January 26, 2021
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Senate Bill 0158

Senate Bill sb0158

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 158

    By Senator Lynn





    7-68-04

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to religious-exempt child care

  3         programs; amending s. 402.316, F.S.; providing

  4         for a child care program affiliated with a

  5         church, temple, or parochial school to be

  6         exempt from regulation by the department as a

  7         religious-exempt child care program; requiring

  8         religious-exempt child care programs to display

  9         a certificate of compliance issued by an

10         accrediting agency recognized by the

11         department; providing requirements for

12         accrediting agencies recognized by the

13         department; requiring a recognized accrediting

14         agency to conduct an initial on-site review;

15         providing timeframes within which child care

16         programs must meet the requirements for

17         training and credentials; requiring recognized

18         accrediting agencies for religious exemption to

19         submit standards to the department; requiring

20         the department to create and maintain a list of

21         recognized accrediting agencies; providing that

22         the act does not authorize the department to

23         regulate the curriculum, discipline, or hiring

24         practices of a religious-exempt child care

25         program; requiring that the department notify

26         recognized accrediting agencies of any revision

27         in standards; requiring that a recognized

28         accrediting agency submit an annual report;

29         providing timeframes within which an exempt

30         child care program must notify an accrediting

31         agency of its transfer and termination of

                                  1

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 158
    7-68-04




 1         accreditation; prohibiting a recognized

 2         accrediting agency for religious exemption from

 3         owning, operating, or administering certain

 4         programs; requiring the department to

 5         facilitate an annual meeting; providing an

 6         effective date.

 7  

 8  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

 9  

10         Section 1.  Section 402.316, Florida Statutes, is

11  amended to read:

12         (Substantial rewording of section. See

13         s. 402.316, F.S., for present text.)

14         402.316  Exemption for child care program or weekday

15  preschool program accredited by a recognized accrediting

16  agency for religious exemption.--

17         (1)  A child care program or weekday preschool program

18  qualifies for the exemption provided in this section if the

19  program is an integral part of an established church, temple,

20  or parochial school conducting regularly scheduled classes,

21  courses of study, or educational programs, and is a member or

22  participant of, or accredited by, a state, regional, or

23  national accrediting agency for religious exemption which is

24  recognized by the Department of Children and Family Services.

25  A child care program or weekday preschool program that

26  qualifies as a religious-exempt child care program may choose

27  to be exempt from the requirements for child care licensing

28  established in ss. 402.301-402.319 or may voluntarily be

29  licensed under ss. 402.301-402.319. If a religious-exempt

30  child care program chooses to be exempt from the requirements

31  of ss. 402.301-402.319, the program must display its

                                  2

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 158
    7-68-04




 1  certificate of compliance issued by a recognized accrediting

 2  agency for religious exemption in a conspicuous location in

 3  the facility. Failure to post the certificate of compliance in

 4  a conspicuous location will result in an administrative action

 5  as determined by the standards of the program's accrediting

 6  agency for religious exemption.

 7         (2)  The department shall verify an accrediting agency

 8  as a recognized accrediting agency for religious exemption if

 9  the accrediting agency:

10         (a)  Adopts minimum standards for operating a child

11  care program or weekday preschool program which meet or exceed

12  the department's minimum standards set forth in s. 402.305

13  (1)-(11), (13), (15), and (16);

14         (b)  Publishes its minimum standards and requires a

15  child care program or weekday preschool program that is a

16  member or participant of, or accredited by, the agency to

17  comply with the accrediting agency's minimum standards;

18         (c)  Requires a program that is a member or participant

19  of, or accredited by, the agency to meet the minimum

20  requirements of the local governing body with respect to

21  health, sanitation, and safety, including, but not limited to,

22  minimum requirements for environmental health, firesafety,

23  zoning, and building codes;

24         (d)  Requires a program that is a member or participant

25  of, or accredited by, the agency to inform parents that the

26  program is exempt from state licensing requirements but meets

27  the standards of the program's accrediting agency, which meet

28  or exceed the department's minimum standards;

29         (e)  Conducts an initial on-site review of each program

30  that is a member or participant of, or accredited by, the

31  agency. Each year thereafter, a notarized statement must be

                                  3

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 158
    7-68-04




 1  submitted to the accrediting agency by each program verifying

 2  compliance with applicable state laws and the accrediting

 3  agency's published minimum standards; and

 4         (f)  Requires child care personnel employed by a

 5  program that is a member or participant of, or accredited by,

 6  the agency to comply with standards that meet or exceed the

 7  standards set forth in s. 402.305(2)(d). A recognized

 8  accrediting agency for religious exemption must require child

 9  care personnel to begin a 40-clock-hour introductory course in

10  child care, approved by the department, by October 1, 2004, or

11  within 90 days after employment and complete the training

12  within 1 year after the date on which the training begins. In

13  addition, a recognized accrediting agency shall require a

14  program that is a member or participant of, or accredited by,

15  the agency to meet or exceed the requirements for staff

16  credentials set forth in s. 402.305(3) by July 1, 2008. The

17  department and accrediting agencies for religious exemption

18  shall work collaboratively to expedite the approval of

19  equivalency programs developed by the accrediting agencies.

20         (3)  Each accrediting agency for religious exemption

21  that seeks recognition by the department under this section

22  must submit a copy of its published standards to the

23  department for review. These standards shall be reviewed by

24  the department within 30 days after submission. The department

25  shall recognize an accrediting agency if the agency's

26  standards meet or exceed the minimum standards set forth in s.

27  402.305 (1)-(11), (13), (15), and (16). The department shall

28  create and maintain a complete and accurate list of all

29  recognized accrediting agencies for religious exemption and

30  specify the agencies' standards.

31  

                                  4

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 158
    7-68-04




 1         (4)  This section does not authorize the department to

 2  regulate or control an accrediting agency for religious

 3  exemption or to regulate or control the governance, religious

 4  curriculum, discipline, or hiring practices of any

 5  religious-exempt child care program.

 6         (5)  The department shall distribute to each recognized

 7  accrediting agency for religious exemption any revision made

 8  to the department's minimum standards within 30 days after the

 9  revision is adopted. Within 30 days after the receipt of

10  revised minimum standards from the department, each recognized

11  accrediting agency for religious exemption shall notify the

12  department by written statement documenting that they have

13  notified each exempt program of the revised standards. The new

14  standards shall be incorporated during the next revision of

15  the accrediting agency's minimum standards. Each recognized

16  accrediting agency for religious exemption shall maintain and

17  submit to the department an annual report that includes an

18  updated listing of programs that are members or participants

19  of, or accredited by, that agency and submit a written notice

20  of a new program coming into affiliation thereafter, or

21  terminating affiliation, within 30 days after such action. A

22  religious-exempt child care program that transfers its

23  affiliation from one accrediting agency to another must notify

24  the accrediting agency from which it is transferring 30 days

25  in advance of the transfer.

26         (6)  A recognized accrediting agency for religious

27  exemption may not own, operate, or administer a child care

28  program or weekday preschool program under its certificate of

29  approval. A child care program or weekday preschool program

30  exempt from ss. 402.301-402.319 under this section is solely

31  responsible for its day-to-day operations and compliance with

                                  5

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                   SB 158
    7-68-04




 1  applicable state laws and the minimum standards of its

 2  accrediting agency for religious exemption.

 3         (7)  The department shall facilitate an annual meeting

 4  with the accrediting agencies for religious exemption, health

 5  and safety officials, and other interested child advocates to

 6  exchange ideas for ensuring the health and safety of children

 7  in child care and preschool programs.

 8         Section 2.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2004.

 9  

10            *****************************************

11                          SENATE SUMMARY

12    Provides that a child care program affiliated with a
      church, temple, or parochial school is exempt from
13    regulation by the department as a religious-exempt child
      care program. Requires religious-exempt child care
14    programs to display a certificate of compliance issued by
      an accrediting agency that is recognized by the
15    department. Establishes requirements for accrediting
      agencies recognized by the department. Requires a
16    recognized accrediting agency to conduct an initial
      on-site review. Establishes timeframes within which child
17    care programs must meet the requirements for training and
      credentials. Requires accrediting agencies for religious
18    exemption to submit standards to the department. Requires
      the department to create and maintain a list of
19    recognized accrediting agencies. Provides that the act
      does not authorize the department to regulate the
20    curriculum, discipline, or hiring practices of a
      religious-exempt child care program. Mandates the
21    department to notify recognized accrediting agencies of
      any revision in standards. Requires that a recognized
22    accrediting agency submit an annual report. Establishes
      timeframes within which an exempt child care program must
23    notify an accrediting agency of its transfer and
      termination of accreditation. Prohibits a recognized
24    accrediting agency for religious exemption from owning,
      operating, or administering certain programs. Requires
25    the department to facilitate an annual meeting.

26  

27  

28  

29  

30  

31  

                                  6

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