(1) A child taken into custody shall be released from custody as soon as is reasonably possible.
(2) Unless otherwise ordered by the court under s. 985.255 or s. 985.26, and unless there is a need to hold the child, a person taking a child into custody shall attempt to release the child as follows:
(a) To the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian or, if the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian is unavailable, unwilling, or unable to provide supervision for the child, to any responsible adult. Prior to releasing the child to a responsible adult, other than the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the person taking the child into custody may conduct a criminal history background check of the person to whom the child is to be released. If the person has a prior felony conviction, or a conviction for child abuse, drug trafficking, or prostitution, that person is not a responsible adult for the purposes of this section. The person to whom the child is released shall agree to inform the department or the person releasing the child of the child’s subsequent change of address and to produce the child in court at such time as the court may direct, and the child shall join in the agreement.
(b) Contingent upon specific appropriation, to a shelter approved by the department or to an authorized agent under s. 39.401(2)(b).
(c) If the child is believed to be suffering from a serious physical condition which requires either prompt diagnosis or prompt treatment, to a law enforcement officer who shall deliver the child to a hospital for necessary evaluation and treatment.
(d) If the child is believed to be mentally ill as defined in s. 394.463(1), to a law enforcement officer who shall take the child to a designated public receiving facility as defined in s. 394.455 for examination under s. 394.463.
(e) If the child appears to be intoxicated and has threatened, attempted, or inflicted physical harm on himself or herself or another, or is incapacitated by substance abuse, to a law enforcement officer who shall deliver the child to a hospital, addictions receiving facility, or treatment resource.
(f) If available, to a juvenile assessment center equipped and staffed to assume custody of the child for the purpose of assessing the needs of the child in custody. The center may then release or deliver the child under this section with a copy of the assessment.
(3) Upon taking a child into custody, a law enforcement officer may deliver the child, for temporary custody not to exceed 6 hours, to a secure booking area of a jail or other facility intended or used for the detention of adults, for the purpose of fingerprinting or photographing the child or awaiting appropriate transport to the department or as provided in s. 985.13(2), provided no regular sight and sound contact between the child and adult inmates or trustees is permitted and the receiving facility has adequate staff to supervise and monitor the child’s activities at all times.
(4) Nothing in this section or s. 985.13 shall prohibit the proper use of law enforcement diversion programs. Law enforcement agencies may initiate and conduct diversion programs designed to divert a child from the need for department custody or judicial handling. Such programs may be cooperative projects with local community service agencies.
History.—s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 9, ch. 92-287; s. 27, ch. 94-209; s. 1341, ch. 95-147; s. 19, ch. 97-238; s. 18, ch. 2006-120.
Note.—Former s. 39.038(1), (2), (5), (7); s. 985.211(1), (2), (5), (7).