Florida Senate - 2019                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 318
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs
       (Montford) recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Subsections (2) and (5) of section 39.202,
    6  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
    7         39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
    8  child abuse or neglect.—
    9         (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
   10  records, excluding the name of the reporter and the names of
   11  instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2), school
   12  administrators as defined in s. 1012.01(3)(c), and educational
   13  support employees as described in s. 1012.01(6)(a) who have
   14  provided information during a protective investigation which
   15  shall be released only as provided in subsection (5), shall be
   16  granted only to the following persons, officials, and agencies:
   17         (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of
   18  the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons
   19  with Disabilities, the Office of Early Learning, or county
   20  agencies responsible for carrying out:
   21         1. Child or adult protective investigations;
   22         2. Ongoing child or adult protective services;
   23         3. Early intervention and prevention services;
   24         4. Healthy Start services;
   25         5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes,
   26  child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapter 393,
   27  family day care homes, providers who receive school readiness
   28  funding under part VI of chapter 1002, or other homes used to
   29  provide for the care and welfare of children;
   30         6. Employment screening for caregivers in residential group
   31  homes; or
   32         7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided
   33  by certified domestic violence centers working at the
   34  department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients.
   36  Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice
   37  responsible for the provision of services to children, pursuant
   38  to chapters 984 and 985.
   39         (b) Criminal justice agencies of appropriate jurisdiction.
   40         (c) The state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the
   41  child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred.
   42         (d) The parent or legal custodian of any child who is
   43  alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and the
   44  child, and their attorneys, including any attorney representing
   45  a child in civil or criminal proceedings. This access must shall
   46  be made available no later than 60 days after the department
   47  receives the initial report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
   48  However, any information otherwise made confidential or exempt
   49  by law may shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
   50         (e) Any person alleged in the report as having caused the
   51  abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child. This access must
   52  shall be made available no later than 60 days after the
   53  department receives the initial report of abuse, abandonment, or
   54  neglect and, when the alleged perpetrator is not a parent, must
   55  shall be limited to information involving the protective
   56  investigation only and may shall not include any information
   57  relating to subsequent dependency proceedings. However, any
   58  information otherwise made confidential or exempt by law may
   59  shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
   60         (f) A court upon its finding that access to such records
   61  may be necessary for the determination of an issue before the
   62  court; however, such access must shall be limited to inspection
   63  in camera, unless the court determines that public disclosure of
   64  the information contained therein is necessary for the
   65  resolution of an issue then pending before it.
   66         (g) A grand jury, by subpoena, upon its determination that
   67  access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its
   68  official business.
   69         (h) Any appropriate official of the department or the
   70  Agency for Persons with Disabilities who is responsible for:
   71         1. Administration or supervision of the department’s
   72  program for the prevention, investigation, or treatment of child
   73  abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, neglect, or
   74  exploitation of a vulnerable adult, when carrying out his or her
   75  official function;
   76         2. Taking appropriate administrative action concerning an
   77  employee of the department or the agency who is alleged to have
   78  perpetrated child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse,
   79  neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult; or
   80         3. Employing and continuing employment of personnel of the
   81  department or the agency.
   82         (i) Any person authorized by the department who is engaged
   83  in the use of such records or information for bona fide
   84  research, statistical, or audit purposes. Such individual or
   85  entity shall enter into a privacy and security agreement with
   86  the department and shall comply with all laws and rules
   87  governing the use of such records and information for research
   88  and statistical purposes. Information identifying the subjects
   89  of such records or information shall be treated as confidential
   90  by the researcher and may shall not be released in any form.
   91         (j) The Division of Administrative Hearings for purposes of
   92  any administrative challenge.
   93         (k) Any appropriate official of an a Florida advocacy
   94  council in this state investigating a report of known or
   95  suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; the Auditor
   96  General or the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
   97  Accountability for the purpose of conducting audits or
   98  examinations pursuant to law; or the guardian ad litem for the
   99  child.
  100         (l) Employees or agents of an agency of another state that
  101  has comparable jurisdiction to the jurisdiction described in
  102  paragraph (a).
  103         (m) The Public Employees Relations Commission for the sole
  104  purpose of obtaining evidence for appeals filed pursuant to s.
  105  447.207. Records may be released only after deletion of all
  106  information which specifically identifies persons other than the
  107  employee.
  108         (n) Employees or agents of the Department of Revenue
  109  responsible for child support enforcement activities.
  110         (o) Any person in the event of the death of a child
  111  determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
  112  Information identifying the person reporting abuse, abandonment,
  113  or neglect may shall not be released. Any information otherwise
  114  made confidential or exempt by law may shall not be released
  115  pursuant to this paragraph.
  116         (p) An employee of the local school district who is
  117  designated as a liaison between the school district and the
  118  department pursuant to an interagency agreement required under
  119  s. 39.0016 and the principal of a public school, private school,
  120  or charter school where the child is a student. Information
  121  contained in the records which the liaison or the principal
  122  determines are necessary for a school employee to effectively
  123  provide a student with educational services may be released to
  124  that employee.
  125         (q) An employee or agent of the Department of Education who
  126  is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of
  127  misconduct by a certified educator.
  128         (r) Staff of a children’s advocacy center that is
  129  established and operated under s. 39.3035.
  130         (s) A physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459,
  131  a psychologist licensed under chapter 490, or a mental health
  132  professional licensed under chapter 491 engaged in the care or
  133  treatment of the child.
  134         (t) Persons with whom the department is seeking to place
  135  the child or to whom placement has been granted, including
  136  foster parents for whom an approved home study has been
  137  conducted, the designee of a licensed residential group home
  138  described in s. 39.523, an approved relative or nonrelative with
  139  whom a child is placed pursuant to s. 39.402, preadoptive
  140  parents for whom a favorable preliminary adoptive home study has
  141  been conducted, adoptive parents, or an adoption entity acting
  142  on behalf of preadoptive or adoptive parents.
  143         (5)(a) The name of any person reporting child abuse,
  144  abandonment, or neglect may not be released to any person other
  145  than employees of the department responsible for child
  146  protective services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement,
  147  the child protection team, or the appropriate state attorney,
  148  without the written consent of the person reporting. This does
  149  not prohibit the subpoenaing of a person reporting child abuse,
  150  abandonment, or neglect when deemed necessary by the court, the
  151  state attorney, or the department, provided the fact that such
  152  person made the report is not disclosed. Any person who reports
  153  a case of child abuse or neglect may, at the time he or she
  154  makes the report, request that the department notify him or her
  155  that a child protective investigation occurred as a result of
  156  the report. Any person specifically listed in s. 39.201(1) who
  157  makes a report in his or her official capacity may also request
  158  a written summary of the outcome of the investigation. The
  159  department must shall mail such a notice to the reporter within
  160  10 days after completing the child protective investigation.
  161         (b) The names of instructional personnel as defined in s.
  162  1012.01(2), school administrators as defined in s.
  163  1012.01(3)(c), and educational support employees as described in
  164  s. 1012.01(6)(a) who provide information during a protective
  165  investigation may not be released to any person other than
  166  employees of the department responsible for child protective
  167  services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement, the child
  168  protection team, or the appropriate state attorney without the
  169  written consent of such personnel. This does not prohibit the
  170  subpoenaing of a person contributing information to an
  171  investigation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect when
  172  deemed necessary by the court, the state attorney, or the
  173  department. This paragraph is subject to the Open Government
  174  Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand
  175  repealed on October 2, 2024, unless reviewed and saved from
  176  repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
  177         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
  178  necessity that information that is exempt or confidential and
  179  exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a),
  180  Article I of the State Constitution remain exempt or
  181  confidential for instructional personnel as defined in s.
  182  1012.01(2), school administrators as defined in s.
  183  1012.01(3)(c), and educational support employees as described in
  184  s. 1012.01(6)(a) who have provided information during a
  185  protective investigation. Otherwise, sensitive personal
  186  information concerning school employees would be disclosed, and
  187  such employees may experience harassment or harm from family,
  188  fictive kin, or friends of the alleged victim of child abuse.
  189  Such harassment may inhibit such employees from providing
  190  important information to a child abuse investigation. The harm
  191  that would result from the release of such information
  192  substantially outweighs any public benefit that would be
  193  achieved by disclosure.
  194         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.
  196  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  197  And the title is amended as follows:
  198         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  199  and insert:
  200                        A bill to be entitled                      
  201         An act relating to child abuse, abandonment, and
  202         neglect; amending s. 39.202, F.S.; prohibiting the
  203         Department of Children and Families from releasing the
  204         names of school personnel who have provided
  205         information during a protective investigation except
  206         under certain circumstances; providing for future
  207         legislative review and repeal of the exemption;
  208         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
  209         providing a statement of public necessity; ; providing
  210         an effective date.