Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 318
       By Senator Montford
       3-00582-19                                             2019318__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to child abuse, abandonment, and
    3         neglect; amending s. 39.201, F.S.; specifying that
    4         instructional personnel, school administrators, and
    5         educational support employees who follow certain
    6         policies when reporting or providing information
    7         related to child abuse, abandonment, or neglect are
    8         reporters; amending s. 39.202, F.S.; providing that
    9         any information that would identify a reporter in
   10         cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect may be
   11         released only under certain circumstances; providing
   12         that any information contained in reports or records
   13         relating to child abuse, abandonment, or neglect which
   14         would identify specified persons may be released only
   15         to specified individuals and entities; providing an
   16         effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. Present paragraphs (e) through (h) of subsection
   21  (1) of section 39.201, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as
   22  paragraphs (f) through (i), respectively, and a new paragraph
   23  (e) is added to that subsection, to read:
   24         39.201 Mandatory reports of child abuse, abandonment, or
   25  neglect; mandatory reports of death; central abuse hotline.—
   26         (1)
   27         (e) Any instructional personnel as defined in s.
   28  1012.01(2), school administrator as defined in s. 1012.01(3)(c),
   29  or educational support employee as defined in s. 1012.01(6)(a)
   30  who has followed a school-level or districtwide policy in
   31  reporting or providing information related to child abuse,
   32  abandonment, or neglect is a reporter for the purposes of s.
   33  39.202.
   34         Section 2. Subsections (2) and (5) of section 39.202,
   35  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   36         39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
   37  child abuse or neglect.—
   38         (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
   39  records, excluding the name of the reporter and any information
   40  that would identify the reporter, which shall be released only
   41  as provided in subsection (5), shall be granted only to the
   42  following persons, officials, and agencies:
   43         (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of
   44  the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons
   45  with Disabilities, the Office of Early Learning, or county
   46  agencies responsible for carrying out:
   47         1. Child or adult protective investigations;
   48         2. Ongoing child or adult protective services;
   49         3. Early intervention and prevention services;
   50         4. Healthy Start services;
   51         5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes,
   52  child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapter 393,
   53  family day care homes, providers who receive school readiness
   54  funding under part VI of chapter 1002, or other homes used to
   55  provide for the care and welfare of children;
   56         6. Employment screening for caregivers in residential group
   57  homes; or
   58         7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided
   59  by certified domestic violence centers working at the
   60  department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients.
   62  Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice
   63  responsible for the provision of services to children, pursuant
   64  to chapters 984 and 985.
   65         (b) Criminal justice agencies of appropriate jurisdiction.
   66         (c) The state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the
   67  child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred.
   68         (d) The parent or legal custodian of any child who is
   69  alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and the
   70  child, and their attorneys, including any attorney representing
   71  a child in civil or criminal proceedings. This access shall be
   72  made available no later than 60 days after the department
   73  receives the initial report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
   74  However, any information otherwise made confidential or exempt
   75  by law may shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
   76         (e) Any person alleged in the report as having caused the
   77  abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child. This access must
   78  shall be made available no later than 60 days after the
   79  department receives the initial report of abuse, abandonment, or
   80  neglect and, when the alleged perpetrator is not a parent, must
   81  shall be limited to information involving the protective
   82  investigation only and may not shall not include any information
   83  relating to subsequent dependency proceedings. However, any
   84  information otherwise made confidential or exempt by law may not
   85  shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
   86         (f) A court upon its finding that access to such records
   87  may be necessary for the determination of an issue before the
   88  court; however, such access must shall be limited to inspection
   89  in camera, unless the court determines that public disclosure of
   90  the information contained therein is necessary for the
   91  resolution of an issue then pending before it.
   92         (g) A grand jury, by subpoena, upon its determination that
   93  access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its
   94  official business.
   95         (h) Any appropriate official of the department or the
   96  Agency for Persons with Disabilities who is responsible for:
   97         1. Administration or supervision of the department’s
   98  program for the prevention, investigation, or treatment of child
   99  abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, neglect, or
  100  exploitation of a vulnerable adult, when carrying out his or her
  101  official function;
  102         2. Taking appropriate administrative action concerning an
  103  employee of the department or the agency who is alleged to have
  104  perpetrated child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse,
  105  neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult; or
  106         3. Employing and continuing employment of personnel of the
  107  department or the agency.
  108         (i) Any person authorized by the department who is engaged
  109  in the use of such records or information for bona fide
  110  research, statistical, or audit purposes. Such individual or
  111  entity shall enter into a privacy and security agreement with
  112  the department and shall comply with all laws and rules
  113  governing the use of such records and information for research
  114  and statistical purposes. Information identifying the subjects
  115  of such records or information shall be treated as confidential
  116  by the researcher and may shall not be released in any form.
  117         (j) The Division of Administrative Hearings for purposes of
  118  any administrative challenge.
  119         (k) Any appropriate official of a Florida advocacy council
  120  investigating a report of known or suspected child abuse,
  121  abandonment, or neglect; the Auditor General or the Office of
  122  Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability for the
  123  purpose of conducting audits or examinations pursuant to law; or
  124  the guardian ad litem for the child.
  125         (l) Employees or agents of an agency of another state which
  126  that has comparable jurisdiction to the jurisdiction described
  127  in paragraph (a).
  128         (m) The Public Employees Relations Commission for the sole
  129  purpose of obtaining evidence for appeals filed pursuant to s.
  130  447.207. Records may be released only after deletion of all
  131  information that which specifically identifies persons other
  132  than the employee.
  133         (n) Employees or agents of the Department of Revenue
  134  responsible for child support enforcement activities.
  135         (o) Any person in the event of the death of a child
  136  determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
  137  Information identifying the person reporting abuse, abandonment,
  138  or neglect may shall not be released. Any information otherwise
  139  made confidential or exempt by law may shall not be released
  140  pursuant to this paragraph.
  141         (p) An employee of the local school district who is
  142  designated as a liaison between the school district and the
  143  department pursuant to an interagency agreement required under
  144  s. 39.0016 and the principal of a public school, private school,
  145  or charter school where the child is a student. Information
  146  contained in the records which the liaison or the principal
  147  determines are necessary for a school employee to effectively
  148  provide a student with educational services may be released to
  149  that employee.
  150         (q) An employee or agent of the Department of Education who
  151  is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of
  152  misconduct by a certified educator.
  153         (r) Staff of a children’s advocacy center that is
  154  established and operated under s. 39.3035.
  155         (s) A physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459,
  156  a psychologist licensed under chapter 490, or a mental health
  157  professional licensed under chapter 491 engaged in the care or
  158  treatment of the child.
  159         (t) Persons with whom the department is seeking to place
  160  the child or to whom placement has been granted, including
  161  foster parents for whom an approved home study has been
  162  conducted, the designee of a licensed residential group home
  163  described in s. 39.523, an approved relative or nonrelative with
  164  whom a child is placed pursuant to s. 39.402, preadoptive
  165  parents for whom a favorable preliminary adoptive home study has
  166  been conducted, adoptive parents, or an adoption entity acting
  167  on behalf of preadoptive or adoptive parents.
  168         (5) Any information contained in reports or records
  169  relating to child abuse, abandonment, or neglect which would
  170  identify The name of any person reporting child abuse,
  171  abandonment, or neglect may not be released to any person other
  172  than employees of the department responsible for child
  173  protective services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement,
  174  the child protection team, or the appropriate state attorney,
  175  without the written consent of the person reporting. This does
  176  not prohibit the subpoenaing of a person reporting child abuse,
  177  abandonment, or neglect when deemed necessary by the court, the
  178  state attorney, or the department, provided the fact that such
  179  person made the report is not disclosed. Any person who reports
  180  a case of child abuse or neglect may, at the time he or she
  181  makes the report, request that the department notify him or her
  182  that a child protective investigation occurred as a result of
  183  the report. Any person specifically listed in s. 39.201(1) who
  184  makes a report in his or her official capacity may also request
  185  a written summary of the outcome of the investigation. The
  186  department shall mail such a notice to the reporter within 10
  187  days after completing the child protective investigation.
  188         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.