July 23, 2019
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                     SB 404
       
       
       
       By Senator Joyner
       
       
       
       
       18-00287-10                                            2010404__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to children of incarcerated parents;
    3         providing legislative findings and purpose; providing
    4         guiding principles to be used by state agency
    5         personnel when dealing with children of incarcerated
    6         parents; providing for applicability; providing an
    7         effective date.
    8  
    9  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   10  
   11         Section 1. Children of incarcerated parents; guiding
   12  principles for state agencies.
   13         (1)LEGLISLATIVE FINDINGS.—The Legislature finds that one
   14  in every 100 adults in this country is in jail or prison and
   15  that approximately 1.5 million children have a parent in a state
   16  or federal prison. The Department of Corrections estimates that
   17  there are more than 73,000 children in this state who have a
   18  parent in prison. The Legislature further finds that children of
   19  incarcerated parents often face significant obstacles, including
   20  unstable living arrangements and multiple school placements,
   21  financial hardship, and the social stigma associated with their
   22  parents’ incarceration. As a result, children of incarcerated
   23  parents are at risk for poor academic achievement, substance
   24  abuse, delinquency, and criminal activity that can lead to their
   25  own incarceration.
   26         (2)PURPOSE.—The purpose of this section is to help ensure
   27  that state agency personnel are sensitive to the issues and
   28  risks of children of incarcerated parents and to help maintain
   29  their well-being and support their needs.
   30         (3)GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR STATE AGENCY PERSONNEL.State
   31  agency personnel shall use the following guiding principles when
   32  dealing with the children of incarcerated parents.
   33         (a)Children should be treated with respect and dignity at
   34  all times.
   35         (b)The children’s safety and care should be of paramount
   36  importance to all involved.
   37         (c)If the children so choose, communication avenues should
   38  be made available such that the children should have
   39  opportunities to see, speak to, or visit parents, if
   40  appropriate.
   41         (d)State support for the children should be provided as
   42  resources permit and as authorized by law.
   43         (e)The children should be kept safe and informed at the
   44  time of the parent’s arrest.
   45         (f)The children’s wishes should be taken into
   46  consideration regarding any decisions made concerning their
   47  welfare.
   48         (g)The children’s wishes should be taken into
   49  consideration when decisions are made about their incarcerated
   50  parent.
   51         (h)Children should be well cared for when a parent is
   52  absent due to incarceration.
   53         (i)Children should receive proper support during struggles
   54  with the parent’s incarceration.
   55         (j)Children should not be judged, blamed, or labeled
   56  because of a parent’s incarceration.
   57         (k)Children should receive support for the desire to
   58  retain a relationship with an incarcerated parent, if
   59  appropriate.
   60         (4)APPLICABILITY.This section does not obligate a state
   61  agency to provide children of incarcerated parents with support
   62  or services, or to give children of incarcerated parents
   63  priority in the delivery of support or services not authorized
   64  by law.
   65         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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