2023 Legislature                            CS for CS for SB 272
    2         An act relating to children and young adults in out
    3         of-home care; providing a short title; amending s.
    4         39.4085, F.S.; requiring a case manager or other staff
    5         to provide a child with verbal and written information
    6         about certain topics; deleting limitations on the type
    7         of questions a child may ask; establishing the Office
    8         of the Children’s Ombudsman within the Department of
    9         Children and Families; specifying responsibilities of
   10         the office; requiring the department to consult with
   11         specified children and young adults when creating or
   12         revising certain print or digital written information;
   13         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   14         amending s. 409.1454, F.S.; revising eligibility
   15         criteria for certain youth to participate in a
   16         specified program covering certain costs for a driver
   17         license and motor vehicle insurance; providing an
   18         effective date.
   20  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   22         Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Nancy C. Detert
   23  Champion for Children Act.”
   24         Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
   25  39.4085, Florida Statutes, is amended, and subsections (4) and
   26  (5) are added to that section, to read:
   27         39.4085 Goals for dependent children; responsibilities;
   28  education; Office of the Children’s Ombudsman.—
   29         (3)(a) The case manager or other staff shall, at a minimum,
   30  provide verbal and written:
   31         1. Instructions to a child entering shelter or foster care
   32  to educate the child on identifying and reporting abuse,
   33  abandonment, or neglect; and
   34         2.Information to a child about laws and requirements
   35  relating to the topics of nurturing care, personal safety, and
   36  protection from abuse, abandonment, and neglect; normalcy and
   37  what that means for a child in out-of-home care; education;
   38  participation in court proceedings; participation in permanency
   39  planning, transition planning, and other case planning;
   40  placement, visitation, and contact with siblings, family, and
   41  other individuals who are important to the child; and access to
   42  food, clothing, shelter, and health care.
   44  The verbal and written instructions and information must use
   45  words and phrasing that each child can understand and must occur
   46  in a manner that is most effective for each child. The written
   47  instructions and information are only required if the child is
   48  of a sufficient age and understanding to receive such
   49  instructions and information. The case manager or other staff
   50  shall must give each child the opportunity to ask questions and
   51  about his or her rights and how to identify and report abuse,
   52  abandonment, or neglect. The case manager or other staff shall
   53  document in court reports and case notes the date the
   54  instructions and information were was provided to the child. The
   55  case manager or other staff shall must review the instructions
   56  and information with the child every 6 months and upon every
   57  placement change until the child leaves shelter or foster care.
   58         (4)The Office of the Children’s Ombudsman is established
   59  within the department. To the extent permitted by available
   60  resources, the office shall, at a minimum:
   61         (a)Receive complaints from children and young adults about
   62  placement, care, and services and assist in mediating such
   63  concerns.
   64         (b)Be a resource to identify and explain relevant polices
   65  or procedures to children, young adults, and their caregivers.
   66         (c)Provide recommendations to the department to address
   67  systemic problems that are leading to complaints from children
   68  and young adults.
   69         (5)The department shall consult with children and young
   70  adults who are currently or have formerly been in out-of-home
   71  care when creating or revising any print or digital written
   72  information used in implementing this section and shall use any
   73  responses or feedback to ensure that such print or digital
   74  written information is understandable by and appropriate and
   75  useful for the children and young adults of the ages for which
   76  such print or digital written information is intended.
   77         Section 3. Subsection (4) of section 409.1454, Florida
   78  Statutes, is amended to read:
   79         409.1454 Motor vehicle insurance and driver licenses for
   80  children in care and certified unaccompanied homeless youth.—
   81         (4) Payment must be made to eligible recipients in the
   82  order of eligibility until available funds are exhausted. If a
   83  child determined to be eligible reaches permanency status or
   84  turns 18 years of age, the program may pay for that child to
   85  complete a driver education program and obtain a driver license
   86  for up to 6 months after the date the child reaches permanency
   87  status or 6 months after the date the child turns 18 years of
   88  age. A child may be eligible to have the costs of and incidental
   89  to licensure paid if he or she demonstrates that such costs are
   90  creating barriers to obtaining employment or completing
   91  educational goals, if the child meets any of the following
   92  criteria:
   93         (a) Is continuing in care under s. 39.6251;
   94         (b) Was in licensed care when the child reached 18 years of
   95  age and Is currently receiving postsecondary education services
   96  and support under s. 409.1451(2); or
   97         (c) Is an unaccompanied homeless youth certified under s.
   98  743.067 who is a citizen of the United States or legal resident
   99  of this state and is:
  100         1. Completing secondary education;
  101         2. Employed at least part time;
  102         3. Attending any postsecondary education program at least
  103  part time; or
  104         4. Has a disability that precludes full-time work or
  105  education.
  106         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.