1(1) Because of the special trust or responsibility placed in a guardian ad litem, the Guardian Ad Litem Program may use any private funds collected by the program, or any state funds so designated, to conduct a security background investigation before certifying a volunteer to serve. A security background investigation must include, but need not be limited to, employment history checks, checks of references, local criminal history records checks through local law enforcement agencies, and statewide criminal history records checks through the Department of Law Enforcement. Upon request, an employer shall furnish a copy of the personnel record for the employee or former employee who is the subject of a security background investigation conducted under this section. The information contained in the personnel record may include, but need not be limited to, disciplinary matters and the reason why the employee was terminated from employment. An employer who releases a personnel record for purposes of a security background investigation is presumed to have acted in good faith and is not liable for information contained in the record without a showing that the employer maliciously falsified the record. A security background investigation conducted under this section must ensure that a person is not certified as a guardian ad litem if the person has an arrest awaiting final disposition for, been convicted of, regardless of adjudication, entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, or been adjudicated delinquent and the record has not been sealed or expunged for, any offense prohibited under the provisions listed in s. 435.04. All applicants certified on or after 2July 1, 2010, must undergo a level 2 background screening pursuant to chapter 435 before being certified to serve as a guardian ad litem. In analyzing and evaluating the information obtained in the security background investigation, the program must give particular emphasis to past activities involving children, including, but not limited to, child-related criminal offenses or child abuse. The program has sole discretion in determining whether to certify a person based on his or her security background investigation. The information collected pursuant to the security background investigation is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1).
(2) This section does not apply to a certified guardian ad litem who was certified before October 1, 1995, an attorney who is a member in good standing of The Florida Bar, or a licensed professional who has undergone a comparable security background investigation as a condition of licensure within 5 years of applying for certification as a guardian ad litem.
(3) It is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for any person to willfully, knowingly, or intentionally fail, by false statement, misrepresentation, impersonation, or other fraudulent means, to disclose in any application for a volunteer position or for paid employment with the Guardian Ad Litem Program, any material fact used in making a determination as to the applicant’s qualifications for such position.
History.—s. 2, ch. 96-109; s. 102, ch. 98-403; s. 19, ch. 99-2; s. 35, ch. 2004-267; s. 25, ch. 2005-236; s. 2, ch. 2010-114; s. 20, ch. 2010-162.
1Note.—Section 58, ch. 2010-114, provides that “[t]he changes made by this act are intended to be prospective in nature. It is not intended that persons who are employed or licensed on the effective date of this act be rescreened until such time as they are otherwise required to be rescreened pursuant to law, at which time they must meet the requirements for screening as set forth in this act.”
2Note.—As amended by s. 20, ch. 2010-162. The amendment by s. 2, ch. 2010-114, used an August 1, 2010, date.