Bill Text: FL S0122 | 2020 | Regular Session | Comm Sub


Bill Title: Child Welfare

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2020-03-05 - Laid on Table, refer to CS/HB 43 [S0122 Detail]

Download: Florida-2020-S0122-Comm_Sub.html
       Florida Senate - 2020                       CS for CS for SB 122
       
       
        
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Children, Families, and
       Elder Affairs; and Senators Rouson, Berman, Hooper, Book, and
       Rader
       
       
       
       576-04303-20                                           2020122c2
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to child welfare; providing a short
    3         title; amending s. 39.202, F.S.; expanding the list of
    4         entities with access to certain records that relate to
    5         child abandonment, abuse, or neglect held by the
    6         Department of Children and Families; amending s.
    7         39.303, F.S.; requiring Child Protection Teams to be
    8         capable of providing certain training relating to head
    9         trauma and brain injuries in children younger than a
   10         specified age; amending s. 39.401, F.S.; authorizing
   11         the parent or legal guardian of a child to request a
   12         second medical evaluation of a child under certain
   13         circumstances; requiring the court to consider such
   14         evaluation when determining whether to remove the
   15         child from the home; amending s. 39.820, F.S.;
   16         revising the definition of the terms “guardian ad
   17         litem” and “guardian advocate”; amending s. 39.8296,
   18         F.S.; requiring that the guardian ad litem training
   19         program include training on the recognition of and
   20         responses to head trauma and brain injury in specified
   21         children; amending s. 402.40, F.S.; revising
   22         legislative intent and providing legislative findings;
   23         requiring the department to develop and implement a
   24         specified child welfare workforce development
   25         framework in collaboration with other specified
   26         entities; providing requirements for the department
   27         relating to workforce education requirements;
   28         requiring the department to submit an annual report to
   29         the Governor and the Legislature by a specified date;
   30         requiring community-based care lead agencies to submit
   31         a plan and timeline to the department relating to
   32         certain child welfare staff by a specified date;
   33         providing requirements for the department related to
   34         workforce training; providing additional duties for
   35         third-party credentialing entities; requiring certain
   36         attorneys employed by the department to complete
   37         certain training by a specified date; deleting
   38         definitions; deleting provisions relating to core
   39         competencies and specializations; amending s. 409.988,
   40         F.S.; requiring a lead agency to ensure that certain
   41         individuals receive specified training relating to
   42         head trauma and brain injuries in children younger
   43         than a specified age; revising the types of services a
   44         lead agency is required to provide; creating s.
   45         943.17298, F.S.; requiring law enforcement officers to
   46         complete training relating to head trauma and brain
   47         injuries in children younger than a specified age as
   48         part of either basic recruit training or continuing
   49         training or education by a specified date; amending s.
   50         1004.615, F.S.; revising the purpose of the Florida
   51         Institute for Child Welfare; revising requirements for
   52         the institute; revising the contents of the annual
   53         report that the institute must provide to the Governor
   54         and the Legislature; deleting obsolete provisions;
   55         repealing s. 402.402, F.S., relating to child
   56         protection and child welfare personnel and attorneys
   57         employed by the department; amending s. 409.996, F.S.;
   58         authorizing the department, in collaboration with
   59         certain lead agencies, to create and implement a
   60         program to more effectively provide case management
   61         services to specified children; providing criteria for
   62         selecting judicial circuits for implementation of the
   63         program; specifying requirements of the program;
   64         requiring the department to submit a report to the
   65         Governor and the Legislature by a specified date under
   66         specified conditions; amending s. 1009.25, F.S.;
   67         conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
   68         providing an effective date.
   69          
   70  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   71  
   72         Section 1. This act may be cited as “Jordan’s Law.”
   73         Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
   74  39.202, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   75         39.202 Confidentiality of reports and records in cases of
   76  child abuse or neglect.—
   77         (2) Except as provided in subsection (4), access to such
   78  records, excluding the name of, or other identifying information
   79  with respect to, the reporter which shall be released only as
   80  provided in subsection (5), shall be granted only to the
   81  following persons, officials, and agencies:
   82         (a) Employees, authorized agents, or contract providers of
   83  the department, the Department of Health, the Agency for Persons
   84  with Disabilities, the Office of Early Learning, or county
   85  agencies responsible for carrying out:
   86         1. Child or adult protective investigations;
   87         2. Ongoing child or adult protective services;
   88         3. Early intervention and prevention services;
   89         4. Healthy Start services;
   90         5. Licensure or approval of adoptive homes, foster homes,
   91  child care facilities, facilities licensed under chapter 393,
   92  family day care homes, providers who receive school readiness
   93  funding under part VI of chapter 1002, or other homes used to
   94  provide for the care and welfare of children;
   95         6. Employment screening for caregivers in residential group
   96  homes; or
   97         7. Services for victims of domestic violence when provided
   98  by certified domestic violence centers working at the
   99  department’s request as case consultants or with shared clients;
  100  or
  101         8.Credentialing of child welfare services staff pursuant
  102  to s. 402.40.
  103  
  104  Also, employees or agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice
  105  responsible for the provision of services to children, pursuant
  106  to chapters 984 and 985.
  107         Section 3. Paragraph (h) of subsection (3) of section
  108  39.303, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  109         39.303 Child Protection Teams and sexual abuse treatment
  110  programs; services; eligible cases.—
  111         (3) The Department of Health shall use and convene the
  112  Child Protection Teams to supplement the assessment and
  113  protective supervision activities of the family safety and
  114  preservation program of the Department of Children and Families.
  115  This section does not remove or reduce the duty and
  116  responsibility of any person to report pursuant to this chapter
  117  all suspected or actual cases of child abuse, abandonment, or
  118  neglect or sexual abuse of a child. The role of the Child
  119  Protection Teams is to support activities of the program and to
  120  provide services deemed by the Child Protection Teams to be
  121  necessary and appropriate to abused, abandoned, and neglected
  122  children upon referral. The specialized diagnostic assessment,
  123  evaluation, coordination, consultation, and other supportive
  124  services that a Child Protection Team must be capable of
  125  providing include, but are not limited to, the following:
  126         (h) Such training services for program and other employees
  127  of the Department of Children and Families, employees of the
  128  Department of Health, and other medical professionals as is
  129  deemed appropriate to enable them to develop and maintain their
  130  professional skills and abilities in handling child abuse,
  131  abandonment, and neglect cases. The training services must
  132  include training in the recognition of and appropriate responses
  133  to head trauma and brain injury in a child under 6 years of age
  134  as required under ss. 402.40 and 943.17298.
  135  
  136  A Child Protection Team that is evaluating a report of medical
  137  neglect and assessing the health care needs of a medically
  138  complex child shall consult with a physician who has experience
  139  in treating children with the same condition.
  140         Section 4. Subsection (3) of section 39.401, Florida
  141  Statutes, is amended to read:
  142         39.401 Taking a child alleged to be dependent into custody;
  143  law enforcement officers and authorized agents of the
  144  department.—
  145         (3) If the child is taken into custody by, or is delivered
  146  to, an authorized agent of the department, the agent shall
  147  review the facts supporting the removal with an attorney
  148  representing the department. The purpose of the review is to
  149  determine whether there is probable cause for the filing of a
  150  shelter petition.
  151         (a) If the facts are not sufficient, the child shall
  152  immediately be returned to the custody of the parent or legal
  153  custodian.
  154         (b) If the facts are sufficient and the child has not been
  155  returned to the custody of the parent or legal custodian, the
  156  department shall file the petition and schedule a hearing, and
  157  the attorney representing the department shall request that a
  158  shelter hearing be held within 24 hours after the removal of the
  159  child. While awaiting the shelter hearing, the authorized agent
  160  of the department may place the child in licensed shelter care
  161  or may release the child to a parent or legal custodian or
  162  responsible adult relative or the adoptive parent of the child’s
  163  sibling who shall be given priority consideration over a
  164  licensed placement, or a responsible adult approved by the
  165  department if this is in the best interests of the child.
  166  Placement of a child which is not in a licensed shelter must be
  167  preceded by a criminal history records check as required under
  168  s. 39.0138. In addition, the department may authorize placement
  169  of a housekeeper/homemaker in the home of a child alleged to be
  170  dependent until the parent or legal custodian assumes care of
  171  the child.
  172         (c)If the decision to remove a child from the home is
  173  predicated upon a medical evaluation performed by a Child
  174  Protection Team pursuant to s. 39.303, the parent or legal
  175  guardian of the child may request that a second, independent
  176  evaluation be performed by a physician who has met the relevant
  177  qualifications of s. 39.303(2)(b) in order to determine whether
  178  the child has been the victim of abuse or neglect. The court
  179  must consider this evaluation when determining whether to remove
  180  a child from the home.
  181         Section 5. Section 39.820, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  182  read:
  183         39.820 Definitions.—As used in this chapter part, the term:
  184         (1) “Guardian ad litem” as referred to in any civil or
  185  criminal proceeding includes the following: the Statewide
  186  Guardian Ad Litem Office, which includes circuit a certified
  187  guardian ad litem programs; program, a duly certified volunteer,
  188  a staff member, a staff attorney, a contract attorney, or a
  189  certified pro bono attorney working on behalf of a guardian ad
  190  litem or the program; staff members of a program office; a
  191  court-appointed attorney; or a responsible adult who is
  192  appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a
  193  child in a proceeding as provided for by law, including, but not
  194  limited to, this chapter, who is a party to any judicial
  195  proceeding as a representative of the child, and who serves
  196  until discharged by the court.
  197         (2) “Guardian advocate” means a person appointed by the
  198  court to act on behalf of a drug dependent newborn under
  199  pursuant to the provisions of this part.
  200         Section 6. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
  201  39.8296, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  202         39.8296 Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office; legislative
  203  findings and intent; creation; appointment of executive
  204  director; duties of office.—
  205         (2) STATEWIDE GUARDIAN AD LITEM OFFICE.—There is created a
  206  Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office within the Justice
  207  Administrative Commission. The Justice Administrative Commission
  208  shall provide administrative support and service to the office
  209  to the extent requested by the executive director within the
  210  available resources of the commission. The Statewide Guardian Ad
  211  Litem Office is shall not be subject to control, supervision, or
  212  direction by the Justice Administrative Commission in the
  213  performance of its duties, but the employees of the office are
  214  shall be governed by the classification plan and salary and
  215  benefits plan approved by the Justice Administrative Commission.
  216         (b) The Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office shall, within
  217  available resources, have oversight responsibilities for and
  218  provide technical assistance to all guardian ad litem and
  219  attorney ad litem programs located within the judicial circuits.
  220         1. The office shall identify the resources required to
  221  implement methods of collecting, reporting, and tracking
  222  reliable and consistent case data.
  223         2. The office shall review the current guardian ad litem
  224  programs in Florida and other states.
  225         3. The office, in consultation with local guardian ad litem
  226  offices, shall develop statewide performance measures and
  227  standards.
  228         4. The office shall develop a guardian ad litem training
  229  program, which shall include, but not be limited to, training on
  230  the recognition of and responses to head trauma and brain injury
  231  in a child under 6 years of age. The office shall establish a
  232  curriculum committee to develop the training program specified
  233  in this subparagraph. The curriculum committee shall include,
  234  but not be limited to, dependency judges, directors of circuit
  235  guardian ad litem programs, active certified guardians ad litem,
  236  a mental health professional who specializes in the treatment of
  237  children, a member of a child advocacy group, a representative
  238  of a domestic violence advocacy group the Florida Coalition
  239  Against Domestic Violence, and a social worker experienced in
  240  working with victims and perpetrators of child abuse.
  241         5. The office shall review the various methods of funding
  242  guardian ad litem programs, shall maximize the use of those
  243  funding sources to the extent possible, and shall review the
  244  kinds of services being provided by circuit guardian ad litem
  245  programs.
  246         6. The office shall determine the feasibility or
  247  desirability of new concepts of organization, administration,
  248  financing, or service delivery designed to preserve the civil
  249  and constitutional rights and fulfill other needs of dependent
  250  children.
  251         7. In an effort to promote normalcy and establish trust
  252  between a court-appointed volunteer guardian ad litem and a
  253  child alleged to be abused, abandoned, or neglected under this
  254  chapter, a guardian ad litem may transport a child. However, a
  255  guardian ad litem volunteer may not be required or directed by
  256  the program or a court to transport a child.
  257         8. The office shall submit to the Governor, the President
  258  of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and
  259  the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court an interim report
  260  describing the progress of the office in meeting the goals as
  261  described in this section. The office shall submit to the
  262  Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House
  263  of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court a
  264  proposed plan including alternatives for meeting the state’s
  265  guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem needs. This plan may
  266  include recommendations for less than the entire state, may
  267  include a phase-in system, and shall include estimates of the
  268  cost of each of the alternatives. Each year the office shall
  269  provide a status report and provide further recommendations to
  270  address the need for guardian ad litem services and related
  271  issues.
  272         Section 7. Section 402.40, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  273  read:
  274         (Substantial rewording of section. See
  275         s. 402.40, F.S., for present text.)
  276         402.40Child welfare workforce; development; training;
  277  certification; well-being.—
  278         (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.—
  279         (a) The Legislature finds that positive outcomes for
  280  children and families involved with the child welfare system
  281  often are attributable to the strong commitment of a well
  282  trained, highly skilled, well-resourced, and dedicated child
  283  welfare workforce and that the child welfare system is only as
  284  good as the individuals who conduct investigations, provide
  285  services to children and families, and manage service delivery.
  286         (b) The Legislature also finds that child welfare agencies
  287  experience barriers to establishing and maintaining a stable,
  288  effective, and diverse workforce because of issues relating to
  289  recruitment, education and training, inadequate supervision,
  290  retention and staff turnover, and lack of support for frontline
  291  individuals.
  292         (c) The Legislature further finds that, although numerous
  293  initiatives have been developed to address these challenges,
  294  isolated interventions often fail to yield positive results,
  295  whereas implementing an integrated framework across multiple
  296  domains can help child welfare agencies achieve effective
  297  outcomes.
  298         (d) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure a
  299  systematic approach to child welfare workforce staff development
  300  and the well-being of individuals providing child welfare
  301  services by establishing a uniform statewide program.
  302         (2)CHILD WELFARE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK.—In order
  303  to promote competency-based, outcome-focused, and data-driven
  304  approaches to workforce development, the department, in
  305  collaboration with the Florida Institute for Child Welfare,
  306  shall develop and implement a comprehensive child welfare
  307  development workforce framework using a nationally recognized
  308  model for workforce development. The framework must address, at
  309  a minimum, all of the following components:
  310         (a) Recruitment and hiring.
  311         (b) Education and professional preparation.
  312         (c) Professional training and development.
  313         (d)Supervision.
  314         (e) Retention.
  315         (f) Caseload and workload.
  316         (g)Workforce well-being and support.
  317         (h) Work-life balance and flexible scheduling.
  318         (i) Agency culture and climate.
  319         (3)WORKFORCE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS.—
  320         (a)The department shall make every effort to recruit and
  321  hire qualified professional staff to serve as child protective
  322  investigators and child protective investigation supervisors who
  323  are qualified by their education and experience to perform
  324  social work functions. The department, in collaboration with the
  325  lead agencies, subcontracted provider organizations, the Florida
  326  Institute for Child Welfare, and other partners in the child
  327  welfare system, shall develop a protocol for screening
  328  candidates for child protective positions which reflects the
  329  preferences specified in subparagraphs 1., 2., and 3. The
  330  following persons must be given preference in recruitment, but
  331  this preference serves only as guidance and does not limit the
  332  department’s discretion to select the best available candidates:
  333         1. Individuals with a baccalaureate degree in social work,
  334  and child protective investigation supervisors with a master’s
  335  degree in social work, from a college or university social work
  336  program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  337         2. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree or a master’s
  338  degree in psychology, sociology, counseling, special education,
  339  education, human development, child development, family
  340  development, marriage and family therapy, or nursing.
  341         3. Individuals with baccalaureate degrees who have a
  342  combination of directly relevant work and volunteer experience,
  343  preferably in a public service field related to children’s
  344  services, which demonstrates critical thinking skills, formal
  345  assessment processes, communication skills, problem solving, and
  346  empathy; a commitment to helping children and families; a
  347  capacity to work as part of a team; an interest in continuous
  348  development of skills and knowledge; and sufficient personal
  349  strength and resilience to manage competing demands and handle
  350  workplace stresses.
  351         (b) By each October 1, the department shall submit a report
  352  on the educational qualifications, turnover, and working
  353  conditions of child protective investigators and supervisors to
  354  the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
  355  the House of Representatives.
  356         (c)By January 1, 2021, the community-based care lead
  357  agencies shall submit to the department a plan and timeline for
  358  recruiting and hiring child welfare staff providing care for
  359  dependent children which meet the same educational requirements
  360  as required for child protective investigators and child
  361  protective investigation supervisors under this subsection. The
  362  plan and timeline must include the same recruiting and hiring
  363  requirements for child welfare staff employed by subcontractors.
  364         (4) WORKFORCE TRAINING.—
  365         (a) In order to enable the state to recruit and retain a
  366  qualified and diverse child welfare workforce that is well
  367  trained, well-supervised, and well-supported, the department
  368  shall establish a program for a comprehensive system to provide
  369  both preservice and inservice child welfare competency-based
  370  training curricula that all child welfare staff, including all
  371  staff providing care for dependent children employed by a
  372  community-based care lead agency or by a subcontractor of such
  373  agency, are required to participate in and successfully
  374  complete, appropriate to their areas of responsibility. Such
  375  program must include training in the recognition of and
  376  appropriate responses to head trauma and brain injury in a child
  377  under 6 years of age, which must be developed by the Child
  378  Protection Team Program within the Department of Health.
  379         (b)A community-based care lead agency may develop
  380  additional training for persons delivering child welfare
  381  services in the agency’s service area if the curriculum does not
  382  conflict with training required in paragraph (a).
  383         (5)WORKFORCE CERTIFICATION.—The department shall approve
  384  one or more third-party credentialing entities for the purpose
  385  of developing and administering child welfare certification
  386  programs for persons who provide child welfare services. A
  387  third-party credentialing entity shall request such approval in
  388  writing from the department. In order to obtain approval, the
  389  third-party credentialing entity must:
  390         (a) Establish professional requirements and standards that
  391  applicants must achieve in order to obtain a child welfare
  392  certification and to maintain such certification.
  393         (b) Develop and apply core competencies and examination
  394  instruments according to nationally recognized certification and
  395  psychometric standards.
  396         (c) Maintain a professional code of ethics and a
  397  disciplinary process that apply to all persons holding child
  398  welfare certification.
  399         (d) Maintain a database, accessible to the public, of all
  400  persons holding child welfare certification, including any
  401  history of ethical violations.
  402         (e) Require annual continuing education for persons holding
  403  child welfare certification and require certified professionals
  404  to comply with the training requirements in subsection (4) as a
  405  condition of renewal or initial certification. The third-party
  406  credentialing entity shall track and report compliance with this
  407  section to the department on an annual basis.
  408         (f) Administer a continuing education provider program to
  409  ensure that only qualified providers offer continuing education
  410  opportunities for certificateholders.
  411         (g)All certified child welfare professionals must follow
  412  the requirements of the third-party credentialing entity’s code
  413  of ethical and professional conduct and disciplinary procedures.
  414         1.The department, community based care lead agencies,
  415  sheriff offices and their contracted providers shall report all
  416  allegations of suspected or known violations of ethical or
  417  professional misconduct standards to the department-approved
  418  third-party credentialing entity, including all allegations made
  419  to the department’s Office of Inspector General on certified
  420  personnel.
  421         2.The department shall review all case records involving
  422  the death of a child or other critical incident that is subject
  423  to a critical incident rapid response team review to ensure
  424  compliance with ethical and professional conduct requirements of
  425  any certified child welfare professional staff.
  426         3.The department shall provide any reports to the third
  427  party credentialing entity that indicate that ethical or
  428  professional conduct requirements were not met so that the
  429  credentialing entity may determine if the individual’s
  430  certification requires suspension or revocation.
  431         4.If it is determined that the individual’s certification
  432  requires suspension or revocation, the department or employer of
  433  the certified staff must immediately remove the individual from
  434  their duties that require certification as a condition of
  435  employment.
  436         5.Any decision by a department-approved third-party
  437  credentialing entity to deny, revoke, or suspend a
  438  certification, or otherwise impose sanctions on an individual
  439  who is certified, is reviewable by the department. Upon
  440  receiving an adverse determination, the person aggrieved may
  441  request an administrative hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and
  442  120.57(1) within 30 days after completing any appeals process
  443  offered by the credentialing entity or the department, as
  444  applicable.
  445         6.The third-party credentialing entity shall track and
  446  report compliance with this subsection to the department.
  447         (h) Maintain an advisory committee, including
  448  representatives from each region of the department, each
  449  sheriff’s office providing child protective services, and each
  450  community-based care lead agency, who shall be appointed by the
  451  organization they represent. The third-party credentialing
  452  entity may appoint additional members to the advisory committee.
  453         (6) CHILD WELFARE TRAINING TRUST FUND.—
  454         (a) There is created within the State Treasury a Child
  455  Welfare Training Trust Fund to be used by the Department of
  456  Children and Families for the purpose of funding the
  457  professional development of persons providing child welfare
  458  services.
  459         (b) One dollar from every noncriminal traffic infraction
  460  collected pursuant to s. 318.14(10)(b) or s. 318.18 shall be
  461  deposited into the Child Welfare Training Trust Fund.
  462         (c) In addition to the funds generated by paragraph (b),
  463  the trust fund shall receive funds generated from an additional
  464  fee on birth certificates and dissolution of marriage filings,
  465  as specified in ss. 382.0255 and 28.101, respectively, and may
  466  receive funds from any other public or private source.
  467         (d) Funds that are not expended by the end of the budget
  468  cycle or through a supplemental budget approved by the
  469  department shall revert to the trust fund.
  470         (7) ATTORNEYS EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT TO HANDLE CHILD
  471  WELFARE CASES.—With the exception of attorneys hired after July
  472  1, 2014, but before July 1, 2020, who shall complete the
  473  training required under this subsection by January 31, 2021,
  474  attorneys hired by the department on or after July 1, 2014,
  475  whose primary responsibility is representing the department in
  476  child welfare cases shall receive training within the first 6
  477  months of employment in:
  478         (a) The dependency court process, including the attorney’s
  479  role in preparing and reviewing documents prepared for
  480  dependency court for accuracy and completeness;
  481         (b) Preparing and presenting child welfare cases, including
  482  at least 1 week of shadowing an experienced children’s legal
  483  services attorney who is preparing and presenting cases;
  484         (c) Safety assessment, safety decisionmaking tools, and
  485  safety plans;
  486         (d) Developing information presented by investigators and
  487  case managers to support decisionmaking in the best interest of
  488  children; and
  489         (e) The experiences and techniques of case managers and
  490  investigators, including shadowing an experienced child
  491  protective investigator and an experienced case manager for at
  492  least 8 hours.
  493         (8) ADOPTION OF RULES.—The department shall adopt rules
  494  necessary to administer this section.
  495         Section 8. Paragraph (f) of subsection (1) and subsection
  496  (3) of section 409.988, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  497         409.988 Lead agency duties; general provisions.—
  498         (1) DUTIES.—A lead agency:
  499         (f) Shall ensure that all individuals providing care for
  500  dependent children participate in and successfully complete the
  501  program of receive appropriate training relevant to the
  502  individual’s area of responsibility and meet the minimum
  503  employment standards established by the department pursuant to
  504  s. 402.40. The training curriculum must include training in the
  505  recognition of and appropriate responses to head trauma and
  506  brain injury in a child under 6 years of age developed by the
  507  Child Protection Team Program within the Department of Health.
  508         (3) SERVICES.—A lead agency must provide dependent children
  509  with services that are supported by research or that are
  510  recognized as best practices in the child welfare field. The
  511  agency shall give priority to the use of services that are
  512  evidence-based and trauma-informed and may also provide other
  513  innovative services, including, but not limited to, family
  514  centered and cognitive-behavioral interventions designed to
  515  mitigate out-of-home placements, and intensive family
  516  reunification services that combine child welfare and mental
  517  health services for families with dependent children under 6
  518  years of age.
  519         Section 9. Section 943.17298, Florida Statutes, is created
  520  to read:
  521         943.17298 Training in the recognition of and responses to
  522  head trauma and brain injury.—Each law enforcement officer must
  523  successfully complete training on the subject of the recognition
  524  of and appropriate responses to head trauma and brain injury in
  525  a child under 6 years of age developed by the Child Protection
  526  Team Program within the Department of Health to aid an officer
  527  in the detection of head trauma and brain injury due to child
  528  abuse. Such training must be completed as part of the basic
  529  recruit training for a law enforcement officer, as required
  530  under s. 943.13(9), or as a part of continuing training or
  531  education required under s. 943.135(1), before July 1, 2022.
  532         Section 10. Section 1004.615, Florida Statutes, is amended
  533  to read:
  534         1004.615 Florida Institute for Child Welfare.—
  535         (1) There is established the Florida Institute for Child
  536  Welfare within the Florida State University College of Social
  537  Work. The purpose of the institute is to advance the well-being
  538  of children and families who are involved with, or at risk of
  539  becoming involved with, the child welfare system by facilitating
  540  and supporting statewide partnerships to develop competency
  541  based education, training, and support to prepare a diverse
  542  group of social work professionals for careers in child welfare
  543  by improving the performance of child protection and child
  544  welfare services through research, policy analysis, evaluation,
  545  and leadership development. The institute shall consist of a
  546  consortium of public and private universities offering degrees
  547  in social work and shall be housed within the Florida State
  548  University College of Social Work.
  549         (2) Using such resources as authorized in the General
  550  Appropriations Act, the Department of Children and Families
  551  shall collaborate contract with the institute for performance of
  552  the duties described in subsection (3) (4) using state
  553  appropriations, public and private grants, and other resources
  554  obtained by the institute.
  555         (3) In order to increase and retain a higher percentage of
  556  professionally educated social workers in the child welfare
  557  system and serve as a statewide resource for child welfare
  558  workforce education and training, the institute, in
  559  collaboration with the Department of Children and Families,
  560  shall:
  561         (a) Design and disseminate a continuum of social work
  562  education and training which emphasizes child welfare workforce
  563  stabilization and professionalization by aligning social work
  564  curriculum and training with critical practice skills pursuant
  565  to s. 402.40.
  566         (b) Identify methods to promote continuing professional
  567  development and systems of workplace support for existing child
  568  welfare staff.
  569         (c) Develop a best practice model for providing feedback on
  570  curriculum to social work programs and for ensuring that interns
  571  who will be entering the child welfare profession are well
  572  supervised by university personnel during their internships.
  573         (d) Create a Title IV-E program designed to provide
  574  professional education and monetary support to undergraduate and
  575  graduate social work students who intend to pursue or continue a
  576  career in child welfare. Goals of the program should include:
  577         1. Increasing the number of individuals in the child
  578  welfare workforce who have a bachelor’s degree or master’s
  579  degree in social work.
  580         2. Prioritizing the enrollment of current child welfare
  581  staff employed by the state.
  582         3. Prioritizing the enrollment of students who reflect the
  583  diversity of the state’s child welfare population.
  584         4. Providing specific program support through the provision
  585  of specialized competency-based child welfare curriculum and
  586  monetary support to students.
  587         (e) Engage in evaluation and dissemination of evidence
  588  based and promising practices in child welfare and build high
  589  quality evaluation into new program models and pilots.
  590  
  591  The institute shall work with the department, sheriffs providing
  592  child protective investigative services, community-based care
  593  lead agencies, community-based care provider organizations, the
  594  court system, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Florida
  595  Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and other partners who
  596  contribute to and participate in providing child protection and
  597  child welfare services.
  598         (4) The institute shall:
  599         (a) Maintain a program of research which contributes to
  600  scientific knowledge and informs both policy and practice
  601  related to child safety, permanency, and child and family well
  602  being.
  603         (b) Advise the department and other organizations
  604  participating in the child protection and child welfare system
  605  regarding scientific evidence on policy and practice related to
  606  child safety, permanency, and child and family well-being.
  607         (c) Provide advice regarding management practices and
  608  administrative processes used by the department and other
  609  organizations participating in the child protection and child
  610  welfare system and recommend improvements that reduce
  611  burdensome, ineffective requirements for frontline staff and
  612  their supervisors while enhancing their ability to effectively
  613  investigate, analyze, problem solve, and supervise.
  614         (d) Assess the performance of child protection and child
  615  welfare services based on specific outcome measures.
  616         (e) Evaluate the scope and effectiveness of preservice and
  617  inservice training for child protection and child welfare
  618  employees and advise and assist the department in efforts to
  619  improve such training.
  620         (f) Assess the readiness of social work graduates to assume
  621  job responsibilities in the child protection and child welfare
  622  system and identify gaps in education which can be addressed
  623  through the modification of curricula or the establishment of
  624  industry certifications.
  625         (g) Develop and maintain a program of professional support
  626  including training courses and consulting services that assist
  627  both individuals and organizations in implementing adaptive and
  628  resilient responses to workplace stress.
  629         (h) Participate in the department’s critical incident
  630  response team, assist in the preparation of reports about such
  631  incidents, and support the committee review of reports and
  632  development of recommendations.
  633         (i) Identify effective policies and promising practices,
  634  including, but not limited to, innovations in coordination
  635  between entities participating in the child protection and child
  636  welfare system, data analytics, working with the local
  637  community, and management of human service organizations, and
  638  communicate these findings to the department and other
  639  organizations participating in the child protection and child
  640  welfare system.
  641         (j) Develop a definition of a child or family at high risk
  642  of abuse or neglect. Such a definition must consider
  643  characteristics associated with a greater probability of abuse
  644  and neglect.
  645         (5) The President of the Florida State University shall
  646  appoint a director of the institute. The director must be a
  647  child welfare professional with a degree in social work who
  648  holds a faculty appointment in the Florida State University
  649  College of Social Work. The institute shall be administered by
  650  the director, and the director’s office shall be located at the
  651  Florida State University. The director is responsible for
  652  overall management of the institute and for developing and
  653  executing the work of the institute consistent with the
  654  responsibilities in subsection (3) (4). The director shall
  655  engage individuals in other state universities with accredited
  656  colleges of social work to participate in the institute.
  657  Individuals from other university programs relevant to the
  658  institute’s work, including, but not limited to, economics,
  659  management, law, medicine, and education, may also be invited by
  660  the director to contribute to the institute. The universities
  661  participating in the institute shall provide facilities, staff,
  662  and other resources to the institute to establish statewide
  663  access to institute programs and services.
  664         (5)(6) By each October 1 of each year, the institute shall
  665  provide a written report to the Governor, the President of the
  666  Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives which
  667  outlines its activities in the preceding year, reports
  668  significant research findings, as well as results of other
  669  programs, and provides specific recommendations for improving
  670  education, training, and support for individuals in the child
  671  welfare workforce child protection and child welfare services.
  672         (a) The institute shall include an evaluation of the
  673  results of the educational and training requirements for child
  674  protection and child welfare personnel established under this
  675  act and recommendations for application of the results to child
  676  protection personnel employed by sheriff’s offices providing
  677  child protection services in its report due October 1, 2017.
  678         (b) The institute shall include an evaluation of the
  679  effects of the other provisions of this act and recommendations
  680  for improvements in child protection and child welfare services
  681  in its report due October 1, 2018.
  682         (7) The institute shall submit a report with
  683  recommendations for improving the state’s child welfare system.
  684  The report shall address topics including, but not limited to,
  685  enhancing working relationships between the entities involved in
  686  the child protection and child welfare system, identification of
  687  and replication of best practices, reducing paperwork,
  688  increasing the retention of child protective investigators and
  689  case managers, and caring for medically complex children within
  690  the child welfare system, with the goal of allowing the child to
  691  remain in the least restrictive and most nurturing environment.
  692  The institute shall submit an interim report by February 1,
  693  2015, and final report by October 1, 2015, to the Governor, the
  694  President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of
  695  Representatives.
  696         Section 11. Section 402.402, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  697         Section 12. Subsection (24) is added to section 409.996,
  698  Florida Statutes, to read:
  699         409.996 Duties of the Department of Children and Families.
  700  The department shall contract for the delivery, administration,
  701  or management of care for children in the child protection and
  702  child welfare system. In doing so, the department retains
  703  responsibility for the quality of contracted services and
  704  programs and shall ensure that services are delivered in
  705  accordance with applicable federal and state statutes and
  706  regulations.
  707         (24)The department, in collaboration with the lead
  708  agencies serving the judicial circuits selected in paragraph
  709  (a), may create and implement a program to more effectively
  710  provide case management services for dependent children under 6
  711  years of age.
  712         (a)If the program is created, the department shall select
  713  up to three judicial circuits in which to develop and implement
  714  the program, with priority given to a circuit that has a high
  715  removal rate, significant case management turnover rate, and the
  716  highest number of children in out-of-home care or a significant
  717  increase in the number of children in out-of-home care over the
  718  last 3 fiscal years.
  719         (b)If the program is created, it must do each of the
  720  following:
  721         1.Include caseloads for dependency case managers comprised
  722  solely of children who are under 6 years of age, except as
  723  provided in paragraph (c). The maximum caseload for a case
  724  manager shall be no more than 15 children, if possible.
  725         2.Include case managers who are trained specifically in:
  726         a.Critical child development for children under 6 years of
  727  age;
  728         b.Specific practices of child care for children under 6
  729  years of age;
  730         c.The scope of community resources available to children
  731  under 6 years of age; and
  732         d.Working with a parent or caregiver and assisting him or
  733  her in developing the skills necessary to care for the health,
  734  safety, and well-being of a child under 6 years of age.
  735         (c)If a child being served through the program has a
  736  dependent sibling, the sibling may be assigned to the same case
  737  manager as the child being served through the program; however,
  738  each sibling counts toward the case manager’s maximum caseload
  739  as provided under paragraph (b).
  740         (d)If the program is created, the department shall
  741  evaluate the permanency, safety, and well-being of children
  742  being served through the program and submit a report to the
  743  Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the
  744  House of Representatives by October 1, 2025, detailing its
  745  findings.
  746         Section 13. Paragraph (h) of subsection (1) of section
  747  1009.25, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  748         1009.25 Fee exemptions.—
  749         (1) The following students are exempt from the payment of
  750  tuition and fees, including lab fees, at a school district that
  751  provides workforce education programs, Florida College System
  752  institution, or state university:
  753         (h) Pursuant to s. 402.403, child protection and child
  754  welfare personnel as defined in s. 402.402 who are enrolled in
  755  an accredited bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in social
  756  work program, provided that the student attains at least a grade
  757  of “B” in all courses for which tuition and fees are exempted.
  758         Section 14. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.

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