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. 12 13 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 14 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. 45 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
shall56 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 shallnot 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 shallbe 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 shallbe limited to information involving the protective 66 investigation only and may shallnot include any information 67 relating to subsequent dependency proceedings. However, any 68 information otherwise made confidential or exempt by law may 69 shallnot 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 shallbe 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 shallnot 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 Floridaadvocacy 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 shallnot be released. Any information otherwise 124 made confidential or exempt by law may shallnot 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 shallmail 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.