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

       The Committee on Education (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, 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.
   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 home
  134  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 released to 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.
  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.