Section 39.523, Florida Statutes 2004
39.523 Placement in residential group care.--
(1) Except as provided in s. 39.407, any dependent child 11 years of age or older who has been in licensed family foster care for 6 months or longer and who is then moved more than once and who is a child with extraordinary needs as defined in s. 409.1676 must be assessed for placement in licensed residential group care. The assessment procedures shall be conducted by the department or its agent and shall incorporate and address current and historical information from any psychological testing or evaluation that has occurred; current and historical information from the guardian ad litem, if one has been assigned; current and historical information from any current therapist, teacher, or other professional who has knowledge of the child and has worked with the child; information regarding the placement of any siblings of the child and the impact of the child's placement in residential group care on the child's siblings; the circumstances necessitating the moves of the child while in family foster care and the recommendations of the former foster families, if available; the status of the child's case plan and a determination as to the impact of placing the child in residential group care on the goals of the case plan; the age, maturity, and desires of the child concerning placement; the availability of any less restrictive, more family-like setting for the child in which the foster parents have the necessary training and skills for providing a suitable placement for the child; and any other information concerning the availability of suitable residential group care. If such placement is determined to be appropriate as a result of this procedure, the child must be placed in residential group care, if available.
(2) The results of the assessment described in subsection (1) and the actions taken as a result of the assessment must be included in the next judicial review of the child. At each subsequent judicial review, the court must be advised in writing of the status of the child's placement, with special reference regarding the stability of the placement and the permanency planning for the child.
(3) Any residential group care facility that receives children under the provisions of this subsection shall establish special permanency teams dedicated to overcoming the special permanency challenges presented by this population of children. Each facility shall report to the department its success in achieving permanency for children placed by the department in its care at intervals that allow the current information to be provided to the court at each judicial review for the child.
(4) This section does not prohibit the department from assessing and placing children who do not meet the criteria in subsection (1) in residential group care if such placement is the most appropriate placement for such children.
(5)(a) By December 1 of each year, the department shall report to the Legislature on the placement of children in licensed residential group care during the year, including the criteria used to determine the placement of children, the number of children who were evaluated for placement, the number of children who were placed based upon the evaluation, and the number of children who were not placed. The department shall maintain data specifying the number of children who were referred to licensed residential child care for whom placement was unavailable and the counties in which such placement was unavailable. The department shall include this data in its report to the Legislature due on December 1, so that the Legislature may consider this information in developing the General Appropriations Act.
(b) As part of the report required in paragraph (a), the department shall also provide a detailed account of the expenditures incurred for "Special Categories: Grants and Aids--Specialized Residential Group Care Services" for the fiscal year immediately preceding the date of the report. This section of the report must include whatever supporting data is necessary to demonstrate full compliance with paragraph (6)(c). The document must present the information by district and must specify, at a minimum, the number of additional beds, the average rate per bed, the number of additional persons served, and a description of the enhanced and expanded services provided.
(6)(a) The provisions of this section shall be implemented to the extent of available appropriations contained in the annual General Appropriations Act for such purpose.
(b) Each year, funds included in the General Appropriations Act for Enhanced Residential Group Care as provided for in s. 409.1676 shall be appropriated in a separately identified special category that is designated in the act as "Special Categories: Grants and Aids--Specialized Residential Group Care Services."
(c) Each fiscal year, all funding increases for Enhanced Residential Group Care as provided in s. 409.1676 which are included in the General Appropriations Act shall be appropriated in a lump-sum category as defined in s. 216.011(1)(aa). In accordance with s. 216.181(6)(a), the Executive Office of the Governor shall require the department to submit a spending plan that identifies the residential group care bed capacity shortage throughout the state and proposes a distribution formula by district which addresses the reported deficiencies. The spending plan must have as its first priority the reduction or elimination of any bed shortage identified and must also provide for program enhancements to ensure that residential group care programs meet a minimum level of expected performance and provide for expansion of the comprehensive residential group care services described in s. 409.1676. Annual appropriation increases appropriated in the lump-sum appropriation must be used in accordance with the provisions of the spending plan.
(d) Funds from "Special Categories: Grants and Aids--Specialized Residential Group Care Services" may be used as one-time startup funding for residential group care purposes that include, but are not limited to, remodeling or renovation of existing facilities, construction costs, leasing costs, purchase of equipment and furniture, site development, and other necessary and reasonable costs associated with the startup of facilities or programs upon the recommendation of the lead community-based provider if one exists and upon specific approval of the terms and conditions by the secretary of the department.
History.--s. 2, ch. 2002-219.