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       Florida Senate - 2010                                    SB 2334
       By Senator Wise
       5-00820-10                                            20102334__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to dependency procedures; amending s.
    3         39.401, F.S.; prohibiting a child from being taken
    4         into custody unless there is an immediate threat to
    5         the health or safety of the child or pursuant to a
    6         court order that is based on certain findings;
    7         amending s. 39.702, F.S.; requiring the establishment
    8         of citizen review panels; amending s. 39.809, F.S.;
    9         providing for a trial on the issue of terminating
   10         parental rights; requiring the court to consider the
   11         report and recommendations of a citizen review panel;
   12         limiting continuances; providing an exception;
   13         providing that hearings or trials involving the
   14         termination of parental rights be open to the public;
   15         providing an exception; requiring that the report and
   16         recommendations of a citizen review panel be attached
   17         to a written order relating to a termination of
   18         parental rights; providing an effective date.
   20  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   22         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 39.401, Florida
   23  Statutes, is amended to read:
   24         39.401 Taking a child alleged to be dependent into custody;
   25  law enforcement officers and authorized agents of the
   26  department.—
   27         (1) Unless there is an immediate threat to the health or
   28  safety of a child, no person, including a law enforcement
   29  officer, an authorized person, or any other officer of the court
   30  or the state, may take a child may only be taken into custody
   31  except pursuant to court order. Such order may be issued only if
   32  the court:
   33         (a) Pursuant to the provisions of this part, based upon
   34  Sworn testimony, either before or after a petition is filed; or
   35         (b) By A law enforcement officer, or an authorized agent of
   36  the department, if the officer or authorized agent has probable
   37  cause to support a finding that:
   38         (a)1.That The child has been abused, neglected, or
   39  abandoned, or is suffering from or is in imminent danger of
   40  illness or injury as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment;
   41         (b)2.That The parent or legal custodian of the child has
   42  materially violated a condition of placement imposed by the
   43  court; or
   44         (c)3.That The child has no parent, legal custodian, or
   45  responsible adult relative immediately known and available to
   46  provide supervision and care.
   47         Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 39.702, Florida
   48  Statutes, is amended to read:
   49         39.702 Citizen review panels.—
   50         (1) Citizen review panels shall may be established in each
   51  judicial circuit and shall be authorized by an administrative
   52  order executed by the chief judge of each circuit. The court
   53  shall administer an oath of office to each citizen review panel
   54  member which authorizes shall authorize the panel member to
   55  participate in citizen review panels and make recommendations to
   56  the court pursuant to the provisions of this section.
   57         Section 3. Section 39.809, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   58  read:
   59         39.809 Adjudicatory hearing or trial.—
   60         (1) In a hearing or trial on a petition for termination of
   61  parental rights, the court, assisted by a report and the
   62  recommendations of a citizen review panel established under s.
   63  39.702, shall consider the elements required for termination.
   64  Each of these elements must be established by clear and
   65  convincing evidence before the petition is granted.
   66         (2) The adjudicatory hearing must be held within 120 45
   67  days after the advisory hearing, but reasonable continuances for
   68  the purpose of investigation, discovery, or procuring counsel or
   69  witnesses may, when necessary, be granted. However,
   70  notwithstanding s. 39.0136, continuances may not extend beyond 1
   71  year after the advisory hearing unless there are compelling
   72  reasons or extraordinary circumstances.
   73         (3) The adjudicatory hearing or trial must be conducted by
   74  the judge without a jury, applying the rules of evidence in use
   75  in civil cases and adjourning the case from time to time as
   76  necessary. For purposes of the adjudicatory hearing or trial, to
   77  avoid unnecessary duplication of expense, the judge may consider
   78  in-court testimony previously given at any properly noticed
   79  hearing, without regard to the availability or unavailability of
   80  the witness at the time of the actual adjudicatory hearing or
   81  trial, if the recorded testimony itself is made available to the
   82  judge. Consideration of such testimony does not preclude the
   83  witness being subpoenaed to answer supplemental questions.
   84         (4) All hearings or trials involving termination of
   85  parental rights must be open are confidential and closed to the
   86  public, except upon the written motion that the hearing or trial
   87  be made confidential and closed which is submitted to the court
   88  by the parents or guardian of the child or children who are the
   89  subject of the hearing or trial. Hearings or trials involving
   90  more than one child may be held simultaneously if when the
   91  children involved are related to each other or were involved in
   92  the same case. The child and the parents may be examined
   93  separately and apart from each other.
   94         (5) The judge shall enter a written order with the findings
   95  of fact and conclusions of law. The report and recommended order
   96  from the citizen review panel must be attached to the written
   97  order.
   98         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.

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