November 29, 2020
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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 1860
       
       
       
       By Senator Altman
       
       
       
       
       24-00812-10                                           20101860__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to attorney representation for
    3         children; amending s. 28.24, F.S.; requiring that the
    4         clerk of the court provide public records at no charge
    5         to an attorney appointed to represent a child;
    6         amending s. 39.001, F.S.; adding the promotion and
    7         protection of legal rights to the list of protections
    8         provided to children; amending s. 39.0016, F.S.;
    9         authorizing the court to appoint a guardian ad litem
   10         or attorney to advocate for a child in school matters;
   11         amending s. 39.01, F.S.; defining the term “attorney
   12         for the child”; redefining the term “party”; amending
   13         s. 39.0136, F.S.; conforming terms to changes made by
   14         the act; amending s. 39.0139, F.S.; substituting an
   15         attorney for an attorney ad litem to act on behalf of
   16         a child in certain proceedings; amending s. 39.302,
   17         F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; amending s.
   18         39.402, F.S.; conforming terms to changes made by the
   19         act; amending s. 39.407, F.S.; substituting an
   20         attorney for an attorney ad litem; requiring the court
   21         to appoint an attorney for the child before
   22         involuntary placement of the child; requiring that the
   23         child’s attorney be provided with the child’s records
   24         and reports; amending s. 39.4085, F.S.; adding the
   25         requirement of informing a child about attorney
   26         representation to the list of goals for children in
   27         shelter or foster care; substituting an attorney for
   28         an attorney ad litem in such cases; repealing s.
   29         39.4086, F.S., relating to the pilot program for
   30         attorneys ad litem for dependent children; amending s.
   31         39.502, F.S.; requiring an attorney for the child to
   32         receive all notices and subpoenas relating to the
   33         child; amending s. 39.801, F.S.; deleting the
   34         requirement that a grandparent receive notice of a
   35         hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights,
   36         but requiring that the attorney for the child receive
   37         such notice; amending ss. 39.806 and 39.828, F.S.;
   38         conforming cross-references; amending s. 39.8296,
   39         F.S.; deleting references to the attorney ad litem
   40         program and obsolete provisions; providing a directive
   41         to the Division of Statutory Revision; creating s.
   42         39.8501, F.S.; providing that a child has a right to
   43         participate in all proceedings under ch. 39, F.S., and
   44         to receive notice of his or her right to attend
   45         hearings; providing an exception; creating s. 39.8502,
   46         F.S.; providing that a child has a right to attorney
   47         representation in proceedings; requesting that the
   48         Florida Supreme Court adopt rules relating to attorney
   49         requirements; creating s. 39.8503, F.S.; requiring
   50         that the child’s attorney have access to the child and
   51         all information relating to the child; creating s.
   52         39.8504, F.S.; providing for the appointment of an
   53         attorney for the child; requiring an attorney to be
   54         appointed under certain circumstances and by the court
   55         on its own motion; amending s. 43.16, F.S.; adding the
   56         administration of the Children’s Legal Representation
   57         Act to the Justice Administrative Commission’s list of
   58         duties; creating s. 43.50, F.S.; providing a short
   59         title; creating s. 43.51, F.S.; providing legislative
   60         intent with respect to providing legal representation
   61         to children; creating s. 43.52, F.S.; requiring the
   62         commission to contract with not-for-profit
   63         corporations for the distribution of funds and the
   64         legal representation of children; providing the
   65         requirements for such contracts; creating s. 43.53,
   66         F.S.; providing for accountability; creating s. 43.54,
   67         F.S.; providing state support to the contracted
   68         organizations; amending s. 61.401, F.S.; permitting an
   69         attorney who has been appointed as a guardian ad litem
   70         in a dissolution of marriage proceeding to represent
   71         himself or herself; amending s. 63.142, F.S.;
   72         providing for the court appointment of an attorney for
   73         the child in an adoption proceeding; amending s.
   74         63.0425, F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; amending
   75         s. 393.125, F.S.; providing for the court appointment
   76         of an attorney for a developmentally disabled child in
   77         an administrative hearing; amending s. 394.463, F.S.;
   78         providing for the court appointment of an attorney for
   79         a minor being held for an involuntary mental health
   80         examination; amending s. 397.681, F.S.; providing for
   81         the court appointment of an attorney for a minor being
   82         involuntarily examined for substance abuse; amending
   83         s. 731.303, F.S.; providing for the court appointment
   84         of an attorney for a child in probate proceedings;
   85         amending s. 741.2902, F.S.; providing for the court to
   86         consider appointing an attorney for a child in
   87         injunctive proceedings relating to domestic violence;
   88         amending s. 742.031, F.S.; providing for the court
   89         appointment of an attorney for a child during
   90         paternity hearings; amending s. 914.17, F.S.;
   91         providing for the court appointment of an attorney for
   92         a child witness or victim during criminal proceedings;
   93         amending s. 984.17, F.S.; providing for the court
   94         appointment of an attorney for a child in need of
   95         services; amending s. 985.033, F.S.; providing for the
   96         court appointment of an attorney or guardian ad litem
   97         for a child in delinquency proceedings; amending s.
   98         20.195, F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; providing
   99         an effective date.
  100  
  101  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  102  
  103         Section 1. Section 28.24, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  104  read:
  105         28.24 Service charges by clerk of the circuit court.—The
  106  clerk of the circuit court shall charge for services rendered by
  107  the clerk’s office in recording documents and instruments and in
  108  performing the duties enumerated in amounts that do not to
  109  exceed those specified in this section. However notwithstanding
  110  any other provision of this section, the clerk of the circuit
  111  court shall provide access to and a copy of a public record
  112  without charge to the state attorney;, public defender;,
  113  guardian ad litem;, public guardian;, attorney ad litem;,
  114  attorney for a child appointed pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54;
  115  criminal conflict and civil regional counsel;, and private
  116  court-appointed counsel paid by the state;, and to the
  117  authorized staff acting on behalf of such persons each, access
  118  to and a copy of any public record, if the requesting party is
  119  entitled by law to view the exempt or confidential record, as
  120  maintained by and in the custody of the clerk of the circuit
  121  court as provided by in general law and the Florida Rules of
  122  Judicial Administration. The clerk of the circuit court may
  123  provide the requested public record in an electronic format in
  124  lieu of a paper format if the electronic record can be when
  125  capable of being accessed by the requesting entity.
  126  
  127  Charges
  128         (1) For examining, comparing, correcting, verifying, and
  129  certifying transcripts of record in appellate proceedings,
  130  prepared by attorney for appellant or someone else other than
  131  clerk, per page.............................................5.00
  132         (2) For preparing, numbering, and indexing an original
  133  record of appellate proceedings, per instrument.............3.50
  134         (3) For certifying copies of any instrument in the public
  135  records.....................................................2.00
  136         (4) For verifying any instrument presented for
  137  certification prepared by someone other than clerk, per page3.50
  138         (5)(a) For making copies by photographic process of any
  139  instrument in the public records:
  140         (a) Consisting of pages of not more than 14 inches by 8 1/2
  141  inches, per page............................................1.00
  142         (b) Consisting of pages For making copies by photographic
  143  process of any instrument in the public records of more than 14
  144  inches by 8 1/2 inches, per page............................5.00
  145         (6) For making microfilm copies of any public records:
  146         (a) 16 mm 100′ microfilm roll.......................42.00
  147         (b) 35 mm 100′ microfilm roll.......................60.00
  148         (c) Microfiche, per fiche............................3.50
  149         (7) For copying any instrument in the public records by
  150  other than photographic process, per page...................6.00
  151         (8) For writing any paper other than herein specifically
  152  mentioned, same as for copying, including signing and
  153  sealing.....................................................7.00
  154         (9) For indexing each entry not recorded.............1.00
  155         (10) For receiving money into the registry of court:
  156         (a)1. First $500, percent...............................3
  157         2. Each subsequent $100, percent......................1.5
  158         (b) Eminent domain actions, per deposit............170.00
  159         (11) For examining, certifying, and recording plats and for
  160  recording condominium exhibits larger than 14 inches by 8 1/2
  161  inches:
  162         (a) First page......................................30.00
  163         (b) Each additional page............................15.00
  164         (12) For recording, indexing, and filing any instrument not
  165  more than 14 inches by 8 1/2 inches, including required notice
  166  to property appraiser where applicable:
  167         (a) First page or fraction thereof...................5.00
  168         (b) Each additional page or fraction thereof.........4.00
  169         (c) For indexing instruments recorded in the official
  170  records which contain more than four names, per additional
  171  name........................................................1.00
  172         (d) An additional service charge shall be paid to the clerk
  173  of the circuit court and to be deposited in the Public Records
  174  Modernization Trust Fund for each instrument listed in s.
  175  28.222, except judgments received from the courts and notices of
  176  lis pendens, recorded in the official records:
  177         1. First page........................................1.00
  178         2. Each additional page..............................0.50
  179  
  180  The Said fund shall be held in trust by the clerk and used
  181  exclusively for equipment and maintenance of equipment,
  182  personnel training, and technical assistance in modernizing the
  183  public records system of the office. In a county where the duty
  184  of maintaining official records exists in an office other than
  185  the office of the clerk of the circuit court, the clerk of the
  186  circuit court is entitled to 25 percent of the moneys deposited
  187  into the trust fund for equipment, maintenance of equipment,
  188  training, and technical assistance in modernizing the system for
  189  storing records in the clerk’s office of the clerk of the
  190  circuit court. The fund may not be used for the payment of
  191  travel expenses, membership dues, bank charges, staff
  192  recruitment costs, salaries or benefits of employees,
  193  construction costs, general operating expenses, or other costs
  194  not directly related to obtaining and maintaining equipment for
  195  public records systems or for the purchase of furniture or
  196  office supplies and equipment not related to the storage of
  197  records. On or before December 1, 1995, and on or before
  198  December 1 of each year immediately preceding the each year
  199  during which the trust fund is scheduled for legislative review
  200  under s. 19(f)(2), Art. III of the State Constitution, each
  201  clerk of the circuit court shall file a report on the Public
  202  Records Modernization Trust Fund with the President of the
  203  Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The
  204  report must itemize each expenditure made from the trust fund
  205  since the last report was filed; each obligation payable from
  206  the trust fund on that date; and the percentage of funds
  207  expended for each of the following: equipment, maintenance of
  208  equipment, personnel training, and technical assistance. The
  209  report must indicate the nature of the system each clerk uses to
  210  store, maintain, and retrieve public records and the degree to
  211  which the system has been upgraded since the creation of the
  212  trust fund.
  213         (e) An additional service charge of $4 per page shall be
  214  paid to the clerk of the circuit court for each instrument
  215  listed in s. 28.222, except judgments received from the courts
  216  and notices of lis pendens, recorded in the official records.
  217  From the additional $4 service charge collected:
  218         1. If the counties maintain legal responsibility for the
  219  costs of the court-related technology needs, as defined in s.
  220  29.008(1)(f)2. and (h), 10 cents shall be distributed to the
  221  Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptroller, Inc., for
  222  the cost of the development, implementation, operation, and
  223  maintenance of the clerks’ Comprehensive Case Information
  224  System, in which system all clerks shall participate on or
  225  before January 1, 2006; $1.90 shall be retained by the clerk to
  226  be deposited in the Public Records Modernization Trust Fund and
  227  used exclusively for funding the court-related technology needs
  228  of the clerk as defined in s. 29.008(1)(f)2. and (h); and $2
  229  shall be distributed to the board of county commissioners to be
  230  used exclusively to fund the court-related technology, and court
  231  technology needs of as defined in s. 29.008(1)(f)2. and (h) for
  232  the state trial courts, state attorney, public defender, and
  233  criminal conflict and civil regional counsel in that county. If
  234  the counties maintain legal responsibility for the costs of the
  235  court-related technology needs as defined in s. 29.008(1)(f)2.
  236  and (h), Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the county
  237  is not required to provide additional funding beyond that
  238  provided herein for the court-related technology needs of the
  239  clerk as defined in s. 29.008(1)(f)2. and (h). All court records
  240  and official records are the property of the state of Florida,
  241  including any records generated as part of the Comprehensive
  242  Case Information System funded pursuant to this paragraph and
  243  the clerk of court is designated as the custodian of such
  244  records, except in a county where the duty of maintaining
  245  official records exists in a county office other than the clerk
  246  of court or comptroller, such county office is designated the
  247  custodian of all official records, and the clerk of court is
  248  designated the custodian of all court records. The clerk of
  249  court or any entity acting on behalf of the clerk of court,
  250  including an association, may shall not charge a fee to any
  251  agency as defined in s. 119.011, the Legislature, or the State
  252  Court System for copies of records generated by the
  253  Comprehensive Case Information System or held by the clerk of
  254  court or any entity acting on behalf of the clerk of court,
  255  including an association.
  256         2. If the state becomes legally responsible for the costs
  257  of court-related technology needs as defined in s.
  258  29.008(1)(f)2. and (h), whether by operation of general law or
  259  by court order, $4 shall be remitted to the Department of
  260  Revenue for deposit into the General Revenue Fund.
  261         (13) Oath, administering, attesting, and sealing, not
  262  otherwise provided for herein...............................3.50
  263         (14) For validating certificates, any authorized bonds,
  264  each........................................................3.50
  265         (15) For preparing affidavit of domicile.............5.00
  266         (16) For exemplified certificates, including signing and
  267  sealing.....................................................7.00
  268         (17) For authenticated certificates, including signing and
  269  sealing.....................................................7.00
  270         (18)(a) For issuing and filing a subpoena for a witness,
  271  not otherwise provided for herein (includes writing, preparing,
  272  signing, and sealing).......................................7.00
  273         (b) For signing and sealing only.....................2.00
  274         (19) For approving bond..............................8.50
  275         (20) For searching of records, for each year’s search2.00
  276         (21) For processing an application for a tax deed sale
  277  (includes application, sale, issuance, and preparation of tax
  278  deed, and disbursement of proceeds of sale), other than excess
  279  proceeds...................................................60.00
  280         (22) For disbursement of excess proceeds of tax deed sale,
  281  first $100 or fraction thereof.............................10.00
  282         (23) Upon receipt of an application for a marriage license,
  283  for preparing and administering of oath; issuing, sealing, and
  284  recording of the marriage license; and providing a certified
  285  copy.......................................................30.00
  286         (24) For solemnizing matrimony......................30.00
  287         (25) For sealing any court file or expungement of any
  288  record.....................................................42.00
  289         (26)(a) For receiving and disbursing all restitution
  290  payments, per payment.......................................3.50
  291         (b) For receiving and disbursing all partial payments,
  292  other than restitution payments, for which an administrative
  293  processing service charge is not imposed pursuant to s. 28.246,
  294  per month...................................................5.00
  295         (c) For setting up a payment plan, a one-time
  296  administrative processing charge in lieu of a per month charge
  297  under paragraph (b)........................................25.00
  298         (27) Postal charges incurred by the clerk of the circuit
  299  court in any mailing by certified or registered mail shall be
  300  paid by the party at whose instance the mailing is made.
  301         (28) For furnishing an electronic copy of information
  302  contained in a computer database: a fee as provided for in
  303  chapter 119.
  304         Section 2. Paragraph (i) is added to subsection (3) of
  305  section 39.001, Florida Statutes, to read:
  306         39.001 Purposes and intent; personnel standards and
  307  screening.—
  308         (3) GENERAL PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN.—It is a purpose of
  309  the Legislature that the children of this state be provided with
  310  the following protections:
  311         (i) Promotion and protection of their legal rights.
  312         Section 3. Subsection (5) is added to section 39.0016,
  313  Florida Statutes, to read:
  314         39.0016 Education of abused, neglected, and abandoned
  315  children; agency agreements; children having or suspected of
  316  having a disability.—
  317         (5) ADVOCACY.—Upon request, the court may appoint a
  318  guardian ad litem or an attorney to advocate for a child known
  319  to the department in school matters, including disciplinary
  320  actions and issues relating to exceptional student education.
  321         Section 4. Present subsections (9) through (76) of section
  322  39.01, Florida Statutes, are renumbered as subsections (10)
  323  through (77), respectively, a new subsection (9) is added to
  324  that section, and present subsection (51) of that section is
  325  amended, to read:
  326         39.01 Definitions.—When used in this chapter, unless the
  327  context otherwise requires:
  328         (9) “Attorney for the child” means an attorney who provides
  329  direct legal representation to a child.
  330         (52)(51) “Party” means the parent or parents of the child,
  331  the petitioner, the department, the guardian ad litem or the
  332  representative of the guardian ad litem program if when the
  333  program has been appointed, and the child. The presence of the
  334  child may be excused by order of the court when presence would
  335  not be in the child’s best interest. Notice to the child may be
  336  excused by order of the court when the age, capacity, or other
  337  condition of the child is such that the notice would be
  338  meaningless or detrimental to the child.
  339         Section 5. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
  340  39.0136, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  341         39.0136 Time limitations; continuances.—
  342         (2) The time limitations in this chapter do not include:
  343         (a) Periods of delay resulting from a continuance granted
  344  at the request of the attorney for the child child’s counsel or
  345  the child’s guardian ad litem or, if the child is of sufficient
  346  capacity to express reasonable consent, at the request or with
  347  the consent of the child. The court must consider the best
  348  interests of the child when determining periods of delay under
  349  this section.
  350         Section 6. Paragraph (a) of subsection (4) of section
  351  39.0139, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  352         39.0139 Visitation or other contact; restrictions.—
  353         (4) HEARINGS.—A person who meets any of the criteria set
  354  forth in paragraph (3)(a) may visit or have other contact with a
  355  child only after a hearing and an order by the court that allows
  356  the visitation or other contact. At such a hearing:
  357         (a) The court must appoint an attorney ad litem or a
  358  guardian ad litem or attorney for the child if one has not
  359  already been appointed. The Any attorney ad litem or guardian ad
  360  litem or attorney must appointed shall have special training in
  361  the dynamics of child sexual abuse.
  362         Section 7. Subsection (1) of section 39.302, Florida
  363  Statutes, is amended to read:
  364         39.302 Protective investigations of institutional child
  365  abuse, abandonment, or neglect.—
  366         (1) The department shall conduct a child protective
  367  investigation of each report of institutional child abuse,
  368  abandonment, or neglect. Upon receipt of a report that alleges
  369  that an employee or agent of the department listed in s.
  370  39.01(34), or any other person responsible for a child’s welfare
  371  covered under s. 39.01(48) entity or person covered by s.
  372  39.01(33) or (47), acting in an official capacity, has committed
  373  an act of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, the department
  374  shall initiate a child protective investigation within the
  375  timeframe established under s. 39.201(5) and orally notify the
  376  appropriate state attorney, law enforcement agency, and
  377  licensing agency, which shall immediately conduct a joint
  378  investigation, unless independent investigations are more
  379  feasible. When conducting investigations onsite or having face
  380  to-face interviews with the child, investigation visits shall be
  381  unannounced unless it is determined by the department or its
  382  agent that unannounced visits threaten the safety of the child.
  383  If a facility is exempt from licensing, the department shall
  384  inform the owner or operator of the facility of the report. Each
  385  agency conducting a joint investigation is entitled to full
  386  access to the information gathered by the department in the
  387  course of the investigation. A protective investigation must
  388  include an onsite visit of the child’s place of residence. The
  389  department shall make a full written report to the state
  390  attorney within 3 working days after making the oral report. A
  391  criminal investigation shall be coordinated, whenever possible,
  392  with the child protective investigation of the department. Any
  393  interested person who has information regarding the offenses
  394  described in this subsection may forward a statement to the
  395  state attorney as to whether prosecution is warranted and
  396  appropriate. Within 15 days after the completion of the
  397  investigation, the state attorney shall report the findings to
  398  the department and shall include in the report a determination
  399  of whether or not prosecution is justified and appropriate in
  400  view of the circumstances of the specific case.
  401         Section 8. Paragraph (a) of subsection (14) of section
  402  39.402, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  403         39.402 Placement in a shelter.—
  404         (14) The time limitations in this section do not include:
  405         (a) Periods of delay resulting from a continuance granted
  406  at the request or with the consent of the attorney for the child
  407  child’s counsel or the child’s guardian ad litem, if one has
  408  been appointed by the court, or, if the child is of sufficient
  409  capacity to express reasonable consent, at the request or with
  410  the consent of the child’s attorney or the child’s guardian ad
  411  litem, if one has been appointed by the court, and the child.
  412         Section 9. Paragraph (f) of subsection (3) and subsection
  413  (6) of section 39.407, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  414         39.407 Medical, psychiatric, and psychological examination
  415  and treatment of child; physical, mental, or substance abuse
  416  examination of person with or requesting child custody.—
  417         (3)
  418         (f)1. The department shall fully inform the court of the
  419  child’s medical and behavioral status as part of the social
  420  services report prepared for each judicial review hearing held
  421  for a child for whom psychotropic medication has been prescribed
  422  or provided under this subsection. As a part of the information
  423  provided to the court, the department shall furnish copies of
  424  all pertinent medical records concerning the child which have
  425  been generated since the previous hearing.
  426         1. On its own motion or for on good cause shown by any
  427  party, including any guardian ad litem, attorney, or attorney ad
  428  litem who has been appointed to represent the child or the
  429  child’s interests, the court may review the child’s status more
  430  frequently than required under in this subsection.
  431         2. The court may, in the best interests of the child, order
  432  the department to obtain a medical opinion addressing whether
  433  the continued use of the medication under the circumstances is
  434  safe and medically appropriate under the circumstances.
  435         (6) Children who are in the legal custody of the department
  436  may be placed by the department, without prior approval of the
  437  court, in a residential treatment center licensed under s.
  438  394.875 or a hospital licensed under chapter 395 for residential
  439  mental health treatment only pursuant to this section or may be
  440  placed by the court in accordance with an order of involuntary
  441  examination or involuntary placement entered pursuant to s.
  442  394.463 or s. 394.467. Before placement, the court must appoint
  443  an attorney for the child. A guardian ad litem must be appointed
  444  for each child All children placed for in a residential
  445  treatment program under this subsection must have a guardian ad
  446  litem appointed.
  447         (a) As used in this subsection, the term:
  448         1. “Residential treatment” means placement for observation,
  449  diagnosis, or treatment of an emotional disturbance in a
  450  residential treatment center licensed under s. 394.875 or a
  451  hospital licensed under chapter 395.
  452         2. “Least restrictive alternative” means the treatment and
  453  conditions of treatment which that, separately and in
  454  combination, are no more intrusive or restrictive of freedom
  455  than reasonably necessary to achieve a substantial therapeutic
  456  benefit or to protect the child or adolescent or others from
  457  physical injury.
  458         3. “Suitable for residential treatment” or “suitability”
  459  means a determination concerning a child or adolescent who has
  460  with an emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(5) or a
  461  serious emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(6) that
  462  each of the following criteria is met:
  463         a. The child requires residential treatment.
  464         b. The child is in need of a residential treatment program
  465  and is expected to benefit from mental health treatment.
  466         c. An appropriate, less restrictive alternative to
  467  residential treatment is unavailable.
  468         (b) If Whenever the department believes that a child in its
  469  legal custody is emotionally disturbed and may need residential
  470  treatment, an examination and suitability assessment must be
  471  conducted by a qualified evaluator who is appointed by the
  472  Agency for Health Care Administration. The This suitability
  473  assessment must be completed before the placement of the child
  474  in a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed
  475  children and adolescents or a hospital. The qualified evaluator
  476  must be a psychiatrist or a psychologist licensed in this state
  477  Florida who has at least 3 years of experience in the diagnosis
  478  and treatment of serious emotional disturbances in children and
  479  adolescents and who has no actual or perceived conflict of
  480  interest with any inpatient facility or residential treatment
  481  center or program.
  482         (c) Before a child is admitted under this subsection, the
  483  child shall be assessed for suitability for residential
  484  treatment by a qualified evaluator who has conducted a personal
  485  examination and evaluation assessment of the child and has made
  486  written findings that:
  487         1. The child appears to have an emotional disturbance
  488  serious enough to require residential treatment and is
  489  reasonably likely to benefit from the treatment.
  490         2. The child has been provided with a clinically
  491  appropriate explanation of the nature and purpose of the
  492  treatment.
  493         3. All available modalities of treatment less restrictive
  494  than residential treatment have been considered, and a less
  495  restrictive alternative that would offer comparable benefits to
  496  the child is unavailable.
  497  
  498  A copy of the written findings of the evaluation and suitability
  499  assessment must be provided to the department, and to the
  500  guardian ad litem, and the attorney for the child, who shall
  501  have the opportunity to discuss the findings with the evaluator.
  502         (d) Immediately upon placing a child in a residential
  503  treatment program under this section, the department must notify
  504  the guardian ad litem, the attorney for the child, and the court
  505  having jurisdiction over the child and must provide each the
  506  guardian ad litem and the court with a copy of the suitability
  507  assessment by the qualified evaluator.
  508         (e) Within 10 days after the admission of a child to a
  509  residential treatment program, the director of the residential
  510  treatment program or the director’s designee must ensure that an
  511  individualized plan of treatment has been prepared by the
  512  program and has been explained to the child, to the attorney for
  513  the child, to the department, and to the guardian ad litem, and
  514  submitted to the department. The child must be involved in the
  515  preparation of the plan to the maximum extent feasible extent
  516  consistent with his or her ability to understand and
  517  participate, and the guardian ad litem and the child’s foster
  518  parents must be involved to the maximum extent consistent with
  519  the child’s treatment needs. The plan must include a preliminary
  520  plan for residential treatment and aftercare upon completion of
  521  residential treatment. The plan must include specific behavioral
  522  and emotional goals against which the success of the residential
  523  treatment may be measured. A copy of the plan must be provided
  524  to the child, to the attorney for the child, to the guardian ad
  525  litem, and to the department.
  526         (f) Within 30 days after admission, the residential
  527  treatment program must review the appropriateness and
  528  suitability of the child’s placement in the program. The
  529  residential treatment program must determine whether the child
  530  is receiving benefit toward the treatment goals and whether the
  531  child could be treated in a less restrictive treatment program.
  532  The residential treatment program shall prepare a written report
  533  of its findings and submit the report to the guardian ad litem,
  534  to the attorney for the child, and to the department. The
  535  department must submit the report to the court. The report must
  536  include a discharge plan for the child. The residential
  537  treatment program must continue to evaluate the child’s
  538  treatment progress every 30 days thereafter and must include its
  539  findings in a written report submitted to the department. The
  540  department may not reimburse a facility until the facility has
  541  submitted every written report that is due.
  542         (g)1. The department must submit, At the beginning of each
  543  month, the department must submit to the court having
  544  jurisdiction over the child, a written report regarding the
  545  child’s progress toward achieving the goals specified in the
  546  individualized plan of treatment to the court having
  547  jurisdiction over the child.
  548         2. The court must conduct a hearing to review the status of
  549  the child’s residential treatment plan within no later than 3
  550  months after the child’s admission to the residential treatment
  551  program. An independent review of the child’s progress toward
  552  achieving the goals and objectives of the treatment plan must be
  553  completed by a qualified evaluator and submitted to the court
  554  before its 3-month review.
  555         3. For any child in residential treatment at the time a
  556  judicial review is held pursuant to s. 39.701, the child’s
  557  continued placement in residential treatment must be a subject
  558  of the judicial review.
  559         4. If at any time the court determines that the child is
  560  not suitable for continued residential treatment, the court
  561  shall order the department to place the child in the least
  562  restrictive setting that is best suited to meet his or her
  563  needs.
  564         5.(h) After the initial 3-month review, the court must
  565  conduct a review of the child’s residential treatment plan every
  566  90 days.
  567         (h)(i) The department shall must adopt rules for
  568  implementing timeframes for the completion of suitability
  569  assessments by qualified evaluators and a procedure that
  570  includes timeframes for completing the 3-month independent
  571  review by the qualified evaluators of the child’s progress
  572  toward achieving the goals and objectives of the treatment plan
  573  which review must be submitted to the court. The Agency for
  574  Health Care Administration must adopt rules for the registration
  575  of qualified evaluators, the procedure for selecting the
  576  evaluators to conduct the reviews required under this section,
  577  and a reasonable, cost-efficient fee schedule for qualified
  578  evaluators.
  579         Section 10. Subsection (20) of section 39.4085, Florida
  580  Statutes, is amended to read:
  581         39.4085 Legislative findings and declaration of intent for
  582  goals for dependent children.—The Legislature finds and declares
  583  that the design and delivery of child welfare services should be
  584  directed by the principle that the health and safety of children
  585  should be of paramount concern and, therefore, establishes the
  586  following goals for children in shelter or foster care:
  587         (20) To have a guardian ad litem appointed to represent,
  588  within reason, their best interests and, where appropriate, an
  589  attorney ad litem appointed to represent their legal interests,
  590  and to inform them about such representation and when
  591  representation is required; the guardian ad litem and attorney
  592  ad litem shall have immediate and unlimited access to the
  593  children they represent.
  594         (21) To have all their records available for review by
  595  their guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem if they deem such
  596  review necessary.
  597  
  598  The provisions of this section establish goals and not rights.
  599  Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as requiring the
  600  delivery of any particular service or level of service in excess
  601  of existing appropriations. No person shall have a cause of
  602  action against the state or any of its subdivisions, agencies,
  603  contractors, subcontractors, or agents, based upon the adoption
  604  of or failure to provide adequate funding for the achievement of
  605  these goals by the Legislature. Nothing herein shall require the
  606  expenditure of funds to meet the goals established herein except
  607  funds specifically appropriated for such purpose.
  608         Section 11. Section 39.4086, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
  609         Section 12. Subsections (12), (13), and (17) of section
  610  39.502, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  611         39.502 Notice, process, and service.—
  612         (12) All process and orders issued by the court shall be
  613  served or executed as other process and orders of the circuit
  614  court and, in addition, may be served or executed by authorized
  615  agents of the department, the attorney for the child, or the
  616  guardian ad litem.
  617         (13) Subpoenas may be served within the state by any person
  618  over 18 years of age who is not a party to the proceeding and,
  619  in addition, may be served by authorized agents of the
  620  department, the attorney for the child, or the guardian ad
  621  litem.
  622         (17) The parent or legal custodian of the child, the
  623  attorney for the department, the attorney for the child, the
  624  guardian ad litem, the foster or preadoptive parents, and all
  625  other parties and participants shall be given reasonable notice
  626  of all proceedings and hearings provided for under this part.
  627  All foster or preadoptive parents must be provided with at least
  628  72 hours’ notice, verbally or in writing, of all proceedings or
  629  hearings relating to children in their care or children they are
  630  seeking to adopt to ensure the ability to provide input to the
  631  court.
  632         Section 13. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
  633  39.801, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  634         39.801 Procedures and jurisdiction; notice; service of
  635  process.—
  636         (3) Before the court may terminate parental rights, in
  637  addition to the other requirements set forth in this part, the
  638  following requirements must be met:
  639         (a) Notice of the date, time, and place of the advisory
  640  hearing for the petition to terminate parental rights and a copy
  641  of the petition must be personally served upon the following
  642  persons, specifically notifying them that a petition has been
  643  filed:
  644         1. The parents of the child.
  645         2. The legal custodians of the child.
  646         3. If the parents who would be entitled to notice are dead
  647  or unknown, a living relative of the child, unless upon diligent
  648  search and inquiry no such relative can be found.
  649         4. Any person who has physical custody of the child.
  650         5.Any grandparent entitled to priority for adoption under
  651  s. 63.0425.
  652         5.6. Any prospective parent who has been identified under
  653  s. 39.503 or s. 39.803.
  654         6.7. The guardian ad litem for the child or the
  655  representative of the guardian ad litem program, if the program
  656  has been appointed.
  657         7. The attorney for the child.
  658  
  659  The document containing the notice to respond or appear must
  660  contain, in type at least as large as the type in the balance of
  661  the document, the following or substantially similar language:
  662  “FAILURE TO PERSONALLY APPEAR AT THIS ADVISORY HEARING
  663  CONSTITUTES CONSENT TO THE TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS OF
  664  THIS CHILD (OR CHILDREN). IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR ON THE DATE AND
  665  TIME SPECIFIED, YOU MAY LOSE ALL LEGAL RIGHTS AS A PARENT TO THE
  666  CHILD OR CHILDREN NAMED IN THE PETITION ATTACHED TO THIS
  667  NOTICE.”
  668         Section 14. Paragraph (k) of subsection (1) of section
  669  39.806, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  670         39.806 Grounds for termination of parental rights.—
  671         (1) Grounds for the termination of parental rights may be
  672  established under any of the following circumstances:
  673         (k) A test administered at birth which that indicated that
  674  the child’s blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of
  675  alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such
  676  substances, the presence of which was not the result of medical
  677  treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant, and
  678  the biological mother of the child is the biological mother of
  679  at least one other child who was adjudicated dependent after a
  680  finding of harm to the child’s health or welfare due to exposure
  681  to a controlled substance or alcohol as defined in s.
  682  39.01(33)(g) 39.01(32)(g), after which the biological mother had
  683  the opportunity to participate in substance abuse treatment.
  684         Section 15. Subsection (1) of section 39.828, Florida
  685  Statutes, is amended to read:
  686         39.828 Grounds for appointment of a guardian advocate.—
  687         (1) The court shall appoint the person named in the
  688  petition as a guardian advocate with all the powers and duties
  689  specified in s. 39.829 for an initial term of 1 year upon a
  690  finding that:
  691         (a) The child named in the petition is or was a drug
  692  dependent newborn as described in s. 39.01(33)(g) 39.01(32)(g);
  693         (b) The parent or parents of the child have voluntarily
  694  relinquished temporary custody of the child to a relative or
  695  other responsible adult;
  696         (c) The person named in the petition to be appointed the
  697  guardian advocate is capable of carrying out the duties as
  698  provided in s. 39.829; and
  699         (d) A petition to adjudicate the child dependent under this
  700  chapter has not been filed.
  701         Section 16. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
  702  39.8296, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  703         39.8296 Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office; legislative
  704  findings and intent; creation; appointment of executive
  705  director; duties of office.—
  706         (2) STATEWIDE GUARDIAN AD LITEM OFFICE.—There is created a
  707  Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office within the Justice
  708  Administrative Commission. The Justice Administrative Commission
  709  shall provide administrative support and service to the office
  710  to the extent requested by the executive director within the
  711  available resources of the commission. The Statewide Guardian Ad
  712  Litem Office shall not be subject to control, supervision, or
  713  direction by the Justice Administrative Commission in the
  714  performance of its duties, but the employees of the office shall
  715  be governed by the classification plan and salary and benefits
  716  plan approved by the Justice Administrative Commission.
  717         (b) The Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office shall, within
  718  available resources, have oversight responsibilities for and
  719  provide technical assistance to all guardian ad litem and
  720  attorney ad litem programs located within the judicial circuits.
  721  The office shall:
  722         1. The office shall Identify the resources required to
  723  implement methods of collecting, reporting, and tracking
  724  reliable and consistent case data.
  725         2. The office shall Review the current guardian ad litem
  726  programs in Florida and other states.
  727         3. The office, In consultation with local guardian ad litem
  728  offices, shall develop statewide performance measures and
  729  standards.
  730         4. The office shall Develop a guardian ad litem training
  731  program. The office shall establish a curriculum committee to
  732  develop the training program specified in this subparagraph. The
  733  curriculum committee shall include, but not be limited to,
  734  dependency judges, directors of circuit guardian ad litem
  735  programs, active certified guardians ad litem, a mental health
  736  professional who specializes in the treatment of children, a
  737  member of a child advocacy group, a representative of the
  738  Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and a social worker
  739  experienced in working with victims and perpetrators of child
  740  abuse.
  741         5. The office shall Review the various methods of funding
  742  guardian ad litem programs, shall maximize the use of those
  743  funding sources to the extent possible, and shall review the
  744  kinds of services being provided by circuit guardian ad litem
  745  programs.
  746         6. The office shall Determine the feasibility or
  747  desirability of new concepts of organization, administration,
  748  financing, or service delivery designed to preserve the civil
  749  and constitutional rights and fulfill other needs of dependent
  750  children.
  751         7. No later than October 1, 2004, the office shall submit
  752  to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the
  753  House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme
  754  Court an interim report describing the progress of the office in
  755  meeting the goals as described in this section. No later than
  756  October 1, 2004, the office shall submit to the Governor, the
  757  President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
  758  Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court a
  759  proposed plan including alternatives for meeting the state’s
  760  guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem needs. This plan may
  761  include recommendations for less than the entire state, may
  762  include a phase-in system, and shall include estimates of the
  763  cost of each of the alternatives. Each year thereafter, the
  764  office shall Annually provide a status report and provide
  765  further recommendations to address the need for guardian ad
  766  litem services and related issues to the Governor, the President
  767  of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and
  768  the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  769         Section 17. The Division of Statutory Revision is requested
  770  to redesignate present part VIII of chapter 39, Florida
  771  Statutes, consisting of ss. 39.901-39.908, as part XIV, and to
  772  create a new part VIII, consisting of ss. 39.8501-39.8504,
  773  Florida Statutes, to be entitled “Attorney for the Child.”
  774         Section 18. Section 39.8501, Florida Statutes, is created
  775  to read:
  776         39.8501Right to participate in proceedings.—
  777         (1) Each child who is the subject of a proceeding under
  778  this chapter has the right to attend and have representation and
  779  fully participate in all court hearings related to his or her
  780  case and to be informed of these rights. Each child must receive
  781  notice from his or her caseworker, guardian ad litem, and the
  782  attorney for the child of his or her right to attend court
  783  hearings.
  784         (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the presence of the
  785  child may be excused by order of the court for all or part of a
  786  proceeding if the child’s presence would not be in the child’s
  787  best interest. If the child requests to attend a proceeding for
  788  which the court has excused the child’s attendance, the court
  789  must allow the child to appear and address the court prior to
  790  being excluded from the proceedings.
  791         Section 19. Section 39.8502, Florida Statutes, is created
  792  to read:
  793         39.8502Right to be represented by an attorney.—
  794         (1) Recognizing that all children in the custody of the
  795  state continue to enjoy the protection of their civil and legal
  796  rights, a child who is the subject of a petition brought
  797  pursuant to this chapter and who has his or her own attorney may
  798  not be denied the right to be represented by that attorney at
  799  all stages of all proceedings.
  800         (2) The Legislature requests that the Supreme Court adopt
  801  rules addressing the qualifications, training, continuing legal
  802  education, and standards of practice for attorneys representing
  803  children in proceedings under this chapter.
  804         Section 20. Section 39.8503, Florida Statutes, is created
  805  to read:
  806         39.8503Access to the child.—The child’s attorney shall
  807  have access to the child and to confidential information
  808  regarding the child, including the child’s educational, medical,
  809  and mental health records; social services agency files relating
  810  to the child; court records, including court files involving
  811  allegations of abuse or neglect of the child; any delinquency
  812  records involving the child; any other information relevant to
  813  the issues in the proceeding; and screenings, assessments,
  814  evaluations, and reports relating to the child.
  815         Section 21. Section 39.8504, Florida Statutes, is created
  816  to read:
  817         39.8504 Appointment of attorney.—
  818         (1) Subject to the availability of resources, it is the
  819  intent of the Legislature that, at a minimum, an attorney shall
  820  be appointed pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54 to represent a child
  821  who:
  822         (a) Has not been permanently placed pursuant to s. 39.621
  823  and has been continuously in out-of-home care as measured from
  824  initial entry into shelter care:
  825         1. For more than 2 years and the department has not filed a
  826  petition for termination of parental right; or
  827         2. For more than 18 months and parental rights have been
  828  terminated;
  829         (b) Has, or is suspected of having, a developmental
  830  disability as defined in s. 393.063, unless an attorney for the
  831  guardian ad litem program is representing the child in a
  832  proceeding under chapter 393;
  833         (c) Is subject to involuntary placement for longer than 72
  834  hours in a secure residential treatment facility, including
  835  those licensed under chapter 393, chapter 394, or chapter 397;
  836         (d) Is at least 17 years of age, in out-of-home care, and
  837  is determined by the court to require legal representation under
  838  s. 39.701, or is seeking assistance from the government,
  839  including as an adult, pursuant to s. 39.013(2) or s. 409.1451.
  840         (e) Has sufficient intelligence, understanding, and
  841  experience and disagrees with or conflicts with the guardian ad
  842  litem’s interpretation of his or her best interests; or
  843         (f) Is the subject of a proceeding in which waiver of the
  844  child’s psychotherapist-patient privilege is at issue.
  845         (2) The court may appoint an attorney for the child at any
  846  point in any proceeding under this chapter on its own motion or
  847  on the motion of any other party to the proceeding:
  848         (a) If the court finds that the child’s interests are not
  849  being protected in the proceedings;
  850         (b) If the child asks for an attorney;
  851         (c) If the child is the subject of proceedings in which the
  852  state is seeking to administer or continue to administer
  853  psychotropic medications and the child objects to the
  854  administration of medications or the court is otherwise
  855  concerned that the child’s interests are not adequately
  856  represented; or
  857         (d) In school matters, including disciplinary actions and
  858  issues relating to exceptional student education.
  859         (3) The appointment of an attorney for the child must be
  860  made as soon as practicable to ensure effective representation
  861  but before the next court hearing where the child is entitled to
  862  an attorney.
  863         (4) The court may appoint one attorney to represent
  864  siblings if there is no conflict of interest.
  865         (5) An order appointing an attorney for the child must be
  866  in writing.
  867         (6) An appointment of attorney for the child continues in
  868  effect until the attorney is discharged by the court or the case
  869  is dismissed. The appointment includes all stages, from removal
  870  from the home or initial appointment through all available
  871  appellate proceedings. With the permission of the court, the
  872  attorney for the child may arrange for supplemental or separate
  873  counsel to handle proceedings at an appellate stage.
  874         (7) This section may not be construed to interfere with the
  875  ability of the court to appoint an attorney for a child in any
  876  proceeding under this chapter for any reason, limit a child’s
  877  right to an attorney, preclude an attorney from appearing on
  878  behalf of a child, or create an entitlement to the appointment
  879  of an attorney.
  880         Section 22. Paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section
  881  43.16, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  882         43.16 Justice Administrative Commission; membership, powers
  883  and duties.—
  884         (5) The duties of the commission shall include, but not be
  885  limited to, the following:
  886         (a) The maintenance of a central state office for
  887  administrative services and assistance when possible to and on
  888  behalf of the state attorneys and public defenders of Florida,
  889  the capital collateral regional counsel of Florida, the criminal
  890  conflict and civil regional counsel, the Guardian Ad Litem
  891  Program, the Children’s Legal Representation Act, and the
  892  Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation.
  893         Section 23. Section 43.50, Florida Statutes, is created to
  894  read:
  895         43.50Short title.—Sections 43.51-43.54 may be cited as the
  896  “Children’s Legal Representation Act.”
  897         Section 24. Section 43.51, Florida Statutes, is created to
  898  read:
  899         43.51Legislative findings and intent.—
  900         (1) The Legislature finds that adequate legal
  901  representation for children subject to proceedings under chapter
  902  39, chapter 61, chapter 63, chapter 393, chapter 394, chapter
  903  397, chapter 731, chapter 741, chapter 742, chapter 914, chapter
  904  984, or chapter 985 will improve the outcomes and expedite those
  905  proceedings where the passage of time is inherently prejudicial
  906  to a child’s best interests. It is therefore the intent of the
  907  Legislature to establish an administrative framework whereby
  908  public and private funds may be used in an effective and
  909  efficient manner to enhance and ensure the availability of legal
  910  representation for children who are subject to such proceedings.
  911         (2) The Legislature recognizes that established local
  912  organizations exist that are successfully providing attorney
  913  representation to children in certain jurisdictions in the
  914  state. Some of these organizations have significantly improved
  915  the outcomes for children and have been embraced and supported
  916  in their communities. The Legislature does not intend that
  917  funding provided under the Children’s Legal Representation Act
  918  be used to supplant or replace already proven organizations
  919  providing legal representation for children. Instead, such
  920  funding should be used to meet the additional legal
  921  representation requirements of the act through cooperative
  922  partnership with existing local organizations or through
  923  expansion of those organizations. Further, the Legislature
  924  intends that the act continue to encourage the expansion of pro
  925  bono representation for children and not be used to discourage
  926  or otherwise limit the ability of a pro bono attorney to appear
  927  on behalf of a child.
  928         Section 25. Section 43.52, Florida Statutes, is created to
  929  read:
  930         43.52Authority and duties of the commission; contracting.—
  931         (1) The Justice Administrative Commission shall carry out
  932  the purposes and provisions of the Children’s Legal
  933  Representation Act, including:
  934         (a) Receiving public and private funding to be expended to
  935  cover the costs of administering the Children’s Legal
  936  Representation Act.
  937         (b) Contracting with one or more not-for-profit
  938  organizations that qualify under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal
  939  Revenue Code or governmental entities to:
  940         1. Administer, allocate, and distribute available funds for
  941  the purposes of and in a manner consistent with ss. 43.51-43.54.
  942  Funds must be apportioned as equitably as practical among
  943  contracting organizations based on the relative case load
  944  expected and taking into account the availability of other
  945  sources of legal representation for children in particular
  946  geographic areas; and
  947         2. Provide qualified legal representation to children
  948  subject to proceedings under chapter 39, chapter 61, chapter 63,
  949  chapter 393, chapter 394, chapter 397, chapter 731, chapter 741,
  950  chapter 742, chapter 914, chapter 984, and chapter 985 in each
  951  judicial circuit of the state.
  952         (2) The commission may contract with:
  953         (a) Legal aid organizations whose primary purpose is to
  954  provide civil legal services without charge to qualifying
  955  clients, organizations that provide child advocacy and legal
  956  services, public defender’s offices, or similar organizations in
  957  order to expand the case load that such organizations can
  958  sustain if present service levels are not sufficient to meet the
  959  anticipated load of cases for children entitled to appointed
  960  counsel; or
  961         (b) A single organization that provides funding statewide
  962  for civil legal assistance to the indigent, which shall
  963  subcontract with organizations described in paragraph (a).
  964         (3) The contract or subcontracts must require the
  965  contractor to:
  966         1. Designate one entity per judicial circuit to serve as
  967  the coordinator for the circuit; and
  968         2. Actively encourage and assist funding recipients to:
  969         a. Seek additional sources of revenue, including local
  970  children’s services councils, foundations, local governmental
  971  entities, and private donations to supplement state funds for
  972  the provision of legal representation to children; and
  973         b. Recruit, train, and maximize the use of pro bono
  974  attorneys as an additional source of legal representation for
  975  children.
  976         Section 26. Section 43.53, Florida Statutes, is created to
  977  read:
  978         43.53Accountability.—
  979         (1) In any contract allocating funds pursuant to s. 43.52,
  980  the Justice Administrative Commission shall ensure that funds
  981  received or allocated are expended in a manner consistent with
  982  the terms and intent of the Children’s Legal Representation Act
  983  and shall provide for an annual audit of such expenditures.
  984         (2) The Justice Administrative Commission shall monitor the
  985  contracts executed under s. 43.52 and evaluate the performance
  986  of the contracting organizations in a manner that does not
  987  interfere with an organization’s provision of legal
  988  representation to children.
  989         Section 27. Section 43.54, Florida Statutes, is created to
  990  read:
  991         43.54State support.—Organizations funded pursuant to the
  992  Children’s Legal Representation Act are eligible for state
  993  support, including, but not limited to, access to the SUNCOM
  994  Network services. Accounts for SUNCOM services furnished to
  995  program eligible entities shall be billed directly to the
  996  Justice Administrative Commission as an administrative cost and
  997  paid with the funding provided.
  998         Section 28. Section 61.401, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  999  read:
 1000         61.401 Appointment of guardian ad litem and attorney.—
 1001         (1) In an action for dissolution of marriage or for the
 1002  creation, approval, or modification of a parenting plan, if the
 1003  court finds it is in the best interest of the child, the court
 1004  may appoint a guardian ad litem to act as next friend of the
 1005  child, investigator or evaluator, not as attorney or advocate.
 1006  This does not preclude a state-licensed attorney who is
 1007  appointed as a guardian ad litem from serving as an attorney for
 1008  himself or herself as guardian ad litem in the same proceedings.
 1009  The court in its discretion may also appoint legal counsel for a
 1010  child to act as attorney or advocate; however, the guardian and
 1011  attorney may the legal counsel shall not be the same person.
 1012         (2) In such actions for dissolution of marriage which
 1013  involve an allegation of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect as
 1014  defined in s. 39.01, which allegation is verified and determined
 1015  by the court to be well-founded, the court shall appoint a
 1016  guardian ad litem for the child. The guardian ad litem shall be
 1017  a party to any judicial proceeding from the date of the
 1018  appointment until the date of discharge.
 1019         Section 29. Present subsections (2), (3), and (4) of
 1020  section 63.142, Florida Statutes, are renumbered as subsections
 1021  (3), (4), and (5), respectively, and a new subsection (2) is
 1022  added to that section, to read:
 1023         63.142 Hearing; judgment of adoption.—
 1024         (2) APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY.—The court may appoint an
 1025  attorney for the child as defined in s. 39.01 if the court finds
 1026  that the child’s interests are not being adequately protected,
 1027  that the child requires legal advocacy, or that the case
 1028  involves complex legal issues.
 1029         Section 30. Subsection (4) of section 63.0425, Florida
 1030  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1031         63.0425 Grandparent’s right to notice.—
 1032         (4) This section does not contravene the provisions of s.
 1033  63.142(5) 63.142(4).
 1034         Section 31. Subsection (1) of section 393.125, Florida
 1035  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1036         393.125 Hearing rights.—
 1037         (1) REVIEW OF AGENCY DECISIONS.—
 1038         (a) A Any developmental services applicant or client, or
 1039  his or her parent, guardian, guardian advocate, or authorized
 1040  representative, who has a any substantial interest determined by
 1041  the agency, has the right to request an administrative hearing
 1042  pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
 1043         (b) Notice of the right to an administrative hearing must
 1044  shall be given, both verbally and in writing, to the applicant
 1045  or client, and his or her parent, guardian, attorney, guardian
 1046  advocate, or authorized representative, at the same time that
 1047  the agency gives the applicant or client notice of the agency’s
 1048  action. The notice shall be given, both verbally and in writing,
 1049  in the language of the client or applicant and in English.
 1050         (c) A request for a hearing under this section shall be
 1051  made to the agency, in writing, within 30 days after of the
 1052  applicant’s or client’s receipt of the notice.
 1053         (d) The hearing officer shall appoint an attorney for the
 1054  child as defined in s. 39.01 if the hearing officer finds that
 1055  the child’s legal interests are not being adequately protected,
 1056  that the child requires legal advocacy, or that the case
 1057  involves complex legal issues. The appointment may be made
 1058  through the governmental entity or contracting organization
 1059  providing attorneys for children pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54.
 1060         Section 32. Paragraph (i) of subsection (2) of section
 1061  394.463, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1062         394.463 Involuntary examination.—
 1063         (2) INVOLUNTARY EXAMINATION.—
 1064         (i) Within the 72-hour examination period or, if the 72
 1065  hours ends on a weekend or holiday, no later than the next
 1066  working day thereafter, one of the following actions must be
 1067  taken, based on the individual needs of the patient:
 1068         1. The patient shall be released, unless he or she is
 1069  charged with a crime, in which case the patient shall be
 1070  returned to the custody of a law enforcement officer;
 1071         2. The patient shall be released, subject to the provisions
 1072  of subparagraph 1., for voluntary outpatient treatment;
 1073         3. The patient, unless he or she is charged with a crime,
 1074  shall be asked to give express and informed consent to placement
 1075  as a voluntary patient, and, if such consent is given, the
 1076  patient shall be admitted as a voluntary patient; or
 1077         4. A petition for involuntary placement shall be filed in
 1078  the circuit court when outpatient or inpatient treatment is
 1079  deemed necessary. When inpatient treatment is deemed necessary,
 1080  the least restrictive treatment consistent with the optimum
 1081  improvement of the patient’s condition shall be made available.
 1082  When a petition is to be filed for involuntary outpatient
 1083  placement, it shall be filed by one of the petitioners specified
 1084  in s. 394.4655(3)(a). A petition for involuntary inpatient
 1085  placement shall be filed by the facility administrator.
 1086  
 1087  If the patient is a minor child and the court finds that the
 1088  child’s legal interests are not being adequately protected, that
 1089  the child requires legal advocacy, or that the case involves
 1090  complex legal issues, the court shall appoint an attorney for
 1091  the child as defined in s. 39.01. The appointment may be made
 1092  through the governmental entity or contracted organization
 1093  providing attorneys for children pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54.
 1094         Section 33. Subsection (2) of section 397.681, Florida
 1095  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1096         397.681 Involuntary petitions; general provisions; court
 1097  jurisdiction and right to counsel.—
 1098         (2) RIGHT TO COUNSEL.—
 1099         (a) A respondent has the right to counsel at every stage of
 1100  a proceeding relating to a petition for his or her involuntary
 1101  assessment and a petition for his or her involuntary treatment
 1102  for substance abuse impairment. A respondent who desires counsel
 1103  and is unable to afford private counsel has the right to court
 1104  appointed counsel and to the benefits of s. 57.081. If the court
 1105  believes that the respondent needs the assistance of counsel,
 1106  the court shall appoint such counsel for the respondent without
 1107  regard to the respondent’s wishes. If the respondent is a minor
 1108  not otherwise represented in the proceeding, the court shall
 1109  immediately appoint a guardian ad litem to act on the minor’s
 1110  behalf.
 1111         (b) If the respondent is a minor and the court finds that
 1112  the child’s legal interests are not being adequately protected,
 1113  that the child requires legal advocacy, or that the case
 1114  involves complex legal issues, the court shall appoint an
 1115  attorney for the child as defined in s. 39.01. The appointment
 1116  may be made through the governmental entity or contracted
 1117  organization providing attorneys for children pursuant to ss.
 1118  43.51-43.54.
 1119         Section 34. Subsection (4) of section 731.303, Florida
 1120  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1121         731.303 Representation.—In the administration of or in
 1122  judicial proceedings involving estates of decedents, the
 1123  following apply:
 1124         (4) If the court determines that representation of the
 1125  interest would otherwise be inadequate, the court may, at any
 1126  time, appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of
 1127  an incapacitated person, an unborn or unascertained person, a
 1128  minor or any other person otherwise under a legal disability, or
 1129  a person whose identity or address is unknown. If not precluded
 1130  by conflict of interest, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to
 1131  represent several persons or interests. The court shall appoint
 1132  an attorney for the child as defined in s. 39.01 if the court
 1133  finds that the child’s legal interests are not being adequately
 1134  protected, that the child requires legal advocacy, or that the
 1135  case involves complex legal issues. The appointment may be made
 1136  through the governmental entity or contracted organization
 1137  providing attorneys for children pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54.
 1138         Section 35. Present paragraphs (f) and (g) of subsection
 1139  (2) of section 741.2902, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as
 1140  paragraphs (g) and (h), respectively, and a new paragraph (f) is
 1141  added to that subsection, to read:
 1142         741.2902 Domestic violence; legislative intent with respect
 1143  to judiciary’s role.—
 1144         (2) It is the intent of the Legislature, with respect to
 1145  injunctions for protection against domestic violence, issued
 1146  pursuant to s. 741.30, that the court shall:
 1147         (f) Consider the appointment of an attorney for the child
 1148  as defined in s. 39.01 if a permanent injunction is sought and
 1149  the child is an alleged victim or accused perpetrator of
 1150  domestic violence. The appointment may be made through the
 1151  governmental entity or contracted organization providing
 1152  attorneys for children pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54.
 1153         Section 36. Subsection (1) of section 742.031, Florida
 1154  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1155         742.031 Hearings; court orders for support, hospital
 1156  expenses, and attorney’s fee.—
 1157         (1) Hearings for the purpose of establishing or refuting
 1158  the allegations of the complaint and answer shall be held in the
 1159  chambers and may be restricted to persons, in addition to the
 1160  parties involved and their counsel, as the judge in his or her
 1161  discretion may direct. The court shall determine the issues of
 1162  paternity of the child and the ability of the parents to support
 1163  the child. Each party’s social security number shall be recorded
 1164  in the file containing the adjudication of paternity. If the
 1165  court finds that the alleged father is the father of the child,
 1166  it shall so order. If appropriate, the court shall order the
 1167  father to pay the complainant, her guardian, or any other person
 1168  assuming responsibility for the child moneys sufficient to pay
 1169  reasonable attorney’s fees, hospital or medical expenses, cost
 1170  of confinement, and any other expenses incident to the birth of
 1171  the child and to pay all costs of the proceeding. Bills for
 1172  pregnancy, childbirth, and scientific testing are admissible as
 1173  evidence without requiring third-party foundation testimony, and
 1174  shall constitute prima facie evidence of amounts incurred for
 1175  such services or for testing on behalf of the child. The court
 1176  shall order either or both parents owing a duty of support to
 1177  the child to pay support pursuant to s. 61.30. The court shall
 1178  issue, upon motion by a party, a temporary order requiring child
 1179  support pursuant to s. 61.30 pending an administrative or
 1180  judicial determination of parentage, if there is clear and
 1181  convincing evidence of paternity on the basis of genetic tests
 1182  or other evidence. The court may also make a determination of an
 1183  appropriate parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule,
 1184  in accordance with chapter 61. The court may appoint an attorney
 1185  for the child as defined in s. 39.01 if the court finds that the
 1186  child’s legal interests are not being adequately protected, that
 1187  the child requires legal advocacy, or that the case involves
 1188  complex legal issues. The appointment may be made through the
 1189  governmental entity or contracted organization providing
 1190  attorneys for children pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54.
 1191         Section 37. Subsections (1) and (3) of section 914.17,
 1192  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
 1193         914.17 Appointment of advocate for victims or witnesses who
 1194  are minors or persons with mental retardation.—
 1195         (1) A guardian ad litem or attorney for the child other
 1196  advocate shall be appointed by the court to represent a minor in
 1197  any criminal proceeding if the minor is a victim of or witness
 1198  to child abuse or neglect, or if the minor is a victim of a
 1199  sexual offense or a witness to a sexual offense committed
 1200  against another minor. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem
 1201  or attorney for the child other advocate in any other criminal
 1202  proceeding in which a minor is involved as either a victim or a
 1203  witness. The appointment may be made through the governmental
 1204  entity or contracted organization providing attorneys for
 1205  children pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54. The guardian ad litem or
 1206  attorney for the child other advocate shall have full access to
 1207  all evidence and reports introduced during the proceedings, may
 1208  interview witnesses, may make recommendations to the court,
 1209  shall be noticed and have the right to appear on behalf of the
 1210  minor at all proceedings, and may request additional
 1211  examinations by medical doctors, psychiatrists, or
 1212  psychologists. It is the duty of the guardian ad litem or
 1213  attorney for the child other advocate to perform the following
 1214  services:
 1215         (a) To explain, in language understandable to the minor,
 1216  all legal proceedings in which the minor is shall be involved;
 1217         (b) To act, as a friend of the court, to advise the judge,
 1218  whenever appropriate, of the minor’s ability to understand and
 1219  cooperate with any court proceeding; and
 1220         (c) To assist the minor and the minor’s family in coping
 1221  with the emotional effects of the crime and subsequent criminal
 1222  proceedings in which the minor is involved.
 1223         (3) Any person participating in a judicial proceeding as a
 1224  guardian ad litem or other advocate is shall be presumed prima
 1225  facie to be acting in good faith and in so doing is shall be
 1226  immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise
 1227  might be incurred or imposed.
 1228         Section 38. Subsection (1) of section 984.17, Florida
 1229  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1230         984.17 Response to petition and representation of parties.—
 1231         (1) At the time a petition is filed, the court may appoint
 1232  a guardian ad litem for the child. The court shall appoint an
 1233  attorney for the child as defined in s. 39.01 if the court
 1234  determines that the child’s liberty interests are at stake. The
 1235  appointment may be made through the governmental entity or
 1236  contracted organization providing attorneys for children
 1237  pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54.
 1238         Section 39. Subsection (1) of section 985.033, Florida
 1239  Statutes, is amended to read:
 1240         985.033 Right to counsel.—
 1241         (1) A child is entitled to representation by legal counsel
 1242  at all stages of any delinquency court proceedings under this
 1243  chapter. If the child and the parents or other legal guardian
 1244  are indigent and unable to employ counsel for the child, the
 1245  court shall appoint counsel under s. 27.52. Determination of
 1246  indigence and costs of representation shall be as provided by
 1247  ss. 27.52 and 938.29. Legal counsel representing a child who
 1248  exercises the right to counsel or who has not waived counsel for
 1249  court proceedings shall be allowed to provide advice and counsel
 1250  to the child at any time subsequent to the child’s arrest,
 1251  including before prior to a detention hearing while in secure
 1252  detention care.
 1253         (a) A child shall be represented by legal counsel at all
 1254  stages of all court proceedings unless the right to counsel is
 1255  freely, knowingly, and intelligently waived by the child. If the
 1256  child appears without counsel, the court shall advise the child
 1257  of his or her rights with respect to representation of court
 1258  appointed counsel. Waiver of counsel must be made in writing
 1259  after the child has had a meaningful opportunity to confer with
 1260  counsel regarding the child’s right to counsel, the potential
 1261  consequences of waiving counsel, and any other factors that
 1262  would assist the child in making a decision to waive counsel.
 1263         (b) The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child
 1264  in delinquency proceedings if the child’s defense counsel
 1265  requests the appointment due to the child’s inability to assist
 1266  in the preparation of his or her defense, participate in court
 1267  proceedings, express his or her wishes, direct the
 1268  representation, or communicate with defense counsel.
 1269         (c) If requested, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem
 1270  and an attorney in school matters, including disciplinary
 1271  actions and issues relating to exceptional student education.
 1272         (d) Appointment of an attorney or guardian ad litem under
 1273  paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) may be made through the
 1274  governmental entity or contracted organization providing
 1275  attorneys for children pursuant to ss. 43.51-43.54.
 1276         Section 40. Paragraph (a) of subsection (4) of section
 1277  20.195, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
 1278         20.195 Department of Children and Family Services; trust
 1279  funds.—The following trust funds shall be administered by the
 1280  Department of Children and Family Services:
 1281         (4) Domestic Violence Trust Fund.
 1282         (a) Funds to be credited to and uses of the trust fund
 1283  shall be administered in accordance with the provisions of s.
 1284  28.101, part XIV XIII of chapter 39, and chapter 741.
 1285         Section 41. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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