Florida Senate - 2019                             CS for SB 1432
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
       Senator Baxley
       586-04038-19                                          20191432c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to foster parents; creating s.
    3         39.4087, F.S.; providing a short title; providing
    4         legislative intent; creating a bill of rights for
    5         foster parents; providing for mediation; requiring the
    6         Department of Children and Families to adopt rules;
    7         providing an effective date.
    9  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   11         Section 1. Section 39.4087, Florida Statutes, is created to
   12  read:
   13         39.4087Bill of rights for foster parents.—
   14         (1)SHORT TITLE.—This act may be cited as the “Foster
   15  Parent Bill of Rights.”
   16         (2)LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—The Legislature finds that foster
   17  parents providing care for children who are in the custody of
   18  the department play an integral, indispensable, and vital role
   19  in the state’s effort to care for dependent children displaced
   20  from their homes. The Legislature further finds that it is in
   21  the best interest of the state’s child welfare system to
   22  acknowledge foster parents as active and participating members
   23  of this system and to support them through a bill of rights for
   24  foster parents who care for children in the custody of the
   25  department through direct approval and placement by the
   26  department.
   27         (3)BILL OF RIGHTS.—To the extent not otherwise prohibited
   28  by general law, the department shall implement each of the
   29  following policies. With respect to the placement of any foster
   30  child with a foster parent that is contracted directly with the
   31  department, or through an agency that contracts with the
   32  department to place children in foster care:
   33         (a)The department shall treat a foster parent with
   34  dignity, respect, and trust, and shall consider a foster parent
   35  as a member of the professional team caring for foster children.
   36         (b)The department shall provide a foster parent with a
   37  clear explanation and understanding of the role of the
   38  department and the role of the members of the child’s birth
   39  family.
   40         (c)A foster parent may continue his or her own family
   41  values and routines.
   42         (d)A foster parent shall be provided training and support
   43  for the purposes of improving skills in providing daily care,
   44  meeting the special needs of the child in foster care, and
   45  having a better understanding of the rights and responsibilities
   46  of the foster parent.
   47         (e)Before the placement of a child in foster care, the
   48  department shall inform the foster parent of issues relative to
   49  the child that may jeopardize the health and safety of the
   50  foster family or alter the manner in which foster care should be
   51  administered.
   52         (f)The department shall fully disclose to the foster
   53  parent any information regarding past or pending charges of
   54  delinquency as a juvenile; criminal charges, if charged as an
   55  adult; and previous hospitalizations, whether due to mental or
   56  physical issues, of the foster child.
   57         (g)The department shall provide a means by which the
   58  foster parent can contact the department 24 hours a day, 7 days
   59  a week for the purpose of receiving assistance.
   60         (h)The department shall provide the foster parent timely
   61  and adequate financial reimbursement.
   62         (i)The department shall provide a clear, written
   63  explanation of the plan concerning the placement of a child in
   64  the foster parent’s home. For emergency placements, the
   65  department shall provide such explanation as soon as reasonably
   66  possible.
   67         (j)Before placement in a foster home, unless there is the
   68  need for an emergency placement, the department shall allow the
   69  foster parent to review written information concerning the child
   70  and allow the foster parent to assist in determining if the
   71  prospective foster family is the proper placement for the child.
   72         (k)The department shall allow the foster parent to refuse
   73  placement in his or her home, or to request, upon reasonable
   74  notice to the department, the removal of a child from his or her
   75  home for good reason, without threat of reprisal, unless
   76  otherwise stipulated by contract or policy.
   77         (l)The department shall inform a foster parent of
   78  decisions made by the court or the licensed child-placing agency
   79  concerning the child.
   80         (m)The department shall allow the foster parent to
   81  communicate with any person who works directly with the foster
   82  child, such as therapists, physicians, and teachers, with
   83  written consent of the person.
   84         (n)Unless otherwise prohibited by law, a foster parent has
   85  the right to full disclosure of all medical, psychological, and
   86  behavioral issues of the child in his or her care. The
   87  department shall provide all information regarding the child and
   88  the child’s family background and health history in a timely
   89  manner to the foster parent.
   90         (o)The department shall provide timely written
   91  notification of changes to the case plan or termination of the
   92  placement, and the reasons for the changes or termination of
   93  placement.
   94         (p)The department shall notify the foster parent of all
   95  court hearings and any meeting pertaining to the child in his or
   96  her care at least 7 days before such hearing or meeting. The
   97  foster parent is permitted to attend such hearings or meetings
   98  at the discretion of the court.
   99         (q)The department shall provide, upon request by the
  100  foster parent, information regarding the child’s progress after
  101  a child leaves foster care, to the extent the department is in
  102  possession of such information at the time of the request.
  103         (r)The department shall take into consideration whether a
  104  foster family is an appropriate permanent placement for the
  105  child, if the child has been in the foster family’s care for 12
  106  months or longer.
  107         (s)The department shall consider a former foster family as
  108  a placement option when a foster child reenters foster care.
  109         (t)A foster parent may take a period of respite where the
  110  department may not place foster children within the home upon
  111  reasonable notice to the department.
  112         (u)A foster parent may submit factually based written
  113  statements relevant to the case to the court, as provided by
  114  law.
  115         (4)MEDIATION.—The department shall provide a foster parent
  116  with information regarding the department’s mediation policy. A
  117  foster parent may file for mediation upon a violation of this
  118  section.
  119         (5)RULES.—The department shall adopt rules to implement
  120  this section.
  121         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.