Florida Senate - 2022 SB 1598 By Senator Garcia 37-00999B-22 20221598__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Domestic Violence Task Force; 3 creating s. 39.909, F.S.; creating the Domestic 4 Violence Task Force adjunct to the Department of 5 Children and Families; requiring the department to 6 provide certain services to the task force; providing 7 purposes of the task force; specifying the composition 8 of the task force; providing for the appointment of 9 task force members and requirements for meetings; 10 specifying duties of the task force; requiring state 11 departments and agencies to provide requested 12 assistance to the task force; requiring the task force 13 to submit reports to the Governor and the Legislature 14 by certain dates; providing for dissolution of the 15 task force; providing for future repeal, unless saved 16 by the Legislature through reenactment; providing an 17 effective date. 18 19 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 20 21 Section 1. Section 39.909, Florida Statutes, is created to 22 read: 23 39.909 Domestic Violence Task Force.— 24 (1) CREATION.—The Domestic Violence Task Force, a task 25 force as defined in s. 20.03(8), is created adjunct to the 26 department. The department shall provide administrative and 27 support staff services relating to the functions of the task 28 force. 29 (2) PURPOSES.—The purposes of the task force are to 30 evaluate the child welfare system in relation to domestic 31 violence investigations and cases in this state, to consider 32 proposed legislation, and to make recommended changes to 33 existing laws, rules, and policies. 34 (3) MEMBERSHIP; APPOINTMENT; MEETINGS.— 35 (a) The task force shall be composed of the following 36 members: 37 1. The Secretary of Children and Families or the 38 secretary’s designee, who shall serve as chair; 39 2. The president of the Florida Partnership to End Domestic 40 Violence or the president’s designee; 41 3. A representative of domestic violence courts, appointed 42 by the Governor; 43 4. A domestic violence victim, appointed by the President 44 of the Senate; 45 5. A representative of a certified domestic violence 46 center, appointed by the Speaker of the House of 47 Representatives; 48 6. A representative of a certified batterers’ intervention 49 program, appointed by the Governor; 50 7. A child protective investigator from the department, 51 appointed by the President of the Senate; 52 8. A representative from a county sheriff’s office 53 protective investigation team, appointed by the Speaker of the 54 House of Representatives; 55 9. A representative from the field of law enforcement, 56 appointed by the Governor; 57 10. A chief executive officer of a community-based care 58 lead agency, appointed by the President of the Senate; and 59 11. A licensed therapist who specializes in treating 60 victims of domestic violence, appointed by the Speaker of the 61 House of Representatives. 62 (b) Appointments to the task force must be made by August 63 1, 2022. Members shall be appointed to serve at the pleasure of 64 the appointing authority. A vacancy on the task force must be 65 filled in the same manner as the original appointment. 66 (c) The task force shall convene for its first meeting by 67 no later than September 1, 2022. The task force shall meet 68 quarterly or upon the call of the chair and hold its meetings by 69 teleconference or other electronic means. 70 (4) DUTIES.— 71 (a) The duties of the Domestic Violence Task Force shall 72 include all of the following: 73 1. Examining the effectiveness of current operations and 74 treatment in batterers’ intervention programs, the consistency 75 in enforcement of laws, and the level of accountability of 76 agencies and providers that conduct protective investigations 77 and that are responsible for handling dependency cases for 78 domestic violence incidents. 79 2. Eliciting feedback and seeking input from stakeholders 80 who are responsible for domestic violence investigations and 81 cases in the child welfare system regarding necessary policy or 82 rule changes. 83 3. Developing best practices, policies, and procedures 84 relating to domestic abuse reports and delivery of services to 85 the victims and perpetrators of domestic violence acts, and 86 addressing the specific challenges when such incidents involve 87 children. 88 4. Developing updated protocols, as necessary, to ensure 89 that policies and procedures relating to domestic violence abuse 90 reports, dependency cases, and termination of parental rights 91 cases are consistently enforced. 92 5. Developing policies relating to the roles of the 93 department and the Florida Partnership to End Domestic Violence 94 with respect to domestic violence incidents, including, but not 95 limited to, such incidents that involve children. Such policies 96 must evaluate their oversight of domestic violence services with 97 a goal of optimizing accountability. 98 6. Evaluating the appropriateness of establishing a 99 diversion program model for victims of domestic violence who 100 become subject to dependency proceedings related to children in 101 their custody as a result of such domestic violence, which 102 allows for judicial oversight if certain criteria are met but 103 which permits the dependency petition to be dismissed without 104 prejudice if the victim completes narrowly tailored services 105 related to intimate partner violence which are deemed necessary 106 to keep the child safe. 107 7. Determining the need for updated definitions and 108 corresponding provisions applicable to domestic violence abuse 109 reports and dependency cases, such as “failure to protect” and 110 “intimate partner violence.” 111 8. Determining when a domestic violence victim’s failure to 112 protect his or her child may be used as a basis to file a 113 shelter petition. 114 9. Evaluating steps needed, as appropriate, to ensure 115 proper implementation of and adherence to, as appropriate, the 116 Safe and Together model that has been used in this state. 117 10. Determining what steps should be taken during a 118 domestic violence investigation to ensure a nonoffending or 119 victim parent is aware of the option to seek an injunction and 120 request to remain in the home with the child, if appropriate. 121 (b) The task force may call upon appropriate departments 122 and agencies of state government for such professional 123 assistance as may be needed in the discharge of its duties, and 124 such departments and agencies shall provide such assistance in a 125 timely manner. 126 (5) REPORTS.—By March 1, 2023, the task force shall submit 127 an interim report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, 128 and the Speaker of the House of Representatives which contains 129 its findings and recommendations on best practices, policies, 130 and procedures relating to domestic abuse reports and cases 131 involving children, as well as proposed changes to current 132 legislation to implement the task force’s recommendations. The 133 task force shall submit its final report to the Governor, the 134 President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of 135 Representatives by September 1, 2023. The task force is 136 dissolved upon submission of the final report. 137 (6) REPEAL.—This section is repealed September 1, 2024, 138 unless saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. 139 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.