(1) The Legislature finds that:
(a) Conditional release is the care, treatment, help, and supervision provided juveniles released from residential commitment programs to promote rehabilitation and prevent recidivism.
(b) Conditional release services can contribute significantly to a successful transition of a juvenile from a residential commitment to the juvenile’s home, school, and community. Therefore, the best efforts should be made to provide for a successful transition.
(c) The purpose of conditional release is to protect safety; reduce recidivism; increase responsible productive behaviors; and provide for a successful transition of care and custody of the youth from the state to the family.
(d) Accordingly, conditional release should be included in the continuum of care.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that:
(a) Commitment programs include rehabilitative efforts on preparing committed juveniles for a successful release to the community.
(b) Conditional release transition planning begins as early in the commitment process as possible.
(c) Each juvenile committed to a residential commitment program be assessed to determine the need for conditional release services upon release from the commitment program.
(3) For juveniles referred or committed to the department, the function of the department may include, but shall not be limited to, assessing each juvenile placed in a residential commitment program to determine the need for conditional release services upon release from the program, supervising the juvenile when released into the community from a residential commitment facility of the department, providing such counseling and other services as may be necessary for the families and assisting their preparations for the return of the child. Subject to specific appropriation, the department shall provide for outpatient sexual offender counseling for any juvenile sexual offender released from a residential commitment program as a component of conditional release.
(4) A juvenile under nonresidential commitment placement will continue to be on commitment status and subject to the transfer provision under s. 985.441(3). (5) Participation in the educational program by students of compulsory school attendance age pursuant to s. 1003.21(1) and (2)(a) is mandatory for juvenile justice youth on conditional release or postcommitment probation status. A student of noncompulsory school-attendance age who has not received a high school diploma or its equivalent must participate in the educational program. A youth who has received a high school diploma or its equivalent and is not employed must participate in workforce development or other career or technical education or attend a community college or a university while in the program, subject to available funding.