Florida Senate - 2019                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 646
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs (Book)
       recommended the following:
    1         Senate Amendment 
    3         Delete lines 86 - 179
    4  and insert:
    5         (2) BILL OF RIGHTS.—The department’s child welfare system
    6  shall operate with the understanding that the rights of children
    7  and young adults in out-of-home care are critical to their
    8  safety, permanence, and well-being and shall work with all
    9  stakeholders to help such children and young adults become
   10  knowledgeable about their rights and the resources available to
   11  them. A child should be able to remain in the custody of his or
   12  her parents or legal custodians unless a qualified person
   13  exercising competent professional judgment determines that
   14  removal is necessary to protect the child’s physical, mental, or
   15  emotional health or safety. Except as otherwise provided in this
   16  chapter, the rights of a child placed in out-of-home care are:
   17         (a) To live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where
   18  he or she is treated with respect and where the caregiver is
   19  aware of and understands the child’s history, needs, and risk
   20  factors.
   21         (b)To be free from physical, sexual, emotional, or other
   22  abuse, or corporal punishment. This includes the right to be
   23  placed away from other children or young adults who are known to
   24  pose a threat of harm to him or her because of his or her own
   25  risk factors or those of the other child or young adult.
   26         (c)To receive adequate and healthful food, adequate
   27  clothing, and an allowance.
   28         (d)To receive medical, dental, vision, and mental health
   29  services, as needed.
   30         (e)To be free of the administration of psychotropic
   31  medication or chemical substances, unless authorized by this
   32  chapter.
   33         (f)To be able to contact and visit his or her family
   34  members and fictive kin, unless prohibited by court order.
   35         (g)To be placed together with his or her siblings who are
   36  under the court’s jurisdiction, or to maintain contact with and
   37  visit his or her siblings at least once per week, unless
   38  prohibited by court order.
   39         (h)To be able to contact the Florida Children’s Ombudsman,
   40  as described in s. 39.4086, regarding violations of rights; to
   41  speak to the ombudsman confidentially; and to be free from
   42  threats or punishment for making complaints.
   43         (i)To make and receive uncensored telephone calls and to
   44  send and receive unopened mail, unless prohibited by court
   45  order.
   46         (j)To attend the religious services and activities of his
   47  or her choice, and to not be compelled to unwillingly attend
   48  religious services or activities.
   49         (k)To maintain a bank account and manage personal income,
   50  consistent with his or her age and developmental level, unless
   51  prohibited by the case plan and to be informed about any funds
   52  being held in the master trust on behalf of the child.
   53         (l) To not be locked in any room, building, or facility
   54  premises, unless placed in a residential treatment center
   55  pursuant to this chapter.
   56         (m)To attend school and participate in extracurricular,
   57  cultural, and personal enrichment activities consistent with his
   58  or her age and developmental level.
   59         (n)To work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate
   60  level that is consistent with state law.
   61         (o)To have social contact with people outside of the
   62  foster care system such as teachers, church members, mentors,
   63  and friends.
   64         (p)To attend independent living program classes and
   65  activities if he or she meets the age requirements.
   66         (q)To attend all court hearings and address the court.
   67         (r) To have storage space for private use.
   68         (s)To participate in creating and reviewing his or her
   69  case plan if he or she is 14 years of age or older or, if
   70  younger, is of an appropriate age and capacity to receive
   71  information about his or her out-of-home placement and case
   72  plan, including being told of changes to the plan, and to have
   73  the ability to object to provisions of the case plan.
   74         (t)To be free from unreasonable searches of his or her
   75  personal belongings.
   76         (u)To the confidentiality of all juvenile court records
   77  consistent with state law.
   78         (v)To have fair and equal access to all available
   79  services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not
   80  be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of
   81  actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry,
   82  national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation,
   83  gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status.
   84         (w)If he or she is 16 years of age or older, to have
   85  access to existing information regarding the educational and
   86  financial assistance options available to him or her, including,
   87  but not limited to, the coursework necessary for vocational and
   88  postsecondary educational programs, postsecondary educational
   89  services and support, the Keys to Independence program, and the
   90  tuition waiver available under s. 1009.25.
   91         (x) To not be moved by the department or a community-based
   92  care lead agency to another out-of-home placement unless the
   93  current home is unsafe or the change is court-ordered and, if
   94  moved, the right to a transition that respects his or her
   95  relationships and property pursuant to s. 409.145.
   96         (y)To have a guardian ad litem appointed to represent his
   97  or her best interests and, if appropriate, an attorney ad litem
   98  appointed to represent his or her legal interests. The guardian
   99  ad litem and attorney ad litem shall have immediate and
  100  unlimited access to the children they represent.