Florida Senate - 2019 COMMITTEE AMENDMENT Bill No. CS for SB 318 Ì637096GÎ637096 LEGISLATIVE ACTION Senate . House . . . . . ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— The Committee on Education (Montford) recommended the following: 1 Senate Amendment (with title amendment) 2 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, or other identifying information 11 with respect to, the reporter which shall be released only as 12 provided in subsection (5), shall be granted only to the 13 following persons, officials, and agencies: 14 (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of 15 the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons 16 with Disabilities, the Office of Early Learning, or county 17 agencies responsible for carrying out: 18 1. Child or adult protective investigations; 19 2. Ongoing child or adult protective services; 20 3. Early intervention and prevention services; 21 4. Healthy Start services; 22 5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes, 23 child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapter 393, 24 family day care homes, providers who receive school readiness 25 funding under part VI of chapter 1002, or other homes used to 26 provide for the care and welfare of children; 27 6. Employment screening for caregivers in residential group 28 homes; or 29 7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided 30 by certified domestic violence centers working at the 31 department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients. 32 33 Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice 34 responsible for the provision of services to children, pursuant 35 to chapters 984 and 985. 36 (b) Criminal justice agencies of appropriate jurisdiction. 37 (c) The state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the 38 child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred. 39 (d) The parent or legal custodian of any child who is 40 alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and the 41 child, and their attorneys, including any attorney representing 42 a child in civil or criminal proceedings. This access shall be 43 made available no later than 60 days after the department 44 receives the initial report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. 45 However, any information otherwise made confidential or exempt 46 by law shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph. 47 (e) Any person alleged in the report as having caused the 48 abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child. This access shall be 49 made available no later than 60 days after the department 50 receives the initial report of abuse, abandonment, or neglect 51 and, when the alleged perpetrator is not a parent, shall be 52 limited to information involving the protective investigation 53 only and shall not include any information relating to 54 subsequent dependency proceedings. However, any information 55 otherwise made confidential or exempt by law shall not be 56 released pursuant to this paragraph. 57 (f) A court upon its finding that access to such records 58 may be necessary for the determination of an issue before the 59 court; however, such access shall be limited to inspection in 60 camera, unless the court determines that public disclosure of 61 the information contained therein is necessary for the 62 resolution of an issue then pending before it. 63 (g) A grand jury, by subpoena, upon its determination that 64 access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its 65 official business. 66 (h) Any appropriate official of the department or the 67 Agency for Persons with Disabilities who is responsible for: 68 1. Administration or supervision of the department’s 69 program for the prevention, investigation, or treatment of child 70 abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, neglect, or 71 exploitation of a vulnerable adult, when carrying out his or her 72 official function; 73 2. Taking appropriate administrative action concerning an 74 employee of the department or the agency who is alleged to have 75 perpetrated child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, 76 neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult; or 77 3. Employing and continuing employment of personnel of the 78 department or the agency. 79 (i) Any person authorized by the department who is engaged 80 in the use of such records or information for bona fide 81 research, statistical, or audit purposes. Such individual or 82 entity shall enter into a privacy and security agreement with 83 the department and shall comply with all laws and rules 84 governing the use of such records and information for research 85 and statistical purposes. Information identifying the subjects 86 of such records or information shall be treated as confidential 87 by the researcher and shall not be released in any form. 88 (j) The Division of Administrative Hearings for purposes of 89 any administrative challenge. 90 (k) Any appropriate official of a Florida advocacy council 91 investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse, 92 abandonment, or neglect; the Auditor General or the Office of 93 Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability for the 94 purpose of conducting audits or examinations pursuant to law; or 95 the guardian ad litem for the child. 96 (l) Employees or agents of an agency of another state that 97 has comparable jurisdiction to the jurisdiction described in 98 paragraph (a). 99 (m) The Public Employees Relations Commission for the sole 100 purpose of obtaining evidence for appeals filed pursuant to s. 101 447.207. Records may be released only after deletion of all 102 information which specifically identifies persons other than the 103 employee. 104 (n) Employees or agents of the Department of Revenue 105 responsible for child support enforcement activities. 106 (o) Any person in the event of the death of a child 107 determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect. 108 Information identifying the person reporting abuse, abandonment, 109 or neglect shall not be released. Any information otherwise made 110 confidential or exempt by law shall not be released pursuant to 111 this paragraph. 112 (p) An employee of the local school district who is 113 designated as a liaison between the school district and the 114 department pursuant to an interagency agreement required under 115 s. 39.0016 and the principal of a public school, private school, 116 or charter school where the child is a student. Information 117 contained in the records which the liaison or the principal 118 determines are necessary for a school employee to effectively 119 provide a student with educational services may be released to 120 that employee. 121 (q) An employee or agent of the Department of Education who 122 is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of 123 misconduct by a certified educator. 124 (r) Staff of a children’s advocacy center that is 125 established and operated under s. 39.3035. 126 (s) A physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459, 127 a psychologist licensed under chapter 490, or a mental health 128 professional licensed under chapter 491 engaged in the care or 129 treatment of the child. 130 (t) Persons with whom the department is seeking to place 131 the child or to whom placement has been granted, including 132 foster parents for whom an approved home study has been 133 conducted,
the designee of a licensed residential group home134 described in s. 39.523,an approved relative or nonrelative with 135 whom a child is placed pursuant to s. 39.402, preadoptive 136 parents for whom a favorable preliminary adoptive home study has 137 been conducted, adoptive parents, or an adoption entity acting 138 on behalf of preadoptive or adoptive parents. 139 (5) The department may not release the name of, or other 140 identifying information with respect to, any person reporting 141 child abuse, abandonment, or neglect may not be releasedto any 142 person other than employees of the department responsible for 143 child protective services, the central abuse hotline, law 144 enforcement, the child protection team, or the appropriate state 145 attorney, without the written consent of the person reporting. 146 This does not prohibit the subpoenaing of a person reporting 147 child abuse, abandonment, or neglect when deemed necessary by 148 the court, the state attorney, or the department, provided the 149 fact that such person made the report is not disclosed. Any 150 person who reports a case of child abuse or neglect may, at the 151 time he or she makes the report, request that the department 152 notify him or her that a child protective investigation occurred 153 as a result of the report. Any person specifically listed in s. 154 39.201(1) who makes a report in his or her official capacity may 155 also request a written summary of the outcome of the 156 investigation. The department shall mail such a notice to the 157 reporter within 10 days after completing the child protective 158 investigation. 159 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 160 necessity to strengthen reporter-status protection by making all 161 reporter identifying information exempt from s. 119.07(1), 162 Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the State 163 Constitution. The current statutory scheme only protects the 164 name of the reporter who calls into the abuse hotline. By 165 protecting only the name of the reporter of child abuse, 166 abandonment, or neglect, the identity of the individual may be 167 discerned by other identifying information, thus rendering the 168 protection ineffective. Providing robust protections to 169 reporters of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect improves the 170 mandatory reporting scheme by ensuring that all instances of 171 suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect are reported to 172 the Department of Children and Families. Therefore, it is 173 necessary that individuals who are considered reporters under 174 the current statutory scheme have their identifying information 175 protected. 176 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019. 177 178 ================= T I T L E A M E N D M E N T ================ 179 And the title is amended as follows: 180 Delete everything before the enacting clause 181 and insert: 182 A bill to be entitled 183 An act relating to public records; amending s. 39.202, 184 F.S.; prohibiting the release of any identifying 185 information with respect to any person reporting child 186 abuse, abandonment, or neglect, except under certain 187 circumstances; making conforming changes; providing a 188 statement of public necessity; providing an effective 189 date.