   89  409.175 and chapter 435 of the following persons before such
   90  persons have contact with a child:
   91         1.Employees of the organization who will have direct
   92  contact with children while assisting parents in providing
   93  temporary respite care.
   94         2.Members of the volunteer respite family and persons
   95  residing in the volunteer respite home who are 12 years of age
   96  or older. However, members of a volunteer respite family and
   97  persons residing in the volunteer respite home who are between
   98  the ages of 12 years and 18 years are not required to be
   99  fingerprinted but must be screened for delinquency records.
  100         (c) Conduct a home study, a home safety assessment and
  101  complete a home safety checklist approved by the qualifying
  102  association of all prospective volunteer respite families to
  103  ensure that the family and home meet basic safety standards for
  104  the care of children.
  105         (d)Train all volunteer respite families. The training must
  106  include:
  107         1.A discussion of the rights, duties, and limitations in
  108  providing temporary respite care for a child;
  109         2.An overview of program processes, including intake
  110  triage processes;
  111         3.Working with third-party service providers, including
  112  schools and medical professionals;
  113         4.General safety requirements, including the prevention of
  114  sudden unexpected death syndrome, proper supervision of
  115  children, and water and pool safety;
  116         5.Instruction on appropriate and constructive disciplinary
  117  practices, including the prohibition of physical punishment and
  118  discipline that is severe, humiliating, or frightening, or is
  119  associated with the deprivation of food, rest, or toileting;
  120         6.Abuse and maltreatment reporting requirements, including
  121  proper cooperation with the department;
  122         7.Confidentiality; and
  123         8.Building a healthy relationship with a child’s parent.
  124         (e)Be solely responsible for ongoing supervision of each
  125  child placed with a volunteer respite family.
  126         (f)Maintain records on each volunteer respite family and
  127  child served, including, but not limited to:
  128         1.The name and age of the child;
  129         2.The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and
  130  other contact information for the child’s parent;
  131         3.The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and
  132  other contact information for the child’s volunteer respite
  133  family;
  134         4.A copy of the contract for care executed pursuant to
  135  this section; and
  136         5.Proof that the volunteer respite family has met all the
  137  personnel screening requirements conducted by the department
  138  under this section.
  139         (g)Provide all of the following information to the
  140  department on an annual basis:
  141         1.The name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, and
  142  other contact information of the organization.
  143         2.The name of the organization’s director.
  144         3.The names and addresses of the officers and members of
  145  the governing body.
  146         4.The total number of volunteer respite families currently
  147  working with the organization and the total number of children
  148  who were provided temporary respite care in the previous fiscal
  149  year.
  150         5.A copy of its agreement or certification with a
  151  qualified association for the purpose of providing volunteer
  152  respite services pursuant to this section.
  153         (h)Provide the qualified association with data and other
  154  information as required by the qualified association to
  155  demonstrate that the qualified nonprofit organization is in
  156  substantial compliance with the minimum best practice standards
  157  published by the qualified association.
  158         (i)Immediately notify the department of any suspected or
  159  confirmed incident of abuse, neglect, or other maltreatment of a
  160  child while in the care of a volunteer respite family.
  161         (j)Make available at any time to the department or
  162  qualified association for inspection all records relating to the
  163  program and children cared for by the organization’s volunteer
  164  respite families to ensure compliance with this section and
  165  standards established by the association with which the
  166  organization is affiliated.
  167         (4) CONTRACT FOR CARE.—Before a volunteer respite family
  168  cares for a child, there must be a written contract for care as
  169  provided in this subsection. The contract for care may not
  170  exceed 90 days in duration and may be extended only for one 90
  171  day period.
  172         (a)The contract must be executed before a volunteer
  173  respite family cares for a child. Under a contract for care, the
  174  parent may delegate to the volunteer respite family any of the
  175  powers regarding the care and custody of the child, except the
  176  power to consent to the marriage or adoption of the child, the
  177  performance or inducement of an abortion on the child, or the
  178  termination of parental rights regarding the child.
  179  Authorization for the volunteer respite family to consent to
  180  routine and emergency medical care on behalf of the parent may
  181  be granted only upon the separate consent of the parent pursuant
  182  to s. 743.0645. The contract for care must at a minimum be
  183  signed by:
  184         1.The parent or both parents if both parents are living
  185  and have shared responsibility and timesharing of the child
  186  pursuant to law or a court order, except in a situation of
  187  urgent need. A “situation of urgent need” is defined as a
  188  sudden, unexpected, or impending situation in which the
  189  qualified nonprofit organization reasonably believes that urgent
  190  action is needed to prevent a worsening of the situation in
  191  order to protect the health, safety, and best interests of the
  192  child. If the parents do not have shared parental responsibility
  193  and timesharing of the child, the parent having sole parental
  194  responsibility has the authority to enter the contract for care.
  195  The qualified nonprofit organization shall make reasonable
  196  efforts to determine if there is a parent without parental
  197  responsibility and timesharing having rights to the child. The
  198  organization shall obtain last known contact information for
  199  that parent and contact that parent via telephone at the time of
  200  placement. The qualified nonprofit organization must document
  201  all attempts to contact that parent. If the parent without
  202  parental responsibility and timesharing cannot be located or
  203  reached at the time of placement, the qualified nonprofit
  204  organization may place the child with a volunteer respite
  205  family, but shall assist the parent having sole parental
  206  responsibility with notifying the other parent and timesharing
  207  in writing of the placement. Such notification must be provided
  208  by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the parent
  209  without parental responsibility and timesharing at his or her
  210  last known address within 5 days after the contract for care is
  211  signed. Notification to a parent whose parental rights have been
  212  terminated is not required.
  213         2.All members of the volunteer respite family who are 18
  214  years of age or older.
  215         3.The representative of the organization who assisted with
  216  the child’s placement with the volunteer respite family.
  217         4.Two subscribing witnesses.
  218         (b)The contract for care must include:
  219         1.A statement that the contract does not deprive the
  220  parent of any parental or legal authority regarding the care and
  221  custody of the child or supersede a court order regarding the
  222  care and custody of the child.
  223         2.A statement that the contract may be revoked or
  224  withdrawn at any time by the parent and that custody of the
  225  child shall be returned to the parent as soon as reasonably
  226  possible.
  227         3.The basic services and accommodations provided by the
  228  volunteer respite family and organization.
  229         4.Identification of the child, the parent, and the members
  230  of the volunteer respite family, including contact information
  231  for all parties.
  232         5.Identification of the organization, including contact
  233  information for the organization and the representative who
  234  assisted with the child’s placement.
  235         6.A statement regarding disciplinary procedures that are
  236  used by the volunteer respite family and expectations regarding
  237  interactions between the volunteer respite family and the child.
  238  The statement must identify the child’s known behavioral or
  239  emotional issues and how such issues are addressed by the
  240  child’s parent.
  241         7.A statement of the minimum expected frequency of contact
  242  between the parent and the child, expectations for the volunteer
  243  respite family to facilitate any reasonable request for contact
  244  with the child outside of the established schedule, and the
  245  minimum expected frequency of contact between the parent and the
  246  volunteer respite family to discuss the child’s well-being and
  247  health.
  248         8.A statement regarding the child’s educational needs,
  249  including the name and address of the child’s school and the
  250  names of the child’s teachers.
  251         9.A list of extracurricular, religious, or community
  252  activities and programs in which the child participates.
  253         10.A list of any special dietary or nutritional
  254  requirements of the child.
  255         11.A description of the child’s medical needs, including
  256  any diagnoses, allergies, therapies, treatments, or medications
  257  prescribed to the child and the expectations for the volunteer
  258  respite family to address such medical needs.
  259         12.A statement that the volunteer respite family agrees to
  260  act in the best interests of the child and to consider all
  261  reasonable wishes and expectations of the parent concerning the
  262  care and comfort of the child.
  263         13.A statement that all appropriate members of the
  264  volunteer respite family have successfully met the personnel
  265  screening requirements pursuant to paragraph (3)(b).
  266         14. An expiration date for each contract for care.
  267         15. A statement that the goal of the organization,
  268  volunteer respite family, and parent is to return the child
  269  receiving temporary respite care to the parent as soon as the
  270  situation requiring such care has been resolved.
  271         16. A requirement that the volunteer respite family
  272  immediately notify the parent of the child’s need for medical
  273  care.
  274         (c) The parent may revoke or withdraw the contract for care
  275  at any time, and the child shall be returned immediately to the
  276  custody of the parent. A contract for care executed under this
  277  section may not exceed 90 days in duration, may only be extended
  278  for one 90-day period, and may not operate to deprive a parent
  279  of any parental or legal authority regarding the care and
  280  custody of the child or supersede a court order regarding the
  281  care and custody of the child.
  282         (5) NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.—Any organization that is
  283  registered with a qualified association shall immediately notify
  284  the department if it has in its care:
  285         (a)A child with a serious developmental disability or a
  286  physical, emotional, or mental handicap for which the
  287  organization is not qualified or able to provide care; or
  288         (b)A child who has not been returned to a parent when the
  289  contract expires.
  290         (6) APPLICABILITY.—Placement of a child under this section
  291  without additional evidence does not constitute abandonment,
  292  abuse, or neglect, as defined in s. 39.01, and is not considered
  293  to be placement of the child in foster care. However, this
  294  section does not prevent the department or a law enforcement
  295  agency from investigating allegations of abandonment, abuse,
  296  neglect, unlawful desertion of a child, or human trafficking.
  297         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.