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.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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.
   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.