September 24, 2020
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HB 1227

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to children's services; amending s.
3125.901, F.S.; revising the membership of councils on
4children's services; requiring the governing body of the
5county to approve the purchase of real estate or the
6construction of a building by a council on children's
7services; requiring a council on children's services to
8submit a tentative budget and proposed millage rate to the
9governing body of the county; requiring the governing body
10of the county to take public testimony on the council's
11tentative budget and proposed millage rate; providing for
12the governing body of the county to approve the budget
13before final adoption by a council on children's services;
14specifying that millage levied and fixed by a council on
15children's services does not count against the millage
16limit applicable to the county under the State
17Constitution; limiting the authority of the governing body
18of the county over funds related to the council on
19children's services; requiring the governing body of the
20county to take public testimony on the effectiveness of a
21council on children's services; requiring the electors of
22a county to periodically vote on whether to retain or
23dissolve a council on children's services; requiring a
24council on children's services to give priority in the use
25of funds to the provision of children's services rather
26than to the purchase of real estate or the construction of
27buildings; expressing legislative intent on application of
28the act; providing an effective date.
30Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
32     Section 1.  Section 125.901, Florida Statutes, is amended
33to read:
34     125.901  Children's services; independent special district;
35council; powers, duties, and functions; public records
37     (1)  Each county may by ordinance create an independent
38special district, as defined in ss. 189.403(3) and
39200.001(8)(e), to provide funding for children's services
40throughout the county in accordance with this section. The
41boundaries of such district shall be coterminous with the
42boundaries of the county. The county governing body must shall
43obtain approval, by a majority vote of those electors voting on
44the question, to annually levy ad valorem taxes that may which
45shall not exceed the maximum millage rate authorized by this
46section. Any district created pursuant to the provisions of this
47subsection shall be required to levy and fix millage subject to
48the provisions of s. 200.065. Once such millage is approved by
49the electorate, the district may shall not be required to seek
50approval of the electorate in future years to levy the
51previously approved millage.
52     (a)  The governing board of the district shall be a council
53on children's services, which may also be known as a juvenile
54welfare board or similar name as established in the ordinance by
55the county governing body. Such council shall consist of 11 10
56members, including: the superintendent of schools; a local
57school board member; the district administrator from the
58appropriate district of the Department of Children and Family
59Services, or his or her designee who is a member of the Senior
60Management Service or of the Selected Exempt Service; two
61members one member of the county governing body; and the judge
62assigned to juvenile cases, who shall sit as a voting member of
63the board, except that the said judge may shall not vote or
64participate in the setting of ad valorem taxes under this
65section. If there is more than one judge is assigned to juvenile
66cases in a county, the chief judge shall designate one of the
67said juvenile judges to serve on the board. The remaining five
68members shall be appointed by the Governor, and shall, to the
69extent possible, represent the demographic diversity of the
70population of the county. After soliciting recommendations from
71the public, the county governing body shall submit to the
72Governor the names of at least three persons for each vacancy
73occurring among the five members appointed by the Governor, and
74the Governor shall appoint members to the council from the
75candidates nominated by the county governing body. The Governor
76shall make a selection within a 45-day period or request a new
77list of candidates. All members appointed by the Governor must
78shall have been residents of the county for the previous 24-
79month period. Such members shall be appointed for 4-year terms,
80except that the length of the terms of the initial appointees
81shall be adjusted to stagger the terms. The Governor may remove
82a member for cause or upon the written petition of the county
83governing body. If any of the members of the council required to
84be appointed by the Governor under the provisions of this
85subsection shall resign, die, or are be removed from office, the
86vacancy thereby created shall, as soon as practicable, be filled
87by appointment by the Governor, using the same method as the
88original appointment, and such appointment to fill a vacancy
89shall be for the unexpired term of the person who resigns, dies,
90or is removed from office.
91     (b)  However, any county as defined in s. 125.011(1) may
92instead have a governing board consisting of 33 members,
93including: the superintendent of schools; two representatives of
94public postsecondary education institutions located in the
95county; the county manager or the equivalent county officer; the
96district administrator from the appropriate district of the
97Department of Children and Family Services, or the
98administrator's designee who is a member of the Senior
99Management Service or the Selected Exempt Service; the director
100of the county health department or the director's designee; the
101state attorney for the county or the state attorney's designee;
102the chief judge assigned to juvenile cases, or another juvenile
103judge who is the chief judge's designee and who shall sit as a
104voting member of the board, except that the judge may not vote
105or participate in setting ad valorem taxes under this section;
106an individual who is selected by the board of the local United
107Way or its equivalent; a member of a locally recognized faith-
108based coalition, selected by that coalition; a member of the
109local chamber of commerce, selected by that chamber or, if more
110than one chamber exists within the county, a person selected by
111a coalition of the local chambers; a member of the early
112learning coalition, selected by that coalition; a representative
113of a labor organization or union active in the county; a member
114of a local alliance or coalition engaged in cross-system
115planning for health and social service delivery in the county,
116selected by that alliance or coalition; a member of the local
117Parent-Teachers Association/Parent-Teacher-Student Association,
118selected by that association; a youth representative selected by
119the local school system's student government; a local school
120board member appointed by the chair of the school board; the
121mayor of the county or the mayor's designee; one member of the
122county governing body, appointed by the chair of that body; a
123member of the state Legislature who represents residents of the
124county, selected by the chair of the local legislative
125delegation; an elected official representing the residents of a
126municipality in the county, selected by the county municipal
127league; and four 4 members-at-large, appointed to the council by
128the majority of sitting council members. The remaining seven 7
129members shall be appointed by the Governor pursuant to in
130accordance with procedures set forth in paragraph (a), except
131that the Governor may remove a member for cause or upon the
132written petition of the council. Appointments by the Governor
133must, to the extent reasonably possible, represent the
134geographic and demographic diversity of the population of the
135county. Members who are appointed to the council by reason of
136their position are not subject to the length of terms and limits
137on consecutive terms as provided in this section. The remaining
138appointed members of the governing board shall be appointed to
139serve 2-year terms, except that those members appointed by the
140Governor shall be appointed to serve 4-year terms, and the youth
141representative and the legislative delegate shall be appointed
142to serve 1-year terms. A member may be reappointed.; However, a
143member may not serve for more than three consecutive terms. A
144member is eligible to be appointed again after a 2-year hiatus
145from the council.
146     (c)  This subsection does not prohibit a county from
147exercising such power as is provided by general or special law
148to provide children's services or to create a special district
149to provide such services.
150     (2)(a)  Each council on children's services shall have all
151of the following powers and functions:
152     1.  To provide and maintain in the county such preventive,
153developmental, treatment, and rehabilitative services for
154children as the council determines are needed for the general
155welfare of the county.
156     2.  To provide such other services for all children as the
157council determines are needed for the general welfare of the
159     3.  To allocate and provide funds for other agencies in the
160county which are operated for the benefit of children, if those
161funds provided they are not under the exclusive jurisdiction of
162the public school system.
163     4.  To collect information and statistical data and to
164conduct research that which will be helpful to the council and
165the county in deciding the needs of children in the county.
166     5.  To consult and coordinate with other agencies dedicated
167to the welfare of children to the end that the overlapping of
168services will be prevented.
169     6.  To lease or buy such real estate, equipment, and
170personal property and to construct such buildings as are needed
171to execute the foregoing powers and functions, except provided
172that no such purchases may not shall be made or building done
173unless paid for with cash on hand or secured by funds deposited
174in financial institutions. The governing body of the county must
175approve by resolution the purchase of real estate or the
176construction of a building by the council. Nothing in This
177subparagraph does not shall be construed to authorize a district
178to issue bonds of any nature, and nor shall a district may not
179have the power to require the imposition of any bond by the
180governing body of the county.
181     7.  To employ, pay, and provide benefits for any part-time
182or full-time personnel needed to execute the foregoing powers
183and functions.
184     (b)  Each council on children's services shall:
185     1.  Immediately after the members are appointed, elect a
186chair and a vice chair from among its members, and elect other
187officers as deemed necessary by the council.
188     2.  Immediately after the members are appointed and
189officers are elected, identify and assess the needs of the
190children in the county served by the council and submit to the
191governing body of each county a written description of:
192     a.  The activities, services, and opportunities that will
193be provided to children.
194     b.  The anticipated schedule for providing those
195activities, services, and opportunities.
196     c.  The manner in which children will be served, including
197a description of arrangements and agreements that which will be
198made with community organizations, state and local educational
199agencies, federal agencies, public assistance agencies, the
200juvenile courts, foster care agencies, and other applicable
201public and private agencies and organizations.
202     d.  The special outreach efforts that will be undertaken to
203provide services to at-risk, abused, or neglected children.
204     e.  The manner in which the council will seek and provide
205funding for unmet needs.
206     f.  The strategy that which will be used for interagency
207coordination to maximize existing human and fiscal resources.
208     3.  Provide training and orientation to all new members
209sufficient to allow them to perform their duties.
210     4.  Make and adopt bylaws and rules and regulations for the
211council's guidance, operation, governance, and maintenance
212which, provided such rules and regulations are not inconsistent
213with federal or state laws or county ordinances.
214     5.  Provide an annual written report, to be presented no
215later than January 1, to the governing body of the county. The
216annual report shall contain, but need not be limited to, the
217following information:
218     a.  Information on the effectiveness of activities,
219services, and programs offered by the council, including cost-
221     b.  A detailed anticipated budget for continuation of
222activities, services, and programs offered by the council, and a
223list of all sources of requested funding, both public and
225     c.  Procedures used for early identification of at-risk
226children who need additional or continued services and methods
227for ensuring that the additional or continued services are
229     d.  A description of the degree to which the council's
230objectives and activities are consistent with the goals of this
232     e.  Detailed information on the various programs, services,
233and activities available to participants and the degree to which
234the programs, services, and activities have been successfully
235used by children.
236     f.  Information on programs, services, and activities that
237should be eliminated; programs, services, and activities that
238should be continued; and programs, services, and activities that
239should be added to the basic format of the children's services
241     (c)  The council shall maintain minutes of each meeting,
242including a record of all votes cast, and shall make such
243minutes available to any interested person.
244     (d)  Members of the council shall serve without
245compensation, but are shall be entitled to receive reimbursement
246for per diem and travel expenses consistent with the provisions
247of s. 112.061.
248     (3)(a)  The fiscal year of the district shall be the same
249as that of the county.
250     (b)1.  On or before June 15 July 1 of each year, the
251council on children's services shall prepare and submit to the
252governing body of the county a tentative annual written budget
253of the district's expected income and expenditures, including a
254contingency fund. The council shall, in addition, compute and
255submit to the governing body of the county a proposed millage
256rate within the voter-approved cap necessary to fund the
257tentative budget and, prior to adopting a final budget, comply
258with the provisions of s. 200.065, relating to the method of
259fixing millage, and shall fix the final millage rate by
260resolution of the council. The council shall include with the
261submissions the council's rationale for the budget and millage
262rate, as well as a detailed explanation for any significant
263changes in the proposed use of funds from the prior year's
264approved budget.
265     2.a.  Within 20 days after receiving the tentative budget
266and proposed millage rate from the council, the governing body
267of the county shall hold a public hearing and receive public
268testimony on the tentative budget and proposed millage rate. The
269governing body of the county shall by resolution approve the
270budget or reject it and direct the council to submit a revised
271tentative budget within 10 days for approval or rejection by the
272governing body. The council may not adopt a final budget until
273the budget has been approved by the governing body.
274     b.  The authority under this subparagraph for the governing
275body of the county to approve the budget of the council does
277     (I)  Cause the millage levied and fixed by the council to
278count toward the maximum millage authorized for all county
279purposes under s. 9, Art. VII of the State Constitution;
280     (II)  Authorize the governing body of the county to require
281the council to expend funds generated from the levy of ad
282valorem taxes under this section for purposes other than  
283children's services; or
284     (III)  Authorize the governing body of the county to expend
285funds generated from the levy of ad valorem taxes under this
287     3.  Before adopting a final budget, the council must comply
288with the provisions of s. 200.065, relating to the method of
289fixing millage, and shall fix the final millage rate by
290resolution of the council.
291     4.  The adopted budget and final millage rate shall be
292certified and delivered to the governing body of the county as
293soon as possible following the council's adoption of the final
294budget and millage rate pursuant to chapter 200. Included in
295each certified budget shall be the millage rate, adopted by
296resolution of the council, necessary to be applied to raise the
297funds budgeted for district operations and expenditures. In no
298circumstances, however, shall any district levy millage to
299exceed a maximum of 0.5 mills of assessed valuation of all
300properties within the county which are subject to ad valorem
301county taxes.
302     (c)  The adopted budget of the district so certified and
303delivered to the governing body of the county under paragraph
304(b) is shall not be subject to change or modification by the
305governing body of the county or any other authority.
306     (d)  All tax money collected under this section, as soon
307after the collection thereof as is reasonably practicable, shall
308be paid directly to the council on children's services by the
309tax collector of the county, or the clerk of the circuit court
310if the clerk collects delinquent taxes.
311     (e)1.  All moneys received by the council on children's
312services shall be deposited in qualified public depositories, as
313defined in s. 280.02, with separate and distinguishable accounts
314established specifically for the council and shall be withdrawn
315only by checks signed by the chair of the council and
316countersigned by either one other member of the council on
317children's services or by a chief executive officer who shall be
318so authorized by the council.
319     2.  Upon entering the duties of office, the chair and the
320other member of the council or chief executive officer who signs
321its checks shall each give a surety bond in the sum of at least
322$1,000 for each $1 million or portion thereof of the council's
323annual budget, which bond shall be conditioned that each shall
324faithfully discharge the duties of his or her office. The
325premium on such bond may be paid by the district as part of the
326expense of the council. No other member of the council shall be
327required to give bond or other security.
328     3.  No Funds of the district may not shall be expended
329except by check as aforesaid, except for expenditures from a
330petty cash account, which may shall not at any time exceed $100.
331All expenditures from petty cash shall be recorded on the books
332and records of the council on children's services. No Funds of
333the council on children's services, except excepting
334expenditures from petty cash, may not shall be expended without
335prior approval of the council, in addition to the budgeting
337     (f)  Within 10 days, exclusive of weekends and legal
338holidays, after the expiration of each quarter annual period,
339the council on children's services shall cause to be prepared
340and filed with the governing body of the county a financial
341report that includes which shall include the following:
342     1.  The total expenditures of the council for the quarter
343annual period.
344     2.  The total receipts of the council during the quarter
345annual period.
346     3.  A statement of the funds the council has on hand, has
347invested, or has deposited with qualified public depositories at
348the end of the quarter annual period.
349     4.  The total administrative costs of the council for the
350quarter annual period.
351     (4)(a)  Any district created pursuant to the provisions of
352this section may be dissolved by a special act of the
353Legislature, or the county governing body may by ordinance
354dissolve the district subject to the approval of the electorate.
355     (b)  Notwithstanding paragraph (a), beginning in May 2016,
356and in May every 8 years thereafter, the governing body of the
357county shall hear public testimony relating to the effectiveness
358of the council on children's services and shall submit the
359question of retention or dissolution of the district to the
360electors in the August primary election immediately following
361the hearing. If the electorate votes to dissolve the district,
362the district shall be dissolved.
364If any district is dissolved pursuant to the provisions of this
365subsection, each county must shall first obligate itself to
366assume the debts, liabilities, contracts, and outstanding
367obligations of the district within the total millage available
368to the county governing body for all county and municipal
369purposes as provided for under s. 9, Art. VII of the State
370Constitution. Any district may also be dissolved pursuant to the
371provisions of s. 189.4042.
372     (5)  After or during the first year of operation of the
373council on children's services, the governing body of the
374county, at its option, may fund in whole or in part the budget
375of the council on children's services from its own funds.
376     (6)  Any district created pursuant to the provisions of
377this section shall comply with all other statutory requirements
378of general application which relate to the filing of any
379financial reports or compliance reports required under part III
380of chapter 218, or any other report or documentation required by
381law, including the requirements of ss. 189.415, 189.417, and
383     (7)(a)  Each county may by ordinance create a dependent
384special district within the boundaries of the county for the
385purpose of providing preventive, developmental, treatment, and
386rehabilitative services for children. The district may is
387authorized to seek grants from state, federal, and local
388agencies and to accept donations from public and private sources
389if, provided that the district complies with the provisions of
390paragraphs (1)(a) and (2)(b), and provided that the district has
391a budget that requires approval through an affirmative vote of
392the governing body of the county or that may be vetoed by the
393governing body of the county.
394     (b)  If the provisions of a county charter relating to the
395membership of the governing board of a dependent special
396district conflict with paragraph (1)(a), a county may by
397ordinance create a dependent special district within the
398boundaries of the county for the purpose of providing
399preventive, developmental, treatment, and rehabilitative
400services for children, and the district may shall be authorized
401to seek grants from state, federal, and local agencies and to
402accept donations from public and private sources if, provided
403that the district complies with the provisions of paragraph
404(2)(b), and provided that the district has a budget that
405requires approval through an affirmative vote of the governing
406body of the county or that may be vetoed by the governing body
407of the county.
408     (8)  It is the intent of the Legislature that the funds
409collected pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be
410used to support improvements in children's services and that
411such funds may shall not be used as a substitute for existing
412resources or for resources that would otherwise be available for
413children's services. The council on children's services shall
414give priority in the use of funds under this section to the
415provision of children's services rather than to the purchase of
416real estate or the construction of buildings.
417     (9)  Two or more councils on children's services may enter
418into a cooperative agreement to share administrative costs,
419including, but not limited to, staff and office space, if a more
420efficient or effective operation will result. The cooperative
421agreement shall include provisions on apportioning costs between
422the councils, keeping separate and distinct financial records
423for each council, and resolving any conflicts that might arise
424under the cooperative agreement.
425     (10)  Two or more councils on children's services may enter
426into a cooperative agreement to seek grants, to accept
427donations, or to jointly fund programs serving multicounty
428areas. The cooperative agreement shall include provisions for
429the adequate accounting of separate and joint funds.
430     (11)  Personal identifying information of a child or the
431parent or guardian of the child, held by a council on children's
432services, juvenile welfare board, or other similar entity
433created under this section or by special law, or held by a
434service provider or researcher under contract with such entity,
435is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State
436Constitution. This exemption applies to such information held
437before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption.
438     Section 2.  It is the intent of the Legislature that the
439revisions made by this act to s. 125.901, Florida Statutes,
440apply to any council on children's services in existence on the
441effective date of this act and to any council created on or
442after the effective date of this act. It is further the intent
443of the Legislature that the revisions made by this act to the
444process by which a council develops a budget for the special
445district apply to the budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year of
446the district.
447     Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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