Florida Senate - 2022                                    SB 1358
       By Senator Rouson
       19-01584-22                                           20221358__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Task Force on the Monitoring of
    3         Children in Out-of-Home Care; creating s. 39.4093,
    4         F.S.; creating the task force adjunct to the
    5         Department of Law Enforcement; requiring the
    6         department to provide certain services; specifying the
    7         purpose of the task force; specifying the composition
    8         of the task force; providing requirements for member
    9         appointments, election of a chair, and meetings;
   10         specifying duties of the task force; requiring the
   11         Florida Institute for Child Welfare to conduct certain
   12         focus groups and submit its findings to the task force
   13         by a specified date; requiring the Department of
   14         Children and Families to submit certain monthly
   15         reports to the task force through a specified date;
   16         requiring the task force to submit a report to the
   17         Governor and Legislature by a specified date;
   18         providing for future repeal; providing an effective
   19         date.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Section 39.4093, Florida Statutes, is created to
   24  read:
   25         39.4093Task Force on the Monitoring of Children in Out-of
   26  Home Care.—
   27         (1)CREATION.—The Task Force on the Monitoring of Children
   28  in Out-of-Home Care, a task force as defined in s. 20.03(8), is
   29  created adjunct to the Department of Law Enforcement. The
   30  Department of Law Enforcement shall provide administrative and
   31  staff support services relating to the functions of the task
   32  force.
   33         (2)PURPOSE.—The purpose of the task force is to identify
   34  and counter the root causes of why children go missing while in
   35  out-of-home care and to ensure that prompt and effective action
   36  is taken to address such causes. The task force shall examine
   37  and recommend improvements to current policies, procedures,
   38  programs, and initiatives to prevent children from going missing
   39  while in out-of-home care and to ensure that timely and
   40  comprehensive steps are taken to find children who are missing
   41  for any reason, including, but not limited to, running away,
   42  human trafficking, and abduction by or absconding with a parent
   43  or an individual who does not have care or custody of the child.
   44         (3)MEMBERSHIP; MEETINGS.—
   45         (a)The task force is composed of the following members:
   46         1.A member of the Senate, appointed by the President of
   47  the Senate.
   48         2.A member of the House of Representatives, appointed by
   49  the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
   50         3.The secretary, or his or her designee.
   51         4.The Secretary of Juvenile Justice, or his or her
   52  designee.
   53         5.The executive director of the Statewide Guardian Ad
   54  Litem Office, or his or her designee.
   55         6.The executive director of the Department of Law
   56  Enforcement, or his or her designee.
   57         7.A representative from Safe Kids Florida, appointed by
   58  the State Surgeon General.
   59         8.A representative from the Statewide Council on Human
   60  Trafficking, appointed by the Attorney General.
   61         9.A representative from a community-based care lead agency
   62  that delivers child welfare services in a rural county,
   63  appointed by the secretary.
   64         10.A representative from a community-based care lead
   65  agency that delivers child welfare services in an urban county,
   66  appointed by the secretary.
   67         11.A licensed foster parent, appointed by the secretary.
   68         12.A representative from a residential group care
   69  provider, appointed by the secretary.
   70         13.A young adult who aged out of the foster care system,
   71  appointed by the secretary.
   72         (b)Appointments to the task force must be made by August
   73  1, 2022. Each member shall serve at the pleasure of the official
   74  who appointed the member. A vacancy on the task force must be
   75  filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
   76         (c)The task force shall elect a chair from among its
   77  members.
   78         (d)The task force shall convene no later than September 1,
   79  2022. The task force shall meet monthly or upon the call of the
   80  chair. The task force shall hold its meetings through
   81  teleconference or other electronic means.
   82         (4)DUTIES.—The duties of the task force include all of the
   83  following:
   84         (a)Analyzing statistical data regarding children in out
   85  of-home care who are missing and the reasons why the children
   86  are missing, if known.
   87         (b)Identifying the root causes of why children go missing
   88  while in out-of-home care and how to prevent children from going
   89  missing while in out-of-home care.
   90         (c)Assessing the relationship between children who go
   91  missing from out-of-home care and the risks of such children
   92  becoming victims of human trafficking.
   93         (d)Assessing the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of
   94  existing policies and procedures for preventing children in out
   95  of-home care from going missing, for promptly determining
   96  whether such children are missing, and for locating such
   97  children.
   98         (e)Evaluating the state’s approaches to reporting on the
   99  individual status of children missing from out-of-home care and
  100  the results of the efforts to locate such children, including,
  101  but not limited to, the use of technology, training,
  102  communication, and cooperation.
  103         (f)Measuring the overall performance of efforts to locate
  104  and recover children missing from out-of-home care, including,
  105  but not limited to, the communication and response between
  106  community-based care lead agencies, the department, and other
  107  entities.
  108         (g)Collaborating with the Florida Institute for Child
  109  Welfare to identify best practices used in other states for
  110  monitoring the location of children in out-of-home care who go
  111  missing, and evaluating whether such practices should be adopted
  112  in this state.
  113         (h)Submitting recommendations to improve policies,
  114  procedures, and systems in this state, including, but not
  115  limited to, technology, training, communication, and
  116  cooperation, so that all entities are effectively monitoring
  117  children in out-of-home care, responding appropriately when such
  118  children go missing, and preventing such children from going
  119  missing while in out-of-home care.
  120         (5)FOCUS GROUPS.—The Florida Institute for Child Welfare
  121  shall conduct focus groups with children in out-of-home care and
  122  young adults who aged out of the foster care system to assist
  123  the task force in fulfilling its duties. The focus groups shall,
  124  at a minimum, consider the reasons why such children seek to
  125  leave their out-of-home placement, and identify opportunities
  126  and resources to assist and prevent children from leaving their
  127  placements and to facilitate the return of such missing
  128  children. The institute shall submit the findings from the focus
  129  groups to the task force by April 1, 2023.
  130         (6)REPORTS.—
  131         (a)Through October 1, 2023, the department shall provide
  132  monthly reports to the task force to assist the task force in
  133  fulfilling its duties. The monthly reports must, at a minimum,
  134  address the number and percentage of children in out-of-home
  135  care who have been reported missing; the reasons why such
  136  children are missing, if known; and the length of time between
  137  when such children are reported missing and their recovery or
  138  return. The monthly report must categorize the required data by
  139  age, county, community-based care lead agency, and reasons why
  140  such children are missing, if known.
  141         (b)By October 1, 2023, the task force shall submit to the
  142  Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the
  143  House of Representatives a report that compiles the findings and
  144  recommendations of the task force.
  145         (7)REPEAL.—This section is repealed June 30, 2024, unless
  146  reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.
  147         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.