Florida Senate - 2019                              CS for SB 318
       By the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs; and
       Senator Montford
       586-02486-19                                           2019318c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to child abuse, abandonment, and
    3         neglect; amending s. 39.202, F.S.; prohibiting the
    4         Department of Children and Families from releasing the
    5         names of school personnel who have provided
    6         information during a protective investigation except
    7         under certain circumstances; providing for future
    8         legislative review and repeal of the exemption;
    9         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   10         providing a statement of public necessity; providing
   11         an effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Subsections (2) and (5) of section 39.202,
   16  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   17         39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
   18  child abuse or neglect.—
   19         (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
   20  records, excluding the name of the reporter and the names of
   21  instructional personnel as defined in s. 1012.01(2), school
   22  administrators as defined in s. 1012.01(3)(c), and educational
   23  support employees as described in s. 1012.01(6)(a) who have
   24  provided information during a protective investigation which
   25  shall be released only as provided in subsection (5), shall be
   26  granted only to the following persons, officials, and agencies:
   27         (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of
   28  the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons
   29  with Disabilities, the Office of Early Learning, or county
   30  agencies responsible for carrying out:
   31         1. Child or adult protective investigations;
   32         2. Ongoing child or adult protective services;
   33         3. Early intervention and prevention services;
   34         4. Healthy Start services;
   35         5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes,
   36  child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapter 393,
   37  family day care homes, providers who receive school readiness
   38  funding under part VI of chapter 1002, or other homes used to
   39  provide for the care and welfare of children;
   40         6. Employment screening for caregivers in residential group
   41  homes; or
   42         7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided
   43  by certified domestic violence centers working at the
   44  department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients.
   46  Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice
   47  responsible for the provision of services to children, pursuant
   48  to chapters 984 and 985.
   49         (b) Criminal justice agencies of appropriate jurisdiction.
   50         (c) The state attorney of the judicial circuit in which the
   51  child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred.
   52         (d) The parent or legal custodian of any child who is
   53  alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, and the
   54  child, and their attorneys, including any attorney representing
   55  a child in civil or criminal proceedings. This access must shall
   56  be made available no later than 60 days after the department
   57  receives the initial report of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
   58  However, any information otherwise made confidential or exempt
   59  by law may shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
   60         (e) Any person alleged in the report as having caused the
   61  abuse, abandonment, or neglect of a child. This access must
   62  shall be made available no later than 60 days after the
   63  department receives the initial report of abuse, abandonment, or
   64  neglect and, when the alleged perpetrator is not a parent, must
   65  shall be limited to information involving the protective
   66  investigation only and may shall not include any information
   67  relating to subsequent dependency proceedings. However, any
   68  information otherwise made confidential or exempt by law may
   69  shall not be released pursuant to this paragraph.
   70         (f) A court upon its finding that access to such records
   71  may be necessary for the determination of an issue before the
   72  court; however, such access must shall be limited to inspection
   73  in camera, unless the court determines that public disclosure of
   74  the information contained therein is necessary for the
   75  resolution of an issue then pending before it.
   76         (g) A grand jury, by subpoena, upon its determination that
   77  access to such records is necessary in the conduct of its
   78  official business.
   79         (h) Any appropriate official of the department or the
   80  Agency for Persons with Disabilities who is responsible for:
   81         1. Administration or supervision of the department’s
   82  program for the prevention, investigation, or treatment of child
   83  abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse, neglect, or
   84  exploitation of a vulnerable adult, when carrying out his or her
   85  official function;
   86         2. Taking appropriate administrative action concerning an
   87  employee of the department or the agency who is alleged to have
   88  perpetrated child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, or abuse,
   89  neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult; or
   90         3. Employing and continuing employment of personnel of the
   91  department or the agency.
   92         (i) Any person authorized by the department who is engaged
   93  in the use of such records or information for bona fide
   94  research, statistical, or audit purposes. Such individual or
   95  entity shall enter into a privacy and security agreement with
   96  the department and shall comply with all laws and rules
   97  governing the use of such records and information for research
   98  and statistical purposes. Information identifying the subjects
   99  of such records or information shall be treated as confidential
  100  by the researcher and may shall not be released in any form.
  101         (j) The Division of Administrative Hearings for purposes of
  102  any administrative challenge.
  103         (k) Any appropriate official of an a Florida advocacy
  104  council in this state investigating a report of known or
  105  suspected child abuse, abandonment, or neglect; the Auditor
  106  General or the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
  107  Accountability for the purpose of conducting audits or
  108  examinations pursuant to law; or the guardian ad litem for the
  109  child.
  110         (l) Employees or agents of an agency of another state that
  111  has comparable jurisdiction to the jurisdiction described in
  112  paragraph (a).
  113         (m) The Public Employees Relations Commission for the sole
  114  purpose of obtaining evidence for appeals filed pursuant to s.
  115  447.207. Records may be released only after deletion of all
  116  information which specifically identifies persons other than the
  117  employee.
  118         (n) Employees or agents of the Department of Revenue
  119  responsible for child support enforcement activities.
  120         (o) Any person in the event of the death of a child
  121  determined to be a result of abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
  122  Information identifying the person reporting abuse, abandonment,
  123  or neglect may shall not be released. Any information otherwise
  124  made confidential or exempt by law may shall not be released
  125  pursuant to this paragraph.
  126         (p) An employee of the local school district who is
  127  designated as a liaison between the school district and the
  128  department pursuant to an interagency agreement required under
  129  s. 39.0016 and the principal of a public school, private school,
  130  or charter school where the child is a student. Information
  131  contained in the records which the liaison or the principal
  132  determines are necessary for a school employee to effectively
  133  provide a student with educational services may be released to
  134  that employee.
  135         (q) An employee or agent of the Department of Education who
  136  is responsible for the investigation or prosecution of
  137  misconduct by a certified educator.
  138         (r) Staff of a children’s advocacy center that is
  139  established and operated under s. 39.3035.
  140         (s) A physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459,
  141  a psychologist licensed under chapter 490, or a mental health
  142  professional licensed under chapter 491 engaged in the care or
  143  treatment of the child.
  144         (t) Persons with whom the department is seeking to place
  145  the child or to whom placement has been granted, including
  146  foster parents for whom an approved home study has been
  147  conducted, the designee of a licensed residential group home
  148  described in s. 39.523, an approved relative or nonrelative with
  149  whom a child is placed pursuant to s. 39.402, preadoptive
  150  parents for whom a favorable preliminary adoptive home study has
  151  been conducted, adoptive parents, or an adoption entity acting
  152  on behalf of preadoptive or adoptive parents.
  153         (5)(a) The name of any person reporting child abuse,
  154  abandonment, or neglect may not be released to any person other
  155  than employees of the department responsible for child
  156  protective services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement,
  157  the child protection team, or the appropriate state attorney,
  158  without the written consent of the person reporting. This does
  159  not prohibit the subpoenaing of a person reporting child abuse,
  160  abandonment, or neglect when deemed necessary by the court, the
  161  state attorney, or the department, provided the fact that such
  162  person made the report is not disclosed. Any person who reports
  163  a case of child abuse or neglect may, at the time he or she
  164  makes the report, request that the department notify him or her
  165  that a child protective investigation occurred as a result of
  166  the report. Any person specifically listed in s. 39.201(1) who
  167  makes a report in his or her official capacity may also request
  168  a written summary of the outcome of the investigation. The
  169  department must shall mail such a notice to the reporter within
  170  10 days after completing the child protective investigation.
  171         (b) The names of instructional personnel as defined in s.
  172  1012.01(2), school administrators as defined in s.
  173  1012.01(3)(c), and educational support employees as described in
  174  s. 1012.01(6)(a) who provide information during a protective
  175  investigation may not be released to any person other than
  176  employees of the department responsible for child protective
  177  services, the central abuse hotline, law enforcement, the child
  178  protection team, or the appropriate state attorney without the
  179  written consent of such personnel. This does not prohibit the
  180  subpoenaing of a person contributing information to an
  181  investigation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect when
  182  deemed necessary by the court, the state attorney, or the
  183  department. This paragraph is subject to the Open Government
  184  Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand
  185  repealed on October 2, 2024, unless reviewed and saved from
  186  repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
  187         Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public
  188  necessity that information that is exempt or confidential and
  189  exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida Statutes, and s. 24(a),
  190  Article I of the State Constitution remain exempt or
  191  confidential for instructional personnel as defined in s.
  192  1012.01(2), Florida Statutes, school administrators as defined
  193  in s. 1012.01(3)(c), Florida Statutes, and educational support
  194  employees as described in s. 1012.01(6)(a), Florida Statutes,
  195  who have provided information during a protective investigation.
  196  Otherwise, sensitive personal information concerning school
  197  employees would be disclosed, and such employees may experience
  198  harassment or harm from family, fictive kin, or friends of the
  199  alleged victim of child abuse. Such harassment may inhibit such
  200  employees from providing important information to a child abuse
  201  investigation. The harm that would result from the release of
  202  such information substantially outweighs any public benefit that
  203  would be achieved by disclosure.
  204         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.