2015 Florida Statutes
Specialized residential options for children who are victims of sexual exploitation.
Specialized residential options for children who are victims of sexual exploitation.
409.1678 Specialized residential options for children who are victims of sexual exploitation.—
(1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Safe foster home” means a foster home certified by the department under this section to care for sexually exploited children.
(b) “Safe house” means a group residential placement certified by the department under this section to care for sexually exploited children.
(c) “Sexually exploited child” means a child who has suffered sexual exploitation as defined in s. 39.01(69)(g) and is ineligible for relief and benefits under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 22 U.S.C. ss. 7101 et seq.
(2) CERTIFICATION OF SAFE HOUSES AND SAFE FOSTER HOMES.—
(a) A safe house and a safe foster home shall provide a safe, separate, and therapeutic environment tailored to the needs of sexually exploited children who have endured significant trauma. Safe houses and safe foster homes shall use a model of treatment that includes strength-based and trauma-informed approaches.
(b) A safe house or a safe foster home must be certified by the department. A residential facility accepting state funds appropriated to provide services to sexually exploited children or child victims of sex trafficking must be certified by the department as a safe house or a safe foster home. An entity may not use the designation “safe house” or “safe foster home” and hold itself out as serving sexually exploited children unless the entity is certified under this section.
(c) To be certified, a safe house must hold a license as a residential child-caring agency, as defined in s. 409.175, and a safe foster home must hold a license as a family foster home, as defined in s. 409.175. A safe house or safe foster home must also:
1. Use strength-based and trauma-informed approaches to care, to the extent possible and appropriate.
2. Serve exclusively one sex.
3. Group sexually exploited children by age or maturity level.
4. Care for sexually exploited children in a manner that separates those children from children with other needs. Safe houses and safe foster homes may care for other populations if the children who have not experienced sexual exploitation do not interact with children who have experienced sexual exploitation.
5. Have awake staff members on duty 24 hours a day, if a safe house.
6. Provide appropriate security through facility design, hardware, technology, staffing, and siting, including, but not limited to, external video monitoring or door exit alarms, a high staff-to-client ratio, or being situated in a remote location that is isolated from major transportation centers and common trafficking areas.
7. Meet other criteria established by department rule, which may include, but are not limited to, personnel qualifications, staffing ratios, and types of services offered.
(d) Safe houses and safe foster homes shall provide services tailored to the needs of sexually exploited children and shall conduct a comprehensive assessment of the service needs of each resident. In addition to the services required to be provided by residential child caring agencies and family foster homes, safe houses and safe foster homes must provide, arrange for, or coordinate, at a minimum, the following services:
1. Victim-witness counseling.
2. Family counseling.
3. Behavioral health care.
4. Treatment and intervention for sexual assault.
5. Education tailored to the child’s individual needs, including remedial education if necessary.
6. Life skills training.
7. Mentoring by a survivor of sexual exploitation, if available and appropriate for the child.
8. Substance abuse screening and, when necessary, access to treatment.
9. Planning services for the successful transition of each child back to the community.
10. Activities structured in a manner that provides sexually exploited children with a full schedule.
(e) The community-based care lead agencies shall ensure that foster parents of safe foster homes and staff of safe houses complete intensive training regarding, at a minimum, the needs of sexually exploited children, the effects of trauma and sexual exploitation, and how to address those needs using strength-based and trauma-informed approaches. The department shall specify the contents of this training by rule and may develop or contract for a standard curriculum. The department may establish by rule additional criteria for the certification of safe houses and safe foster homes that shall address the security, therapeutic, social, health, and educational needs of sexually exploited children.
(f) The department shall inspect safe houses and safe foster homes before certification and annually thereafter to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section. The department may place a moratorium on referrals and may revoke the certification of a safe house or safe foster home that fails at any time to meet the requirements of, or rules adopted under, this section.
(g) The certification period for safe houses and safe foster homes shall run concurrently with the terms of their licenses.
(3) SERVICES WITHIN A RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTER OR HOSPITAL.—No later than July 1, 2015, residential treatment centers licensed under s. 394.875, and hospitals licensed under chapter 395 that provide residential mental health treatment, shall provide specialized treatment for sexually exploited children in the custody of the department who are placed in these facilities pursuant to s. 39.407(6), s. 394.4625, or s. 394.467. The specialized treatment must meet the requirements of subparagraphs (2)(c)1. and 3.-7., paragraph (2)(d), and the department’s treatment standards adopted pursuant to this section. The facilities shall ensure that children are served in single-sex groups and that staff working with such children are adequately trained in the effects of trauma and sexual exploitation, the needs of sexually exploited children, and how to address those needs using strength-based and trauma-informed approaches.
(4) FUNDING FOR SERVICES; CASE MANAGEMENT.—
(a) This section does not prohibit any provider of services for sexually exploited children from appropriately billing Medicaid for services rendered, from contracting with a local school district for educational services, or from obtaining federal or local funding for services provided, as long as two or more funding sources do not pay for the same specific service that has been provided to a child.
(b) The lead agency shall ensure that all sexually exploited children residing in safe houses or safe foster homes or served in residential treatment centers or hospitals pursuant to subsection (3) have a case manager and a case plan, whether or not the child is a dependent child.
(5) SCOPE OF AVAILABILITY OF SERVICES.—To the extent possible provided by law and with authorized funding, the services specified in this section may be available to all sexually exploited children whether such services are accessed voluntarily, as a condition of probation, through a diversion program, through a proceeding under chapter 39, or through a referral from a local community-based care or social service agency.
(6) LOCATION INFORMATION.—
(a) Information about the location of a safe house, safe foster home, or other residential facility serving victims of sexual exploitation, as defined in s. 39.01(69)(g), which is held by an agency, as defined in s. 119.011, is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This exemption applies to such confidential and exempt information held by an agency before, on, or after the effective date of the exemption.
(b) Information about the location of a safe house, safe foster home, or other residential facility serving victims of sexual exploitation, as defined in s. 39.01(69)(g), may be provided to an agency, as defined in s. 119.011, as necessary to maintain health and safety standards and to address emergency situations in the safe house, safe foster home, or other residential facility.
(c) The exemptions from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution provided in this subsection do not apply to facilities licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(d) This subsection is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2020, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
History.—s. 6, ch. 2012-105; s. 2, ch. 2014-161; s. 56, ch. 2014-224; s. 48, ch. 2015-2; s. 1, ch. 2015-147.