April 22, 2018
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The Florida Statutes

The 2010 Florida Statutes(including Special Session A)

Title XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 409
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
View Entire Chapter
CHAPTER 409
TITLE XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
CHAPTER 409
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
409.016 Definitions.
409.017 Revenue Maximization Act; legislative intent; revenue maximization program.
409.031 State agency for administering social service funds.
409.141 Equitable reimbursement methodology.
409.145 Care of children.
409.1451 Independent living transition services.
409.14511 Rulemaking authority to administer ch. 2005-179.
409.146 Children and families client and management information system.
409.147 Children’s initiatives.
409.153 Implementation of Healthy Families Florida program.
409.165 Alternate care for children.
409.166 Children within the child welfare system; adoption assistance program.
409.167 Statewide adoption exchange; establishment; responsibilities; registration requirements; rules.
409.1671 Foster care and related services; outsourcing.
409.16715 Therapy treatments designed to mitigate out-of-home placement for dependent children.
409.1672 Incentives for department employees.
409.1673 Legislative findings; alternate care plans.
409.16745 Community partnership matching grant program.
409.1675 Lead community-based providers; receivership.
409.1676 Comprehensive residential group care services to children who have extraordinary needs.
409.1677 Model comprehensive residential services programs.
409.1679 Additional requirements; reimbursement methodology.
409.1685 Children in foster care; annual report to Legislature.
409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public records exemption.
409.1753 Foster care; duties.
409.1755 One Church, One Child of Florida Corporation Act; creation; duties.
409.1757 Persons not required to be refingerprinted or rescreened.
409.176 Registration of residential child-caring agencies and family foster homes.
409.179 Family-friendly workplace initiative.
409.212 Optional supplementation.
409.221 Consumer-directed care program.
409.2355 Programs for prosecution of males over age 21 who commit certain offenses involving girls under age 16.
409.2551 Legislative intent.
409.2554 Definitions; ss. 409.2551-409.2598.
409.2557 State agency for administering child support enforcement program.
409.25575 Support enforcement; privatization.
409.2558 Support distribution and disbursement.
409.2559 State disbursement unit.
409.256 Administrative proceeding to establish paternity or paternity and child support; order to appear for genetic testing.
409.2561 Support obligations when public assistance is paid; assignment of rights; subrogation; medical and health insurance information.
409.2563 Administrative establishment of child support obligations.
409.25635 Determination and collection of noncovered medical expenses.
409.2564 Actions for support.
409.25641 Procedures for processing interstate enforcement requests.
409.2565 Publication of delinquent obligors.
409.25656 Garnishment.
409.25657 Requirements for financial institutions.
409.25658 Use of unclaimed property for past due support.
409.25659 Insurance claim data exchange.
409.25661 Public records exemption for insurance claim data exchange information.
409.2567 Services to individuals not otherwise eligible.
409.2569 Continuation of support services for recipients of public assistance when benefits are terminated.
409.257 Service of process.
409.2571 Court and witness fees; bond.
409.2572 Cooperation.
409.2574 Income deduction enforcement in Title IV-D cases.
409.2575 Liens on motor vehicles and vessels.
409.2576 State Directory of New Hires.
409.2577 Parent locator service.
409.2578 Access to employment information; administrative fine.
409.2579 Safeguarding Title IV-D case file information.
409.2581 Use of clearing accounts and revolving funds.
409.2584 Interest on obligations due; waiver.
409.259 Filing fees in Title IV-D cases; electronic filing of pleadings, returns of service, and other papers.
409.2594 Record requirements.
409.2597 Retention of actions.
409.2598 License suspension proceeding to enforce support order.
409.2599 Data processing services; interagency agreement.
409.25995 State Title IV-D agency; contracts.
409.2673 Shared county and state health care program for low-income persons.
409.26731 Certification of local funds as state match for federally funded services.
409.2675 Rules.
409.285 Opportunity for hearing and appeal.
409.352 Licensing requirements for physicians, osteopathic physicians, and chiropractic physicians employed by the department.
409.401 Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
409.402 Financial responsibility for child.
409.403 Definitions; Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
409.404 Agreements between party state officers and agencies.
409.405 Court placement of delinquent children.
409.406 Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance.
409.407 Interstate agreements between the Department of Children and Family Services and agencies of other states.
409.408 Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.
409.409 Effect of existing compact provisions.
409.4101 Rulemaking authority.
409.441 Runaway youth programs and centers.
409.508 Low-income home energy assistance program.
409.509 Definitions; weatherization of low-income residences.
409.5091 Department responsible for weatherizing agencies; energy assessment.
409.5092 Permission for weatherization; rules.
409.5093 Replacement agency.
409.801 Goal of Legislature; creation of Family Policy Act.
409.802 Provisions of Family Policy Act.
409.803 Shelter and foster care services to dependent children; pilot programs.
409.810 Short title.
409.811 Definitions relating to Florida Kidcare Act.
409.812 Program created; purpose.
409.813 Health benefits coverage; program components; entitlement and nonentitlement.
409.8132 Medikids program component.
409.8134 Program expenditure ceiling; enrollment.
409.8135 Behavioral health services.
409.814 Eligibility.
409.815 Health benefits coverage; limitations.
409.816 Limitations on premiums and cost-sharing.
409.817 Approval of health benefits coverage; financial assistance.
409.8175 Delivery of services in rural counties.
409.8177 Program evaluation.
409.818 Administration.
409.820 Quality assurance and access standards.
409.821 Florida Kidcare program public records exemption.
409.901 Definitions; ss. 409.901-409.920.
409.902 Designated single state agency; payment requirements; program title; release of medical records.
409.9021 Forfeiture of eligibility agreement.
409.9025 Eligibility while an inmate.
409.903 Mandatory payments for eligible persons.
409.904 Optional payments for eligible persons.
409.905 Mandatory Medicaid services.
409.906 Optional Medicaid services.
409.9062 Lung transplant services for Medicaid recipients.
409.9066 Medicare prescription discount program.
409.907 Medicaid provider agreements.
409.9071 Medicaid provider agreements for school districts certifying state match.
409.908 Reimbursement of Medicaid providers.
409.9081 Copayments.
409.9082 Quality assessment on nursing home facility providers; exemptions; purpose; federal approval required; remedies.
409.9083 Quality assessment on privately operated intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled; exemptions; purpose; federal approval required; remedies.
409.910 Responsibility for payments on behalf of Medicaid-eligible persons when other parties are liable.
409.9101 Recovery for payments made on behalf of Medicaid-eligible persons.
409.9102 A qualified state Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program in Florida.
409.911 Disproportionate share program.
409.9112 Disproportionate share program for regional perinatal intensive care centers.
409.9113 Disproportionate share program for teaching hospitals.
409.9115 Disproportionate share program for mental health hospitals.
409.91151 Expenditure of funds generated through mental health disproportionate share program.
409.9116 Disproportionate share/financial assistance program for rural hospitals.
409.9117 Primary care disproportionate share program.
409.9118 Disproportionate share program for specialty hospitals.
409.91188 Specialty prepaid health plans for Medicaid recipients with HIV or AIDS.
409.9119 Disproportionate share program for specialty hospitals for children.
409.91195 Medicaid Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee.
409.91196 Supplemental rebate agreements; public records and public meetings exemption.
409.912 Cost-effective purchasing of health care.
409.91206 Alternatives for health and long-term care reforms.
409.91207 Medical home pilot project.
409.9121 Legislative findings and intent.
409.91211 Medicaid managed care pilot program.
409.91212 Medicaid managed care fraud.
409.91213 Quarterly progress reports and annual reports.
409.9122 Mandatory Medicaid managed care enrollment; programs and procedures.
409.9123 Quality-of-care reporting.
409.9124 Managed care reimbursement.
409.91255 Federally qualified health center access program.
409.9126 Children with special health care needs.
409.9127 Preauthorization and concurrent utilization review; conflict-of-interest standards.
409.9128 Requirements for providing emergency services and care.
409.913 Oversight of the integrity of the Medicaid program.
409.9131 Special provisions relating to integrity of the Medicaid program.
409.914 Assistance for the uninsured.
409.915 County contributions to Medicaid.
409.916 Grants and Donations Trust Fund.
409.918 Public Medical Assistance Trust Fund.
409.919 Rules.
409.920 Medicaid provider fraud.
409.9201 Medicaid fraud.
409.9203 Rewards for reporting Medicaid fraud.
409.9205 Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
409.9301 Pharmaceutical expense assistance.
409.942 Electronic benefit transfer program.
409.944 Inner City Redevelopment Assistance Grants Program.
409.945 Eligibility for grant proposals.
409.946 Inner City Redevelopment Review Panel.
409.953 Rulemaking authority for refugee assistance program.
409.9531 Services to immigrant survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes.
409.016 Definitions.As used in this chapter:
(1) “Department,” unless otherwise specified, means the Department of Children and Family Services.
(2) “Secretary” means the secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services.
(3) “Social and economic services,” within the meaning of this chapter, means the providing of financial assistance as well as preventive and rehabilitative social services for children, adults, and families.
History.s. 1, ch. 70-255; s. 2, ch. 78-433; s. 110, ch. 97-101.
409.017 Revenue Maximization Act; legislative intent; revenue maximization program.
(1) SHORT TITLE.This section may be cited as the “Revenue Maximization Act.”
(2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
(a) The Legislature recognizes that state funds do not fully utilize federal funding matching opportunities for health and human services needs. It is the intent of the Legislature to authorize the use of certified local funding for federal matching programs to the fullest extent possible to maximize federal funding of local preventive services and local child development programs in this state. To that end, the Legislature expects that state agencies will take a proactive approach in implementing this legislative priority. It is the further intent of the Legislature that this act shall be revenue neutral with respect to state funds.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that revenue maximization opportunities using certified local funding shall occur only after available state funds have been utilized to generate matching federal funding for the state.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that participation in revenue maximization is to be voluntary for local political subdivisions.
(d) Except for funds expended pursuant to Title XIX of the Social Security Act, it is the intent of the Legislature that certified local funding for federal matching programs not supplant or replace state funds. Beginning July 1, 2004, any state funds supplanted or replaced with local tax revenues for Title XIX funds shall be expressly approved in the General Appropriations Act or by the Legislative Budget Commission pursuant to chapter 216.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that revenue maximization shall not divert existing funds from state agencies that are currently using local funds to maximize matching federal and state funds to the greatest extent possible.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage and allow any agency to engage, through a competitive procurement process, an entity with expertise in claiming justifiable and appropriate federal funds through revenue maximization efforts both retrospectively and prospectively. This claiming may include, but not be limited to, administrative and services activities that are eligible under federal matching programs.
(3) REVENUE MAXIMIZATION PROGRAM.
(a) For purposes of this section, the term “agency” means any state agency or department that is involved in providing health, social, or human services, including, but not limited to, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Elderly Affairs, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Education, and the State Board of Education.
(b) The Agency for Health Care Administration may develop a procurement document and procedure to claim administrative federal matching funds for state-provided educational services. The agency shall then competitively procure an entity with appropriate expertise and experience to retrospectively and prospectively maximize federal revenues through administrative claims for federal matching funds for state-provided educational services.
(c) Each agency shall establish programs and mechanisms designed to maximize the use of local funding for federal programs in accordance with this section.
(d) The use of local matching funds under this section must be limited to public revenue funds of local political subdivisions, including, but not limited to, counties, municipalities, and special districts. To the extent permitted by federal law, funds donated to such local political subdivisions by private entities, such as, but not limited to, the United Way, community foundations or other foundations, and businesses, or by individuals are considered to be public revenue funds available for matching federal funding.
(e) Subject to paragraph (g), any federal reimbursement received as a result of the certification of local matching funds must, unless specifically prohibited by federal law or state law, including the General Appropriations Act, and subject to the availability of specific appropriation and release authority, be returned within 30 days after receipt by the agency by the most expedient means possible to the local political subdivision providing such funding, and the local political subdivision must be provided an annual accounting of federal reimbursements received by the state or its agencies as a result of the certification of the local political subdivision’s matching funds. The receipt by a local political subdivision of such matching funds must not in any way influence or be used as a factor in developing any agency’s annual operating budget allocation methodology or formula or any subsequent budget amendment allocations or formulas. If necessary, agreements must be made between an agency and the local political subdivision to accomplish that purpose. Such an agreement may provide that the local political subdivision must: verify the eligibility of the local program or programs and the individuals served thereby to qualify for federal matching funds; shall develop and maintain the financial records necessary for documenting the appropriate use of federal funds; shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws, regulations, and rules that regulate such federal services; and shall reimburse the cost of any disallowance of federal funding previously provided to a local political subdivision resulting from the failure of that local political subdivision to comply with applicable state or federal laws, rules, or regulations.
(f) Each agency, as applicable, shall work with local political subdivisions to modify any state plans and to seek and implement any federal waivers necessary to implement this section. If such modifications or waivers require the approval of the Legislature, the agency, as applicable, shall draft such legislation and present it to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the respective committee chairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives by January 1, 2004, and, as applicable, annually thereafter.
(g) Each agency, as applicable, before funds generated under this section are distributed to any local political subdivision, may deduct the actual administrative cost for implementing and monitoring the local match program; however, such administrative costs may not exceed 5 percent of the total federal reimbursement funding to be provided to the local political subdivision under paragraph (e). To the extent that any other provision of state law applies to the certification of local matching funds for a specific program, the provisions of that statute which relate to administrative costs apply in lieu of the provisions of this paragraph. The failure to remit reimbursement to the local political subdivision will result in the payment of interest, in addition to the amount to be reimbursed at a rate pursuant to s. 55.03(1) on the unpaid amount from the expiration of the 30-day period until payment is received.
(h) Each agency, respectively, shall annually submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, no later than January 1, a report that documents the specific activities undertaken during the previous fiscal year under this section. The report must include, but is not limited to, a statement of the total amount of federal matching funds generated by local matching funds under this section, reported by federal funding source; the total amount of block grant funds expended during the previous fiscal year, reported by federal funding source; the total amount for federal matching fund programs, including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Child Care and Development Fund, of unobligated funds and unliquidated funds, both as of the close of the previous federal fiscal year; the amount of unliquidated funds that is in danger of being returned to the Federal Government at the end of the current federal fiscal year; and a detailed plan and timeline for spending any unobligated and unliquidated funds by the end of the current federal fiscal year.
History.s. 1, ch. 2003-146; s. 48, ch. 2004-5; s. 2, ch. 2008-143.
409.031 State agency for administering social service funds.The department is designated as the state agency responsible for the administration of social service funds under Title XX of the Social Security Act.
History.s. 1, ch. 78-433.
409.141 Equitable reimbursement methodology.
(1) To assure high standards of care and essential residential services as a component of the services continuum for at-risk youth and families, the Department of Children and Family Services shall adopt an equitable reimbursement methodology. This methodology, which addresses only those children placed in nonprofit residential group care by the department and funded through public appropriations, shall consist of a standardized base of allowable costs of a provider’s actual per diem rate costs. The actual percentage of base costs met through this methodology shall be determined by the availability of state funding. The full utilization of the department’s Children, Youth and Families Purchase of Residential Group Care Appropriation Category shall be used to fund this methodology. Definitions of care and allowable costs shall be based upon those mandated services standards as set out in chapter 10M-9, Florida Administrative Code (Licensing Standards Residential Child Care Agencies), plus any special enhancements required by the specific treatment component. Actual costs shall be verified through the agency’s annual fiscal audit for the 2 prior calendar years.
(2) This adopted rate control method shall include a consumer price index factor to acknowledge both the postaudit time lapse of the allowable costs methodology and the universal cost variables beyond the control of the group care providers.
(3) This methodology shall assure that the existing disparities between actual costs of care and the current state reimbursement levels are addressed in a fair and systematic manner, while recognizing that nonprofit residential group care providers shall provide the remaining percentage of their program costs. Cost containment measures shall be included through the allowable costs definition and verification process.
(4) The Department of Children and Family Services shall develop administrative rules in full cooperation with the Florida Group Child Care Association to carry out the intent and provisions of this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 90-204; s. 111, ch. 97-101.
409.145 Care of children.
(1) The department shall conduct, supervise, and administer a program for dependent children and their families. The services of the department are to be directed toward the following goals:
(a) The prevention of separation of children from their families.
(b) The reunification of families who have had children placed in foster homes or institutions.
(c) The permanent placement of children who cannot be reunited with their families or when reunification would not be in the best interest of the child.
(d) The protection of dependent children or children alleged to be dependent, including provision of emergency and long-term alternate living arrangements.
(e) The transition to self-sufficiency for older children who continue to be in foster care as adolescents.
(2) The following dependent children shall be subject to the protection, care, guidance, and supervision of the department or any duly licensed public or private agency:
(a) Any child who has been temporarily or permanently taken from the custody of the parents, custodians, or guardians in accordance with those provisions in chapter 39 that relate to dependent children.
(b) Any child who is in need of the protective supervision of the department as determined by intake or by the court in accordance with those provisions of chapter 39 that relate to dependent children.
(c) Any child who is voluntarily placed, with the written consent of the parents or guardians, in the department’s foster care program or the foster care program of a licensed private agency.
(3) The circuit courts exercising juvenile jurisdiction in the various counties of this state shall cooperate with the department and its employees in carrying out the purposes and intent of this chapter.
(4) The department is authorized to accept children on a permanent placement basis by order of a court of competent jurisdiction for the single purpose of adoption placement of these children. The department is authorized to provide the necessary services to place these children ordered to the department on a permanent placement basis for adoption.
(5) Any funds appropriated by counties for child welfare services may be matched by state and federal funds, such funds to be utilized by the department for the benefit of children in those counties.
(6) Whenever any child is placed under the protection, care, and guidance of the department or a duly licensed public or private agency, or as soon thereafter as is practicable, the department or agency, as the case may be, shall endeavor to obtain such information concerning the family medical history of the child and the natural parents as is available or readily obtainable. This information shall be kept on file by the department or agency for possible future use as provided in ss. 63.082 and 63.162 or as may be otherwise provided by law.
(7) Whenever any child is placed by the department in a shelter home, foster home, or other residential placement, the department shall make available to the operator of the shelter home, foster home, other residential placement, or other caretaker as soon thereafter as is practicable, all relevant information concerning the child’s demographic, social, and medical history.
History.s. 1, ch. 69-268; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-255; s. 26, ch. 73-334; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 273, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 4, ch. 78-190; s. 5, ch. 78-433; s. 101, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 80-174; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 3, 4, ch. 83-250; s. 39, ch. 88-337; ss. 3, 4, ch. 93-115; ss. 46, 55, ch. 94-164; s. 42, ch. 97-103; s. 37, ch. 98-280; s. 77, ch. 2000-139; s. 49, ch. 2000-153; s. 1, ch. 2000-180; s. 9, ch. 2000-217; s. 49, ch. 2001-62; ss. 2, 9, ch. 2002-19; s. 991, ch. 2002-387.
409.1451 Independent living transition services.
(1) SYSTEM OF SERVICES.
(a) The Department of Children and Family Services, its agents, or community-based providers operating pursuant to s. 409.1671 shall administer a system of independent living transition services to enable older children in foster care and young adults who exit foster care at age 18 to make the transition to self-sufficiency as adults.
(b) The goals of independent living transition services are to assist older children in foster care and young adults who were formerly in foster care to obtain life skills and education for independent living and employment, to have a quality of life appropriate for their age, and to assume personal responsibility for becoming self-sufficient adults.
(c) State funds for foster care or federal funds shall be used to establish a continuum of services for eligible children in foster care and eligible young adults who were formerly in foster care which accomplish the goals for the system of independent living transition services by providing services for foster children, pursuant to subsection (4), and services for young adults who were formerly in foster care, pursuant to subsection (5).
(d) For children in foster care, independent living transition services are not an alternative to adoption. Independent living transition services may occur concurrently with continued efforts to locate and achieve placement in adoptive families for older children in foster care.
(2) ELIGIBILITY.
(a) The department shall serve children who have reached 13 years of age but are not yet 18 years of age and who are in foster care by providing services pursuant to subsection (4). Children to be served must meet the eligibility requirements set forth for specific services as provided in this section.
(b) The department shall serve young adults who have reached 18 years of age but are not yet 23 years of age and who were in foster care when they turned 18 years of age or, after reaching 16 years of age, were adopted from foster care or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian and have spent a minimum of 6 months in foster care within the 12 months immediately preceding such placement or adoption, by providing services pursuant to subsection (5). Young adults to be served must meet the eligibility requirements set forth for specific services in this section.
(3) PREPARATION FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING.
(a) It is the intent of the Legislature for the Department of Children and Family Services to assist older children in foster care and young adults who exit foster care at age 18 in making the transition to independent living and self-sufficiency as adults. The department shall provide such children and young adults with opportunities to participate in life skills activities in their foster families and communities which are reasonable and appropriate for their respective ages or for any special needs they may have and shall provide them with services to build life skills and increase their ability to live independently and become self-sufficient. To support the provision of opportunities for participation in age-appropriate life skills activities, the department shall:
1. Develop a list of age-appropriate activities and responsibilities to be offered to all children involved in independent living transition services and their foster parents.
2. Provide training for staff and foster parents to address the issues of older children in foster care in transitioning to adulthood, which shall include information on high school completion, grant applications, vocational school opportunities, supporting education and employment opportunities, and opportunities to participate in appropriate daily activities.
3. Develop procedures to maximize the authority of foster parents, family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, or other authorized caregivers to approve participation in age-appropriate activities of children in their care. The age-appropriate activities and the authority of the foster parent, family foster home, residential child-caring agency, or caregiver shall be developed into a written plan that the foster parent, family foster home, residential child-caring agency, or caregiver, the child, and the case manager all develop together, sign, and follow. This plan must include specific goals and objectives and be reviewed and updated no less than quarterly. Foster parents, family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, or other authorized caregivers who have developed a written plan as described in this subparagraph shall not be held responsible under administrative rules or laws pertaining to state licensure or have their licensure status in any manner jeopardized as a result of the actions of a child engaged in the approved age-appropriate activities specified in the written plan.
4. Provide opportunities for older children in foster care to interact with mentors.
5. Develop and implement procedures for older children to directly access and manage the personal allowance they receive from the department in order to learn responsibility and participate in age-appropriate life skills activities to the extent feasible.
6. Make a good faith effort to fully explain, prior to execution of any signature, if required, any document, report, form, or other record, whether written or electronic, presented to a child or young adult pursuant to this chapter and allow for the recipient to ask any appropriate questions necessary to fully understand the document. It shall be the responsibility of the person presenting the document to the child or young adult to comply with this subparagraph.
(b) It is further the intent of the Legislature that each child in foster care, his or her foster parents, if applicable, and the department or community-based provider set early achievement and career goals for the child’s postsecondary educational and work experience. The department and community-based providers shall implement the model set forth in this paragraph to help ensure that children in foster care are ready for postsecondary education and the workplace.
1. For children in foster care who have reached 13 years of age, the department or community-based provider shall ensure that the child’s case plan includes an educational and career path based upon both the abilities and interests of each child. The child, the foster parents, and a teacher or other school staff member shall be included to the fullest extent possible in developing the path. The path shall be reviewed at each judicial hearing as part of the case plan and shall accommodate the needs of children served in exceptional education programs to the extent appropriate for each individual. Such children may continue to follow the courses outlined in the district school board student progression plan. Children in foster care, with the assistance of their foster parents, and the department or community-based provider shall choose one of the following postsecondary goals:
a. Attending a 4-year college or university, a community college plus university, or a military academy;
b. Receiving a 2-year postsecondary degree;
c. Attaining a postsecondary career and technical certificate or credential; or
d. Beginning immediate employment, including apprenticeship, after completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent, or enlisting in the military.
2. In order to assist the child in foster care in achieving his or her chosen goal, the department or community-based provider shall, with the participation of the child and foster parents, identify:
a. The core courses necessary to qualify for a chosen goal.
b. Any elective courses which would provide additional help in reaching a chosen goal.
c. The grade point requirement and any additional information necessary to achieve a specific goal.
d. A teacher, other school staff member, employee of the department or community-based care provider, or community volunteer who would be willing to work with the child as an academic advocate or mentor if foster parent involvement is insufficient or unavailable.
3. In order to complement educational goals, the department and community-based providers are encouraged to form partnerships with the business community to support internships, apprenticeships, or other work-related opportunities.
4. The department and community-based providers shall ensure that children in foster care and their foster parents are made aware of the postsecondary goals available and shall assist in identifying the coursework necessary to enable the child to reach the chosen goal.
(c) All children in foster care and young adults formerly in foster care are encouraged to take part in learning opportunities that result from participation in community service activities.
(d) Children in foster care and young adults formerly in foster care shall be provided with the opportunity to change from one postsecondary goal to another, and each postsecondary goal shall allow for changes in each individual’s needs and preferences. Any change, particularly a change that will result in additional time required to achieve a goal, shall be made with the guidance and assistance of the department or community-based provider.
(4) SERVICES FOR CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE.The department shall provide the following transition to independence services to children in foster care who meet prescribed conditions and are determined eligible by the department. The service categories available to children in foster care which facilitate successful transition into adulthood are:
(a) Preindependent living services.
1. Preindependent living services include, but are not limited to, life skills training, educational field trips, and conferences. The specific services to be provided to a child shall be determined using a preindependent living assessment.
2. A child who has reached 13 years of age but is not yet 15 years of age who is in foster care is eligible for such services.
3. The department shall conduct an annual staffing for each child who has reached 13 years of age but is not yet 15 years of age to ensure that the preindependent living training and services to be provided as determined by the preindependent living assessment are being received and to evaluate the progress of the child in developing the needed independent living skills.
4. At the first annual staffing that occurs following a child’s 14th birthday, and at each subsequent staffing, the department or community-based provider shall ensure that the child’s case plan includes an educational and career path based upon both the abilities and interests of each child and shall provide to each child detailed personalized information on services provided by the Road-to-Independence Program, including requirements for eligibility; on other grants, scholarships, and waivers that are available and should be sought by the child with assistance from the department, including, but not limited to, the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, as provided in ss. 1009.53-1009.538; on application deadlines; and on grade requirements for such programs.
5. Information related to both the preindependent living assessment and all staffings, which shall be reduced to writing and signed by the child participant, shall be included as a part of the written report required to be provided to the court at each judicial review held pursuant to s. 39.701.
(b) Life skills services.
1. Life skills services may include, but are not limited to, independent living skills training, including training to develop banking and budgeting skills, interviewing skills, parenting skills, and time management or organizational skills, educational support, employment training, and counseling. Children receiving these services should also be provided with information related to social security insurance benefits and public assistance. The specific services to be provided to a child shall be determined using an independent life skills assessment.
2. A child who has reached 15 years of age but is not yet 18 years of age who is in foster care is eligible for such services.
3. The department shall conduct a staffing at least once every 6 months for each child who has reached 15 years of age but is not yet 18 years of age to ensure that the appropriate independent living training and services as determined by the independent life skills assessment are being received and to evaluate the progress of the child in developing the needed independent living skills.
4. The department shall provide to each child in foster care during the calendar month following the child’s 17th birthday an independent living assessment to determine the child’s skills and abilities to live independently and become self-sufficient. Based on the results of the independent living assessment, services and training shall be provided in order for the child to develop the necessary skills and abilities prior to the child’s 18th birthday.
5. Information related to both the independent life skills assessment and all staffings, which shall be reduced to writing and signed by the child participant, shall be included as a part of the written report required to be provided to the court at each judicial review held pursuant to s. 39.701.
(c) Subsidized independent living services.
1. Subsidized independent living services are living arrangements that allow the child to live independently of the daily care and supervision of an adult in a setting that is not required to be licensed under s. 409.175.
2. A child who has reached 16 years of age but is not yet 18 years of age is eligible for such services and shall be formally evaluated for placement in a subsidized independent living arrangement, if he or she:
a. Is adjudicated dependent under chapter 39; has been placed in licensed out-of-home care for at least 6 months prior to entering subsidized independent living; and has a permanency goal of adoption, independent living, or long-term licensed care; and
b. Is able to demonstrate independent living skills, as determined by the department, using established procedures and assessments.
3. Independent living arrangements established for a child must be part of an overall plan leading to the total independence of the child from the department’s supervision. The plan must include, but need not be limited to, a description of the skills of the child and a plan for learning additional identified skills; the behavior that the child has exhibited which indicates an ability to be responsible and a plan for developing additional responsibilities, as appropriate; a plan for future educational, vocational, and training skills; present financial and budgeting capabilities and a plan for improving resources and ability; a description of the proposed residence; documentation that the child understands the specific consequences of his or her conduct in the independent living program; documentation of proposed services to be provided by the department and other agencies, including the type of service and the nature and frequency of contact; and a plan for maintaining or developing relationships with the family, other adults, friends, and the community, as appropriate.
4. Subsidy payments in an amount established by the department may be made directly to a child under the direct supervision of a caseworker or other responsible adult approved by the department.
(5) SERVICES FOR YOUNG ADULTS FORMERLY IN FOSTER CARE.Based on the availability of funds, the department shall provide or arrange for the following services to young adults formerly in foster care who meet the prescribed conditions and are determined eligible by the department. The department, or a community-based care lead agency when the agency is under contract with the department to provide the services described under this subsection, shall develop a plan to implement those services. A plan shall be developed for each community-based care service area in the state. Each plan that is developed by a community-based care lead agency shall be submitted to the department. Each plan shall include the number of young adults to be served each month of the fiscal year and specify the number of young adults who will reach 18 years of age who will be eligible for the plan and the number of young adults who will reach 23 years of age and will be ineligible for the plan or who are otherwise ineligible during each month of the fiscal year; staffing requirements and all related costs to administer the services and program; expenditures to or on behalf of the eligible recipients; costs of services provided to young adults through an approved plan for housing, transportation, and employment; reconciliation of these expenses and any additional related costs with the funds allocated for these services; and an explanation of and a plan to resolve any shortages or surpluses in order to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget. The categories of services available to assist a young adult formerly in foster care to achieve independence are:
(a) Aftercare support services.
1. Aftercare support services are available to assist young adults who were formerly in foster care in their efforts to continue to develop the skills and abilities necessary for independent living. The aftercare support services available include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Mentoring and tutoring.
b. Mental health services and substance abuse counseling.
c. Life skills classes, including credit management and preventive health activities.
d. Parenting classes.
e. Job and career skills training.
f. Counselor consultations.
g. Temporary financial assistance.
h. Financial literacy skills training.

The specific services to be provided under this subparagraph shall be determined by an aftercare services assessment and may be provided by the department or through referrals in the community.

2. Temporary assistance provided to prevent homelessness shall be provided as expeditiously as possible and within the limitations defined by the department.
3. A young adult who has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of age who leaves foster care at 18 years of age but who requests services prior to reaching 23 years of age is eligible for such services.
(b) Road-to-Independence Program.
1. The Road-to-Independence Program is intended to help eligible students who are former foster children in this state to receive the educational and vocational training needed to achieve independence. The amount of the award shall be based on the living and educational needs of the young adult and may be up to, but may not exceed, the amount of earnings that the student would have been eligible to earn working a 40-hour-a-week federal minimum wage job.
2. A young adult who has earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent as described in s. 1003.43 or s. 1003.435, has earned a special diploma or special certificate of completion as described in s. 1003.438, or has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 21 years of age is eligible for the initial award, and a young adult under 23 years of age is eligible for renewal awards, if he or she:
a. Was a dependent child, under chapter 39, and was living in licensed foster care or in subsidized independent living at the time of his or her 18th birthday or is currently living in licensed foster care or subsidized independent living, or, after reaching the age of 16, was adopted from foster care or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian and has spent a minimum of 6 months in foster care immediately preceding such placement or adoption;
b. Spent at least 6 months living in foster care before reaching his or her 18th birthday;
c. Is a resident of this state as defined in s. 1009.40; and
d. Meets one of the following qualifications:
(I) Has earned a standard high school diploma or its equivalent as described in s. 1003.43 or s. 1003.435, or has earned a special diploma or special certificate of completion as described in s. 1003.438, and has been admitted for full-time enrollment in an eligible postsecondary education institution as defined in s. 1009.533;
(II) Is enrolled full time in an accredited high school; or
(III) Is enrolled full time in an accredited adult education program designed to provide the student with a high school diploma or its equivalent.
3. A young adult applying for the Road-to-Independence Program must apply for any other grants and scholarships for which he or she may qualify. The department shall assist the young adult in the application process and may use the federal financial aid grant process to determine the funding needs of the young adult.
4. An award shall be available to a young adult who is considered a full-time student or its equivalent by the educational institution in which he or she is enrolled, unless that young adult has a recognized disability preventing full-time attendance. The amount of the award, whether it is being used by a young adult working toward completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent or working toward completion of a postsecondary education program, shall be determined based on an assessment of the funding needs of the young adult. This assessment must consider the young adult’s living and educational costs and other grants, scholarships, waivers, earnings, and other income to be received by the young adult. An award shall be available only to the extent that other grants and scholarships are not sufficient to meet the living and educational needs of the young adult, but an award may not be less than $25 in order to maintain Medicaid eligibility for the young adult as provided in s. 409.903.
5. The amount of the award may be disregarded for purposes of determining the eligibility for, or the amount of, any other federal or federally supported assistance.
6.a. The department must advertise the criteria, application procedures, and availability of the program to:
(I) Children and young adults in, leaving, or formerly in foster care.
(II) Case managers.
(III) Guidance and family services counselors.
(IV) Principals or other relevant school administrators.
(V) Guardians ad litem.
(VI) Foster parents.
b. The department shall issue awards from the program for each young adult who meets all the requirements of the program to the extent funding is available.
c. An award shall be issued at the time the eligible student reaches 18 years of age.
d. A young adult who is eligible for the Road-to-Independence Program, transitional support services, or aftercare services and who so desires shall be allowed to reside with the licensed foster family or group care provider with whom he or she was residing at the time of attaining his or her 18th birthday or to reside in another licensed foster home or with a group care provider arranged by the department.
e. If the award recipient transfers from one eligible institution to another and continues to meet eligibility requirements, the award must be transferred with the recipient.
f. Funds awarded to any eligible young adult under this program are in addition to any other services or funds provided to the young adult by the department through transitional support services or aftercare services.
g. The department shall provide information concerning young adults receiving funding through the Road-to-Independence Program to the Department of Education for inclusion in the student financial assistance database, as provided in s. 1009.94.
h. Funds are intended to help eligible young adults who are former foster children in this state to receive the educational and vocational training needed to become independent and self-supporting. The funds shall be terminated when the young adult has attained one of four postsecondary goals under subsection (3) or reaches 23 years of age, whichever occurs earlier. In order to initiate postsecondary education, to allow for a change in career goal, or to obtain additional skills in the same educational or vocational area, a young adult may earn no more than two diplomas, certificates, or credentials. A young adult attaining an associate of arts or associate of science degree shall be permitted to work toward completion of a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree or an equivalent undergraduate degree. Road-to-Independence Program funds may not be used for education or training after a young adult has attained a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree or an equivalent undergraduate degree.
i. The department shall evaluate and renew each award annually during the 90-day period before the young adult’s birthday. In order to be eligible for a renewal award for the subsequent year, the young adult must:
(I) Complete the number of hours, or the equivalent considered full time by the educational institution, unless that young adult has a recognized disability preventing full-time attendance, in the last academic year in which the young adult earned an award, except for a young adult who meets the requirements of s. 1009.41.
(II) Maintain appropriate progress as required by the educational institution, except that, if the young adult’s progress is insufficient to renew the award at any time during the eligibility period, the young adult may restore eligibility by improving his or her progress to the required level.
j. Funds may be terminated during the interim between an award and the evaluation for a renewal award if the department determines that the award recipient is no longer enrolled in an educational institution as defined in sub-subparagraph 2.d., or is no longer a state resident. The department shall notify a recipient who is terminated and inform the recipient of his or her right to appeal.
k. An award recipient who does not qualify for a renewal award or who chooses not to renew the award may subsequently apply for reinstatement. An application for reinstatement must be made before the young adult reaches 23 years of age, and a student may not apply for reinstatement more than once. In order to be eligible for reinstatement, the young adult must meet the eligibility criteria and the criteria for award renewal for the program.
(c) Transitional support services.
1. In addition to any services provided through aftercare support or the Road-to-Independence Program, a young adult formerly in foster care may receive other appropriate short-term funding and services, which may include financial, housing, counseling, employment, education, mental health, disability, and other services, if the young adult demonstrates that the services are critical to the young adult’s own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to develop a personal support system. The department or community-based care provider shall work with the young adult in developing a joint transition plan that is consistent with a needs assessment identifying the specific need for transitional services to support the young adult’s own efforts. The young adult must have specific tasks to complete or maintain included in the plan and be accountable for the completion of or making progress towards the completion of these tasks. If the young adult and the department or community-based care provider cannot come to agreement regarding any part of the plan, the young adult may access a grievance process to its full extent in an effort to resolve the disagreement.
2. A young adult formerly in foster care is eligible to apply for transitional support services if he or she has reached 18 years of age but is not yet 23 years of age, was a dependent child pursuant to chapter 39, was living in licensed foster care or in subsidized independent living at the time of his or her 18th birthday, and had spent at least 6 months living in foster care before that date.
3. If at any time the services are no longer critical to the young adult’s own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and to develop a personal support system, they shall be terminated.
(d) Payment of aftercare, Road-to-Independence Program, or transitional support funds.
1. Payment of aftercare, Road-to-Independence Program, or transitional support funds shall be made directly to the recipient unless the recipient requests in writing to the community-based care lead agency, or the department, that the payments or a portion of the payments be made directly on the recipient’s behalf in order to secure services such as housing, counseling, education, or employment training as part of the young adult’s own efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.
2. After the completion of aftercare support services that satisfy the requirements of sub-subparagraph (a)1.h., payment of awards under the Road-to-Independence Program shall be made by direct deposit to the recipient, unless the recipient requests in writing to the community-based care lead agency or the department that:
a. The payments be made directly to the recipient by check or warrant;
b. The payments or a portion of the payments be made directly on the recipient’s behalf to institutions the recipient is attending to maintain eligibility under this section; or
c. The payments be made on a two-party check to a business or landlord for a legitimate expense, whether reimbursed or not. A legitimate expense for the purposes of this sub-subparagraph shall include automobile repair or maintenance expenses; educational, job, or training expenses; and costs incurred, except legal costs, fines, or penalties, when applying for or executing a rental agreement for the purposes of securing a home or residence.
3. The community-based care lead agency may purchase housing, transportation, or employment services to ensure the availability and affordability of specific transitional services thereby allowing an eligible young adult to utilize these services in lieu of receiving a direct payment. Prior to purchasing such services, the community-based care lead agency must have a plan approved by the department describing the services to be purchased, the rationale for purchasing the services, and a specific range of expenses for each service that is less than the cost of purchasing the service by an individual young adult. The plan must include a description of the transition of a young adult using these services into independence and a timeframe for achievement of independence. An eligible young adult who prefers a direct payment shall receive such payment. The plan must be reviewed annually and evaluated for cost-efficiency and for effectiveness in assisting young adults in achieving independence, preventing homelessness among young adults, and enabling young adults to earn a livable wage in a permanent employment situation.
4. The young adult who resides with a foster family may not be included as a child in calculating any licensing restriction on the number of children in the foster home.
(e) Appeals process.
1. The Department of Children and Family Services shall adopt by rule a procedure by which a young adult may appeal an eligibility determination or the department’s failure to provide aftercare, Road-to-Independence Program, or transitional support services, or the termination of such services, if such funds are available.
2. The procedure developed by the department must be readily available to young adults, must provide timely decisions, and must provide for an appeal to the Secretary of Children and Family Services. The decision of the secretary constitutes final agency action and is reviewable by the court as provided in s. 120.68.
(6) ACCOUNTABILITY.The department shall develop outcome measures for the program and other performance measures in order to maintain oversight of the program. The department shall prepare a report on the outcome measures and the department’s oversight activities and submit the report to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the committees with jurisdiction over issues relating to children and families in the Senate and the House of Representatives no later than January 31 of each year. The report must include:
(a) An analysis of performance on the outcome measures developed under this section reported for each community-based care lead agency and compared with the performance of the department on the same measures.
(b) A description of the department’s oversight of the program, including, by lead agency, any programmatic or fiscal deficiencies found, corrective actions required, and current status of compliance.
(c) Any rules adopted or proposed under this section since the last report. For the purposes of the first report, any rules adopted or proposed under this section must be included.
(7) INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES ADVISORY COUNCIL.The Secretary of Children and Family Services shall establish the Independent Living Services Advisory Council for the purpose of reviewing and making recommendations concerning the implementation and operation of the independent living transition services. This advisory council shall continue to function as specified in this subsection until the Legislature determines that the advisory council can no longer provide a valuable contribution to the department’s efforts to achieve the goals of the independent living transition services.
(a) Specifically, the advisory council shall assess the implementation and operation of the system of independent living transition services and advise the department on actions that would improve the ability of the independent living transition services to meet the established goals. The advisory council shall keep the department informed of problems being experienced with the services, barriers to the effective and efficient integration of services and support across systems, and successes that the system of independent living transition services has achieved. The department shall consider, but is not required to implement, the recommendations of the advisory council.
(b) The advisory council shall report to the secretary on the status of the implementation of the system of independent living transition services; efforts to publicize the availability of aftercare support services, the Road-to-Independence Program, and transitional support services; the success of the services; problems identified; recommendations for department or legislative action; and the department’s implementation of the recommendations contained in the Independent Living Services Integration Workgroup Report submitted to the appropriate substantive committees of the Legislature by December 31, 2002. The department shall submit a report by December 31 of each year to the Governor and the Legislature which includes a summary of the factors reported on by the council and identifies the recommendations of the advisory council and either describes the department’s actions to implement the recommendations or provides the department’s rationale for not implementing the recommendations.
(c) Members of the advisory council shall be appointed by the secretary of the department. The membership of the advisory council must include, at a minimum, representatives from the headquarters and district offices of the Department of Children and Family Services, community-based care lead agencies, the Agency for Workforce Innovation, the Department of Education, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the State Youth Advisory Board, Workforce Florida, Inc., the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office, foster parents, recipients of Road-to-Independence Program funding, and advocates for foster children. The secretary shall determine the length of the term to be served by each member appointed to the advisory council, which may not exceed 4 years.
(d) The Department of Children and Family Services shall provide administrative support to the Independent Living Services Advisory Council to accomplish its assigned tasks. The advisory council shall be afforded access to all appropriate data from the department, each community-based care lead agency, and other relevant agencies in order to accomplish the tasks set forth in this section. The data collected may not include any information that would identify a specific child or young adult.
(e) The advisory council report required under paragraph (b) to be submitted to the substantive committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives by December 31, 2008, shall include an analysis of the system of independent living transition services for young adults who attain 18 years of age while in foster care prior to completing high school or its equivalent and recommendations for department or legislative action. The council shall assess and report on the most effective method of assisting these young adults to complete high school or its equivalent by examining the practices of other states.
(8) PERSONAL PROPERTY.Property acquired on behalf of clients of this program shall become the personal property of the clients and is not subject to the requirements of chapter 273 relating to state-owned tangible personal property. Such property continues to be subject to applicable federal laws.
(9) MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR YOUNG ADULTS FORMERLY IN FOSTER CARE.The department shall enroll in the Florida Kidcare program, outside the open enrollment period, each young adult who is eligible as described in paragraph (2)(b) and who has not yet reached his or her 19th birthday.
(a) A young adult who was formerly in foster care at the time of his or her 18th birthday and who is 18 years of age but not yet 19, shall pay the premium for the Florida Kidcare program as required in s. 409.814.
(b) A young adult who has health insurance coverage from a third party through his or her employer or who is eligible for Medicaid is not eligible for enrollment under this subsection.
(10) RULEMAKING.The department shall adopt by rule procedures to administer this section, including balancing the goals of normalcy and safety for the youth and providing the caregivers with as much flexibility as possible to enable the youth to participate in normal life experiences. The department shall engage in appropriate planning to prevent, to the extent possible, a reduction in awards after issuance. The department shall adopt rules to govern the payments and conditions related to payments for services to youth or young adults provided under this section.
History.s. 3, ch. 2002-19; s. 44, ch. 2003-1; s. 6, ch. 2003-146; s. 1, ch. 2004-362; s. 3, ch. 2005-179; ss. 11, 17, ch. 2006-194; s. 2, ch. 2007-147; s. 1, ch. 2008-122; s. 118, ch. 2010-102; s. 4, ch. 2010-158.
409.14511 Rulemaking authority to administer ch. 2005-179.The Department of Children and Family Services shall adopt rules to administer chapter 2005-179, Laws of Florida.
History.s. 6, ch. 2005-179.
409.146 Children and families client and management information system.
(1) The Department of Children and Family Services shall establish a children and families client and management information system which shall provide information concerning children served by the children and families programs.
(2) The children and families client and management information system shall provide, at a minimum, an integrated service delivery information system to implement comprehensive screening, uniform assessment, case planning, monitoring, resource matching, and outcome evaluations for all of the following program services categories and related program components as defined in s. 20.19 and chapter 39:
(a) Child welfare and prevention and diversion services.
(b) Child care services.
(3) The system shall be designed to promote efficient and effective use of resources and accountability designed to provide the most appropriate, least restrictive services for all clients in the children and families programs. It shall contain, at a minimum, that information deemed to be essential for ongoing administration of service delivery and outcome evaluation systems, as well as for the purpose of management decisions.
(4) The system shall be operated in such a manner as to facilitate the service delivery goals of the children receiving the children and families programs and services.
(5) The Department of Children and Family Services shall employ accepted current system development methodology to determine the appropriate design and contents of the system, as well as the most rapid feasible implementation schedule as outlined in the information resources management operational plan of the Department of Children and Family Services.
(6) The Department of Children and Family Services shall aggregate, on a quarterly and an annual basis, the information and statistical data of the children and families client and management information system into a descriptive report and shall disseminate the quarterly and annual reports to interested parties, including substantive committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
(7) Whenever feasible, the system shall have online computers and shall be available for data entry and retrieval at the unit level of organization by program component counselors.
(8) Children and families program staff responsible for services shall be trained in the use of the system.
(9) The Department of Children and Family Services shall provide an annual report to the Joint Information Technology Resources Committee. The committee shall review the report and shall forward the report, along with its comments, to the appropriate substantive and appropriations committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate delineating the development status of the system and other information necessary for funding and policy formulation. In developing the system, the Department of Children and Family Services shall consider and report on the availability of, and the costs associated with using, existing software and systems, including, but not limited to, those that are operational in other states, to meet the requirements of this section. The department shall also consider and report on the compatibility of such existing software and systems with an integrated management information system. The report shall be submitted no later than December 1 of each year.
History.s. 41, ch. 90-306; s. 11, ch. 91-158; s. 8, ch. 92-58; s. 69, ch. 94-209; s. 31, ch. 95-267; s. 112, ch. 97-101.
409.147 Children’s initiatives.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
1. There are neighborhoods in the state where the infrastructure and opportunities that middle-class communities take for granted are nonexistent or so marginal that they are ineffective.
2. Children living in these neighborhoods are not read to by an adult on a regular basis and attend a prekindergarten education program at a much lower rate than children in other communities. These children experience below-average performance on standardized tests and graduate from high school in fewer numbers. Most of these children are eligible for the free or reduced-price school lunch program.
3. Children in these neighborhoods often suffer from high rates of asthma, a higher risk of lead poisoning, and inadequate health care, and they are routinely exposed to violence and crime.
4. In spite of these obstacles, these neighborhoods are many times home to strong individuals and institutions that are committed to making a difference in the lives of children and their families.
(b) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to assist disadvantaged areas within the state in creating a community-based service network that develops, coordinates, and provides quality education, accessible health care, youth development programs, opportunities for employment, and safe and affordable housing for children and families living within its boundaries.
(2) POLICY AND PURPOSE.It is the policy of this state to provide the necessary means to assist local communities, the children and families who live in those communities, and the private sector in creating a sound educational, social, and economic environment. To achieve this objective, the state intends to provide investments sufficient to encourage community partners to commit financial and other resources to severely disadvantaged areas. The purpose of this section is to establish a process that clearly identifies the severely disadvantaged areas and provides guidance for developing a new social service paradigm that systematically coordinates programs that address the critical needs of children and their families and for directing efforts to rebuild the basic infrastructure of the community. The Legislature, therefore, declares the creation of children’s initiatives, through the collaborative efforts of government and the private sector, to be a public purpose.
(3) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Governing body” means the commission or other legislative body charged with governing a county or municipality.
(b) “Ounce” means the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, Inc.
(c) “Planning team” means a children’s initiative planning team established under this section.
(d) “Resident” means a person who lives or operates a small community-based business or organization within the boundaries of the children’s initiative.
(4) CHILDREN’S INITIATIVE NOMINATING PROCESS.A county or municipality, or a county and one or more municipalities together, may apply to the Ounce to designate an area as a children’s initiative after the governing body:
(a) Adopts a resolution that:
1. Finds that an area exists in such county or municipality, or in the county and one or more municipalities, that chronically exhibits extreme and unacceptable levels of poverty, unemployment, physical deterioration, as well as limited access to quality educational, health care, and social services.
2. Determines that the rehabilitation, conservation, or redevelopment, or a combination thereof, of the area is necessary in the interest of improving the health, wellness, education, living conditions, and livelihoods of the children and families who live in the county or municipality.
3. Determines that the revitalization of the area can occur only if the state and the private sector invest resources to improve infrastructure and the provision of services.
(b) Establishes a children’s initiative planning team as provided in subsection (5).
(c) Develops and adopts a strategic community plan as provided in subsection (6).
(d) Creates a corporation not for profit as provided in subsection (7).
(5) CHILDREN’S INITIATIVE PLANNING TEAM.
(a) After the governing body adopts the resolution described in subsection (4), the county or municipality shall establish a children’s initiative planning team.
(b) The planning team shall include residents and representatives from community-based organizations and other community institutions. At least half of the members of the planning team must be residents.
(c) The planning team shall:
1. Develop a planning process that sets the direction for, builds a commitment to, and develops the capacity to realize the children’s initiative concept.
2. Develop a vision of what the children’s initiative will look like when the challenges, problems, and opportunities in the children’s initiative are successfully addressed.
3. Identify important opportunities, strengths, challenges, and problems in the children’s initiative.
4. Develop a strategic community plan consisting of goals, objectives, tasks, the designation of responsible parties, the identification of resources needed, timelines for implementation of the plan, and procedures for monitoring outcomes.
(d) The planning team shall designate working groups to specifically address each of the following focus areas:
1. Early development and care of children.
2. Education of children and youth.
3. Health and wellness.
4. Youth support.
5. Parent and guardian support.
6. Adult education, training, and jobs.
7. Community safety.
8. Housing and community development.
(6) CHILDREN’S INITIATIVE STRATEGIC COMMUNITY PLAN.After the governing body adopts the resolution described in subsection (4), the working groups shall develop objectives and identify strategies for each focus area. The objectives, specified by focus area, for a working group may include, but not be limited to:
(a) Early development and care of children.
1. Providing resources to enable every child to be adequately nurtured during the first 3 years of life.
2. Ensuring that all schools are ready for children and all children are ready for school.
3. Facilitating enrollment in half-day or full-day prekindergarten for all 3-year-old and 4-year-old children.
4. Strengthening parent and guardian relationships with care providers.
5. Providing support and education for families and child care providers.
(b) Education of children and youth.
1. Increasing the level and degree of accountability of persons who are responsible for the development and well-being of all children in the children’s initiative.
2. Changing the structure and function of schools to increase the quality and amount of time spent on instruction and increase programmatic options and offerings.
3. Creating a safe and respectful environment for student learning.
4. Identifying and supporting points of alignment between the children’s initiative community plan and the school district’s strategic plan.
(c) Health and wellness.
1. Facilitating enrollment of all eligible children in the Florida Kidcare program and providing full access to high-quality drug and alcohol treatment services.
2. Eliminating health disparities between racial and cultural groups, including improving outcomes and increasing interventions.
3. Providing fresh, good quality, affordable, and nutritious food within the children’s initiative.
4. Providing all children in the children’s initiative with access to safe structured and unstructured recreation.
(d) Youth support.
1. Increasing the high school graduation rate.
2. Increasing leadership development and employment opportunities for youth.
(e) Parent and guardian support.
1. Increasing parent and adult literacy.
2. Expanding access for parents to critical resources, such as jobs, transportation, day care, and after-school care.
3. Improving the effectiveness of the ways in which support systems communicate and collaborate with parents and the ways in which parents communicate and collaborate with support systems.
4. Making the services of the Healthy Families Florida program available to provide multiyear support to expectant parents and persons caring for infants and toddlers.
(f) Adult education, training, and jobs.
1. Creating job opportunities for adults that lead to career development.
2. Establishing a career and technical school, or a satellite of such a school in the children’s initiative, which includes a one-stop career center.
(g) Community safety.
1. Providing a safe environment for all children at home, in school, and in the community.
2. Eliminating the economic, political, and social forces that lead to a lack of safety within the family, the community, schools, and institutional structures.
3. Assessing policies and practices, including sentencing, incarceration, detention, and data reporting, in order to reduce youth violence, crime, and recidivism.
(h) Housing and community development.
1. Strengthening the residential real estate market.
2. Building on existing efforts to promote socioeconomic diversity when developing a comprehensive land use strategic plan.
3. Promoting neighborhood beautification strategies.
(7) CHILDREN’S INITIATIVE CORPORATION.After the governing body adopts the resolution described in subsection (4), establishes the planning team as provided in subsection (5), and develops and adopts the strategic community plan as provided in subsection (6), the county or municipality shall create a corporation not for profit which shall be registered, incorporated, organized, and operated in compliance with chapter 617. The purpose of the corporation is to facilitate fundraising, to secure broad community ownership of the children’s initiative, and, if the area selected by the governing body is designated as a children’s initiative, to:
(a) Begin to transfer responsibility for planning from the planning team to the corporation.
(b) Begin the implementation and governance of the children’s initiative community plan.
(8) CREATION OF MIAMI CHILDREN’S INITIATIVE, INC.
(a) There is created within the Liberty City neighborhood in Miami-Dade County a 10-year project that shall be managed by an entity organized as a corporation not for profit which shall be registered, incorporated, organized, and operated in compliance with chapter 617. An entity may not be incorporated until the governing body has adopted the resolution described in subsection (4), has established the planning team as provided in subsection (5), and has developed and adopted the strategic community plan as provided in subsection (6). The corporation shall be known as the Miami Children’s Initiative, Inc., and shall be administratively housed within the Department of Children and Family Services. However, Miami Children’s Initiative, Inc., is not subject to control, supervision, or direction by the Department of Children and Family Services in any manner. The Legislature determines, however, that public policy dictates that the corporation operate in the most open and accessible manner consistent with its public purpose. Therefore, the Legislature specifically declares that the corporation is subject to chapter 119, relating to public records, chapter 286, relating to public meetings and records, and chapter 287, relating to procurement of commodities or contractual services.
(b) This initiative is designed to encompass an area that is large enough to include all of the necessary components of community life, including, but not limited to, schools, places of worship, recreational facilities, commercial areas, and common space, yet small enough to allow programs and services to reach every willing member of the neighborhood.
(9) IMPLEMENTATION.In order to implement this section, the Department of Children and Family Services shall contract with a not-for-profit corporation to work in collaboration with the governing body to adopt the resolution described in subsection (4), to establish the planning team as provided in subsection (5), and to develop and adopt the strategic community plan as provided in subsection (6). The not-for-profit corporation is also responsible for the development of a business plan and for the evaluation, fiscal management, and oversight of the Miami Children’s Initiative, Inc.
History.s. 1, ch. 2008-96; s. 16, ch. 2009-43.
409.153 Implementation of Healthy Families Florida program.The Department of Children and Family Services shall contract with a private nonprofit corporation to implement the Healthy Families Florida program. The private nonprofit corporation shall be incorporated for the purpose of identifying, funding, supporting, and evaluating programs and community initiatives to improve the development and life outcomes of children and to preserve and strengthen families with a primary emphasis on prevention. The private nonprofit corporation shall implement the program. The program shall work in partnership with existing community-based home visitation and family support resources to provide assistance to families in an effort to prevent child abuse. The program shall be voluntary for participants and shall require the informed consent of the participants at the initial contact. The Kempe Family Stress Checklist shall not be used.
History.s. 1, ch. 98-175.
409.165 Alternate care for children.
(1) Within funds appropriated, the department shall establish and supervise a program of emergency shelters, runaway shelters, foster homes, group homes, agency-operated group treatment homes, nonpsychiatric residential group care facilities, psychiatric residential treatment facilities, and other appropriate facilities to provide shelter and care for dependent children who must be placed away from their families. The department, in accordance with established goals, shall contract for the provision of such shelter and care by counties, municipalities, nonprofit corporations, and other entities capable of providing needed services if:
(a) The services so provided are available;
(b) The services so provided are more cost-effective than those provided by the department; and
(c) Unless otherwise provided by law, such providers of shelter and care are licensed by the department.

It is the legislative intent that the funds appropriated for the alternate care of children as described in this section may be used to meet the needs of children in their own homes or those of relatives if the children can be safely served in their own homes, or the homes of relatives, and the expenditure of funds in such manner is calculated by the department to be an eventual cost savings over placement of children.

(2) The department may cooperate with all child service institutions or agencies within the state which meet the rules for proper care and supervision prescribed by the department for the well-being of children.
(3) With the written consent of parents, custodians, or guardians, or in accordance with those provisions in chapter 39 that relate to dependent children, the department, under rules properly adopted, may place a child:
(a) With a relative;
(b) With an adult nonrelative approved by the court for long-term custody;
(c) With a person who is considering the adoption of a child in the manner provided for by law;
(d) When limited, except as provided in paragraph (b), to temporary emergency situations, with a responsible adult approved by the court;
(e) With a person or agency licensed by the department in accordance with s. 409.175; or
(f) In a subsidized independent living situation, subject to the provisions of s. 409.1451(4)(c),

under such conditions as are determined to be for the best interests or the welfare of the child. Any child placed in an institution or in a family home by the department or its agency may be removed by the department or its agency, and such other disposition may be made as is for the best interest of the child, including transfer of the child to another institution, another home, or the home of the child. Expenditure of funds appropriated for out-of-home care can be used to meet the needs of a child in the child’s own home or the home of a relative if the child can be safely served in the child’s own home or that of a relative if placement can be avoided by the expenditure of such funds, and if the expenditure of such funds in this manner is calculated by the department to be a potential cost savings.

History.s. 1, ch. 69-268; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-255; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 275, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 6, ch. 78-433; s. 102, ch. 79-164; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 2, 3, 4, ch. 83-250; s. 40, ch. 88-337; s. 4, ch. 91-183; ss. 3, 4, ch. 93-115; ss. 48, 53, ch. 94-164; ss. 4, 9, ch. 2002-19; s. 49, ch. 2006-1.
409.166 Children within the child welfare system; adoption assistance program.
(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.It is the intent of the Legislature to protect and promote each child’s right to the security and stability of a permanent family home. The Legislature intends to make adoption assistance, including financial aid, available to prospective adoptive parents to enable them to adopt a child in the state’s foster care system who, because of his or her needs, has proven difficult to place in an adoptive home.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Special needs child” means:
1. A child whose permanent custody has been awarded to the department or to a licensed child-placing agency;
2. A child who has established significant emotional ties with his or her foster parents or is not likely to be adopted because he or she is:
a. Eight years of age or older;
b. Developmentally disabled;
c. Physically or emotionally handicapped;
d. Of black or racially mixed parentage; or
e. A member of a sibling group of any age, provided two or more members of a sibling group remain together for purposes of adoption; and
3. Except when the child is being adopted by the child’s foster parents or relative caregivers, a child for whom a reasonable but unsuccessful effort has been made to place the child without providing a maintenance subsidy.
(b) “Adoption assistance” means financial assistance and services provided to a child and his or her adoptive family. Such assistance may include a maintenance subsidy, medical assistance, Medicaid assistance, and reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses associated with the legal adoption. The term also includes a tuition exemption at a postsecondary career program, community college, or state university.
(c) “Child within the child welfare system” or “child” means a special needs child and any other child who was removed from the child’s caregiver due to abuse or neglect and whose permanent custody has been awarded to the department or to a licensed child-placing agency.
(d) “Department” means the Department of Children and Family Services.
(e) “Licensed child-placing agency” has the same meaning as in s. 39.01.
(f) “Maintenance subsidy” means a monthly payment as provided in subsection (4).
(3) ADMINISTRATION OF PROGRAM.
(a) The department shall establish and administer an adoption program for children to be carried out by the department or by contract with a licensed child-placing agency. The program shall attempt to increase the number of persons seeking to adopt children and the number of finalized adoptions and shall extend adoption assistance, when needed, to the adoptive parents of a child.
(b) The department shall collect and maintain the necessary data and records to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in encouraging and promoting the adoption of children.
(4) ADOPTION ASSISTANCE.
(a) A maintenance subsidy shall be granted only when all other resources available to a child have been thoroughly explored and it can be clearly established that this is the most acceptable plan for providing permanent placement for the child. The maintenance subsidy may not be used as a substitute for adoptive parent recruitment or as an inducement to adopt a child who might be placed without providing a subsidy. However, it shall be the policy of the department that no child be denied adoption if providing a maintenance subsidy would make adoption possible. The best interest of the child shall be the deciding factor in every case. This section does not prohibit foster parents from applying to adopt a child placed in their care. Foster parents or relative caregivers must be asked if they would adopt without a maintenance subsidy.
(b) The department shall provide adoption assistance to the adoptive parents, subject to specific appropriation, in the amount of $5,000 annually, paid on a monthly basis, for the support and maintenance of a child until the 18th birthday of such child or in an amount other than $5,000 annually as determined by the adoptive parents and the department and memorialized in a written agreement between the adoptive parents and the department. The agreement shall take into consideration the circumstances of the adoptive parents and the needs of the child being adopted. The amount of subsidy may be adjusted based upon changes in the needs of the child or circumstances of the adoptive parents. Changes shall not be made without the concurrence of the adoptive parents. However, in no case shall the amount of the monthly payment exceed the foster care maintenance payment that would have been paid during the same period if the child had been in a foster family home.
(c) The department may provide adoption assistance to the adoptive parents, subject to specific appropriation, for medical assistance initiated after the adoption of the child for medical, surgical, hospital, and related services needed as a result of a physical or mental condition of the child which existed before the adoption and is not covered by Medicaid, Children’s Medical Services, or Children’s Mental Health Services. Such assistance may be initiated at any time but shall terminate on or before the child’s 18th birthday.
(5) ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES.
(a) As a condition of providing adoption assistance under this section, the adoptive parents must enter into an adoption-assistance agreement with the department which specifies the financial assistance and other services to be provided.
(b) A child who is handicapped at the time of adoption shall be eligible for services through the Children’s Medical Services network established under part I of chapter 391 if the child was eligible for such services prior to the adoption.
(6) WAIVER OF ADOPTION FEES.The adoption fees shall be waived for all adoptive parents who adopt children in the custody of the department. Fees may be waived for families who adopt children in the custody of a licensed child-placing agency or who adopt children through independent adoptions, and who receive or may be eligible for maintenance subsidies through the department. Retroactive reimbursement of fees is not required for families who adopt children in the custody of licensed child-placing agencies.
(7) REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES.The department is authorized to reimburse, retroactive to January 1, 1987, up to $1,000 in nonrecurring expenses related to the adoption of a child which have been incurred by adoptive parents. For purposes of this subsection, “nonrecurring expenses” means one-time expenses, such as attorney’s fees, court costs, birth certificate fees, travel expenses, agency fees, and physical examination fees.
(8) RULES.The department shall adopt rules to administer this section.
History.ss. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ch. 76-203; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 77-293; s. 1, ch. 78-362; s. 1, ch. 83-246; s. 17, ch. 84-254; s. 5, ch. 91-99; s. 24, ch. 92-96; s. 113, ch. 97-101; s. 43, ch. 97-103; s. 181, ch. 99-8; s. 50, ch. 2000-153; s. 5, ch. 2007-124; s. 112, ch. 2008-4; s. 7, ch. 2010-158.
409.167 Statewide adoption exchange; establishment; responsibilities; registration requirements; rules.
(1) The Department of Children and Family Services shall establish, either directly or through purchase, a statewide adoption exchange, with a photo listing component, which shall serve all authorized licensed child-placing agencies in the state as a means of recruiting adoptive families for children who have been legally freed for adoption and who have been permanently placed with the department or a licensed child-placing agency. The exchange shall provide descriptions and photographs of such children, as well as any other information deemed useful in the recruitment of adoptive families for each child. The photo listing component of the adoption exchange must be updated monthly.
(2)(a) Each district of the department shall refer each child in its care who has been legally freed for adoption to the adoption exchange no later than 30 days after the date of acceptance by the department for permanent placement. The referral must be accompanied by a photograph and description of the child.
(b) The department shall establish criteria by which a district may determine that a child need not be registered with the adoption exchange. Within 30 days after the date of acceptance by the department for permanent placement, the name of the child accepted for permanent placement must be forwarded to the statewide adoption exchange by the district together with reference to the specific reason why the child should not be placed on the adoption exchange. If the child has not been placed for adoption within 3 months after the date of acceptance by the department for permanent placement, the district shall provide the adoption exchange with the necessary photograph and information for registration of the child with the adoption exchange and the child shall be placed on the exchange. The department shall establish procedures for monitoring the status of children who are not placed on the adoption exchange within 30 days after the date of acceptance by the department for permanent placement.
(3) In accordance with rules established by the department, the adoption exchange may accept, from licensed child-placing agencies, information pertaining to children meeting the criteria of this section, and to prospective adoptive families, for registration with the exchange.
(4) The adoption exchange shall provide the photo listing service to all licensed child-placing agencies and, in accordance with rules established by the department, to all appropriate citizen groups and other organizations and associations interested in children’s services.
(5) Children who are registered with the statewide adoption exchange and for whom there is no available family resource shall be registered with existing regional and national adoption exchanges.
(6) The department shall adopt rules governing the operation of the statewide adoption exchange.
History.s. 2, ch. 83-246; s. 47, ch. 94-164; s. 114, ch. 97-101.
409.1671 Foster care and related services; outsourcing.
(1)(a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Children and Family Services shall outsource the provision of foster care and related services statewide. It is further the Legislature’s intent to encourage communities and other stakeholders in the well-being of children to participate in assuring that children are safe and well-nurtured. However, while recognizing that some local governments are presently funding portions of certain foster care and related services programs and may choose to expand such funding in the future, the Legislature does not intend by its outsourcing of foster care and related services that any county, municipality, or special district be required to assist in funding programs that previously have been funded by the state. Counties that provide children and family services with at least 40 licensed residential group care beds by July 1, 2003, and provide at least $2 million annually in county general revenue funds to supplement foster and family care services shall continue to contract directly with the state and shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. Nothing in this paragraph prohibits any county, municipality, or special district from future voluntary funding participation in foster care and related services. As used in this section, the term “outsource” means to contract with competent, community-based agencies. The department shall submit a plan to accomplish outsourcing statewide, through a competitive process, phased in over a 3-year period beginning January 1, 2000. This plan must be developed with local community participation, including, but not limited to, input from community-based providers that are currently under contract with the department to furnish community-based foster care and related services, and must include a methodology for determining and transferring all available funds, including federal funds that the provider is eligible for and agrees to earn and that portion of general revenue funds which is currently associated with the services that are being furnished under contract. The methodology must provide for the transfer of funds appropriated and budgeted for all services and programs that have been incorporated into the project, including all management, capital (including current furniture and equipment), and administrative funds to accomplish the transfer of these programs. This methodology must address expected workload and at least the 3 previous years’ experience in expenses and workload. With respect to any district or portion of a district in which outsourcing cannot be accomplished within the 3-year timeframe, the department must clearly state in its plan the reasons the timeframe cannot be met and the efforts that should be made to remediate the obstacles, which may include alternatives to total outsourcing, such as public-private partnerships. As used in this section, the term “related services” includes, but is not limited to, family preservation, independent living, emergency shelter, residential group care, foster care, therapeutic foster care, intensive residential treatment, foster care supervision, case management, postplacement supervision, permanent foster care, and family reunification. Unless otherwise provided for, the state attorney shall provide child welfare legal services, pursuant to chapter 39 and other relevant provisions, in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. When a private nonprofit agency has received case management responsibilities, transferred from the state under this section, for a child who is sheltered or found to be dependent and who is assigned to the care of the outsourcing project, the agency may act as the child’s guardian for the purpose of registering the child in school if a parent or guardian of the child is unavailable and his or her whereabouts cannot reasonably be ascertained. The private nonprofit agency may also seek emergency medical attention for such a child, but only if a parent or guardian of the child is unavailable, his or her whereabouts cannot reasonably be ascertained, and a court order for such emergency medical services cannot be obtained because of the severity of the emergency or because it is after normal working hours. However, the provider may not consent to sterilization, abortion, or termination of life support. If a child’s parents’ rights have been terminated, the nonprofit agency shall act as guardian of the child in all circumstances.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department will continue to work towards full outsourcing in a manner that assures the viability of the community-based system of care and best provides for the safety of children in the child protection system. To this end, the department is directed to continue the process of outsourcing services in those counties in which signed startup contracts have been executed. The department may also continue to enter into startup contracts with additional counties. However, no services shall be transferred to a community-based care lead agency until the department, in consultation with the local community alliance, has determined and certified in writing to the Governor and the Legislature that the district is prepared to transition the provision of services to the lead agency and that the lead agency is ready to deliver and be accountable for such service provision. In making this determination, the department shall conduct a readiness assessment of the district and the lead agency.
1. The assessment shall evaluate the operational readiness of the district and the lead agency based on:
a. A set of uniform criteria, developed in consultation with currently operating community-based care lead agencies and reflecting national accreditation standards, that evaluate programmatic, financial, technical assistance, training and organizational competencies; and
b. Local criteria reflective of the local community-based care design and the community alliance priorities.
2. The readiness assessment shall be conducted by a joint team of district and lead agency staff with direct experience with the start up and operation of a community-based care service program and representatives from the appropriate community alliance. Within resources available for this purpose, the department may secure outside audit expertise when necessary to assist a readiness assessment team.
3. Upon completion of a readiness assessment, the assessment team shall conduct an exit conference with the district and lead agency staff responsible for the transition.
4. Within 30 days following the exit conference with staff of each district and lead agency, the secretary shall certify in writing to the Governor and the Legislature that both the district and the lead agency are prepared to begin the transition of service provision based on the results of the readiness assessment and the exit conference. The document of certification must include specific evidence of readiness on each element of the readiness instrument utilized by the assessment team as well as a description of each element of readiness needing improvement and strategies being implemented to address each one.
(c) The Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA), in consultation with The Child Welfare League of America and the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, shall jointly review and assess the department’s process for determining district and lead agency readiness.
1. The review must, at a minimum, address the appropriateness of the readiness criteria and instruments applied, the appropriateness of the qualifications of participants on each readiness assessment team, the degree to which the department accurately determined each district and lead agency’s compliance with the readiness criteria, the quality of the technical assistance provided by the department to a lead agency in correcting any weaknesses identified in the readiness assessment, and the degree to which each lead agency overcame any identified weaknesses.
2. Reports of these reviews must be submitted to the appropriate substantive and appropriations committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 1 and September 1 of each year until full transition to community-based care has been accomplished statewide, except that the first report must be submitted by February 1, 2004, and must address all readiness activities undertaken through June 30, 2003. The perspectives of all participants in this review process must be included in each report.
(d) In communities where economic or demographic constraints make it impossible or not feasible to competitively contract with a lead agency, the department shall develop an alternative plan in collaboration with the local community alliance, which may include establishing innovative geographical configurations or consortia of agencies. The plan must detail how the community will continue to implement community-based care through competitively procuring either the specific components of foster care and related services or comprehensive services for defined eligible populations of children and families from qualified licensed agencies as part of its efforts to develop the local capacity for a community-based system of coordinated care. The plan must ensure local control over the management and administration of the service provision in accordance with the intent of this section and may include recognized best business practices, including some form of public or private partnerships.
(e) As used in this section, the term “eligible lead community-based provider” means a single agency with which the department shall contract for the provision of child protective services in a community that is no smaller than a county. The secretary of the department may authorize more than one eligible lead community-based provider within a single county when to do so will result in more effective delivery of foster care and related services. To compete for an outsourcing project, such agency must have:
1. The ability to coordinate, integrate, and manage all child protective services in the designated community in cooperation with child protective investigations.
2. The ability to ensure continuity of care from entry to exit for all children referred from the protective investigation and court systems.
3. The ability to provide directly, or contract for through a local network of providers, all necessary child protective services. Such agencies should directly provide no more than 35 percent of all child protective services provided.
4. The willingness to accept accountability for meeting the outcomes and performance standards related to child protective services established by the Legislature and the Federal Government.
5. The capability and the willingness to serve all children referred to it from the protective investigation and court systems, regardless of the level of funding allocated to the community by the state, provided all related funding is transferred.
6. The willingness to ensure that each individual who provides child protective services completes the training required of child protective service workers by the Department of Children and Family Services.
7. The ability to maintain eligibility to receive all federal child welfare funds, including Title IV-E and IV-A funds, currently being used by the Department of Children and Family Services.
8. Written agreements with Healthy Families Florida lead entities in their community, pursuant to s. 409.153, to promote cooperative planning for the provision of prevention and intervention services.
9. A board of directors, of which at least 51 percent of the membership is comprised of persons residing in this state. Of the state residents, at least 51 percent must also reside within the service area of the lead community-based provider.
(f)1. The Legislature finds that the state has traditionally provided foster care services to children who have been the responsibility of the state. As such, foster children have not had the right to recover for injuries beyond the limitations specified in s. 768.28. The Legislature has determined that foster care and related services need to be outsourced pursuant to this section and that the provision of such services is of paramount importance to the state. The purpose for such outsourcing is to increase the level of safety, security, and stability of children who are or become the responsibility of the state. One of the components necessary to secure a safe and stable environment for such children is that private providers maintain liability insurance. As such, insurance needs to be available and remain available to nongovernmental foster care and related services providers without the resources of such providers being significantly reduced by the cost of maintaining such insurance.
2. The Legislature further finds that, by requiring the following minimum levels of insurance, children in outsourced foster care and related services will gain increased protection and rights of recovery in the event of injury than provided for in s. 768.28.
(g) In any county in which a service contract has not been executed by December 31, 2004, the department shall ensure access to a model comprehensive residential services program as described in s. 409.1677 which, without imposing undue financial, geographic, or other barriers, ensures reasonable and appropriate participation by the family in the child’s program.
1. In order to ensure that the program is operational by December 31, 2004, the department must, by December 31, 2003, begin the process of establishing access to a program in any county in which the department has not either entered into a transition contract or approved a community plan, as described in paragraph (d), which ensures full outsourcing by the statutory deadline.
2. The program must be procured through a competitive process.
3. The Legislature does not intend for the provisions of this paragraph to substitute for the requirement that full conversion to community-based care be accomplished.
(h) Other than an entity to which s. 768.28 applies, any eligible lead community-based provider, as defined in paragraph (e), or its employees or officers, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (i), must, as a part of its contract, obtain a minimum of $1 million per claim/$3 million per incident in general liability insurance coverage. The eligible lead community-based provider must also require that staff who transport client children and families in their personal automobiles in order to carry out their job responsibilities obtain minimum bodily injury liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 per claim, $300,000 per incident, on their personal automobiles. In lieu of personal motor vehicle insurance, the lead community-based provider’s casualty, liability, or motor vehicle insurance carrier may provide nonowned automobile liability coverage. This insurance provides liability insurance for automobiles that the provider uses in connection with the provider’s business but does not own, lease, rent, or borrow. This coverage includes automobiles owned by the employees of the provider or a member of the employee’s household but only while the automobiles are used in connection with the provider’s business. The nonowned automobile coverage for the provider applies as excess coverage over any other collectible insurance. The personal automobile policy for the employee of the provider shall be primary insurance, and the nonowned automobile coverage of the provider acts as excess insurance to the primary insurance. The provider shall provide a minimum limit of $1 million in nonowned automobile coverage. In any tort action brought against such an eligible lead community-based provider or employee, net economic damages shall be limited to $1 million per liability claim and $100,000 per automobile claim, including, but not limited to, past and future medical expenses, wage loss, and loss of earning capacity, offset by any collateral source payment paid or payable. In any tort action brought against such an eligible lead community-based provider, noneconomic damages shall be limited to $200,000 per claim. A claims bill may be brought on behalf of a claimant pursuant to s. 768.28 for any amount exceeding the limits specified in this paragraph. Any offset of collateral source payments made as of the date of the settlement or judgment shall be in accordance with s. 768.76. The lead community-based provider shall not be liable in tort for the acts or omissions of its subcontractors or the officers, agents, or employees of its subcontractors.
(i) The liability of an eligible lead community-based provider described in this section shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability of such provider. The same immunities from liability enjoyed by such providers shall extend as well to each employee of the provider when such employee is acting in furtherance of the provider’s business, including the transportation of clients served, as described in this subsection, in privately owned vehicles. Such immunities shall not be applicable to a provider or an employee who acts in a culpably negligent manner or with willful and wanton disregard or unprovoked physical aggression when such acts result in injury or death or such acts proximately cause such injury or death; nor shall such immunities be applicable to employees of the same provider when each is operating in the furtherance of the provider’s business, but they are assigned primarily to unrelated works within private or public employment. The same immunity provisions enjoyed by a provider shall also apply to any sole proprietor, partner, corporate officer or director, supervisor, or other person who in the course and scope of his or her duties acts in a managerial or policymaking capacity and the conduct that caused the alleged injury arose within the course and scope of those managerial or policymaking duties. Culpable negligence is defined as reckless indifference or grossly careless disregard of human life.
(j) Any subcontractor of an eligible lead community-based provider, as defined in paragraph (e), which is a direct provider of foster care and related services to children and families, and its employees or officers, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (i), must, as a part of its contract, obtain a minimum of $1 million per claim/$3 million per incident in general liability insurance coverage. The subcontractor of an eligible lead community-based provider must also require that staff who transport client children and families in their personal automobiles in order to carry out their job responsibilities obtain minimum bodily injury liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 per claim, $300,000 per incident, on their personal automobiles. In lieu of personal motor vehicle insurance, the subcontractor’s casualty, liability, or motor vehicle insurance carrier may provide nonowned automobile liability coverage. This insurance provides liability insurance for automobiles that the subcontractor uses in connection with the subcontractor’s business but does not own, lease, rent, or borrow. This coverage includes automobiles owned by the employees of the subcontractor or a member of the employee’s household but only while the automobiles are used in connection with the subcontractor’s business. The nonowned automobile coverage for the subcontractor applies as excess coverage over any other collectible insurance. The personal automobile policy for the employee of the subcontractor shall be primary insurance, and the nonowned automobile coverage of the subcontractor acts as excess insurance to the primary insurance. The subcontractor shall provide a minimum limit of $1 million in nonowned automobile coverage. In any tort action brought against such subcontractor or employee, net economic damages shall be limited to $1 million per liability claim and $100,000 per automobile claim, including, but not limited to, past and future medical expenses, wage loss, and loss of earning capacity, offset by any collateral source payment paid or payable. In any tort action brought against such subcontractor, noneconomic damages shall be limited to $200,000 per claim. A claims bill may be brought on behalf of a claimant pursuant to s. 768.28 for any amount exceeding the limits specified in this paragraph. Any offset of collateral source payments made as of the date of the settlement or judgment shall be in accordance with s. 768.76.
(k) The liability of a subcontractor of an eligible lead community-based provider that is a direct provider of foster care and related services as described in this section shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability of such provider. The same immunities from liability enjoyed by such subcontractor provider shall extend as well to each employee of the subcontractor when such employee is acting in furtherance of the subcontractor’s business, including the transportation of clients served, as described in this subsection, in privately owned vehicles. Such immunities shall not be applicable to a subcontractor or an employee who acts in a culpably negligent manner or with willful and wanton disregard or unprovoked physical aggression when such acts result in injury or death or such acts proximately cause such injury or death; nor shall such immunities be applicable to employees of the same subcontractor when each is operating in the furtherance of the subcontractor’s business, but they are assigned primarily to unrelated works within private or public employment. The same immunity provisions enjoyed by a subcontractor shall also apply to any sole proprietor, partner, corporate officer or director, supervisor, or other person who in the course and scope of his or her duties acts in a managerial or policymaking capacity and the conduct that caused the alleged injury arose within the course and scope of those managerial or policymaking duties. Culpable negligence is defined as reckless indifference or grossly careless disregard of human life.
(l) The Legislature is cognizant of the increasing costs of goods and services each year and recognizes that fixing a set amount of compensation actually has the effect of a reduction in compensation each year. Accordingly, the conditional limitations on damages in this section shall be increased at the rate of 5 percent each year, prorated from the effective date of this paragraph to the date at which damages subject to such limitations are awarded by final judgment or settlement.
(2)(a) The department may contract for the delivery, administration, or management of protective services, the services specified in subsection (1) relating to foster care, and other related services or programs, as appropriate. The department shall retain responsibility for the quality of contracted services and programs and shall ensure that services are delivered in accordance with applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The department must adopt written policies and procedures for monitoring the contract for delivery of services by lead community-based providers. These policies and procedures must, at a minimum, address the evaluation of fiscal accountability and program operations, including provider achievement of performance standards, provider monitoring of subcontractors, and timely followup of corrective actions for significant monitoring findings related to providers and subcontractors. These policies and procedures must also include provisions for reducing the duplication of the department’s program monitoring activities both internally and with other agencies, to the extent possible. The department’s written procedures must ensure that the written findings, conclusions, and recommendations from monitoring the contract for services of lead community-based providers are communicated to the director of the provider agency as expeditiously as possible.
(b) Persons employed by the department in the provision of foster care and related services whose positions are being outsourced under this statute shall be given hiring preference by the provider, if provider qualifications are met.
(3)(a) In order to help ensure a seamless child protection system, the department shall ensure that contracts entered into with community-based agencies pursuant to this section include provisions for a case-transfer process to determine the date that the community-based agency will initiate the appropriate services for a child and family. This case-transfer process must clearly identify the closure of the protective investigation and the initiation of service provision. At the point of case transfer, and at the conclusion of an investigation, the department must provide a complete summary of the findings of the investigation to the community-based agency.
(b) The contracts must also ensure that each community-based agency shall furnish information on its activities in all cases in client case records.
(c) The contract between the department and community-based agencies must include provisions that specify the procedures to be used by the parties to resolve differences in interpreting the contract or to resolve disputes as to the adequacy of the parties’ compliance with their respective obligations under the contract.
(d) Each contract with an eligible lead community-based provider shall provide for the payment by the department to the provider of a reasonable administrative cost in addition to funding for the provision of services.
(e) Each contract with an eligible lead community-based provider must include all performance outcome measures established by the Legislature and that are under the control of the lead agency. The standards must be adjusted annually by contract amendment to enable the department to meet the legislatively established statewide standards.
(4)(a) The department, in consultation with the community-based agencies that are undertaking the outsourced projects, shall establish a quality assurance program for privatized services. The quality assurance program shall be based on standards established by the Adoption and Safe Families Act as well as by a national accrediting organization such as the Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc. (COA) or CARF—the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission. Each program operated under contract with a community-based agency must be evaluated annually by the department. The department shall, to the extent possible, use independent financial audits provided by the community-based care agency to eliminate or reduce the ongoing contract and administrative reviews conducted by the department. The department may suggest additional items to be included in such independent financial audits to meet the department’s needs. Should the department determine that such independent financial audits are inadequate, then other audits, as necessary, may be conducted by the department. Nothing herein shall abrogate the requirements of s. 215.97. The department shall submit an annual report regarding quality performance, outcome measure attainment, and cost efficiency to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of each house of the Legislature, and the Governor no later than January 31 of each year for each project in operation during the preceding fiscal year.
(b) The department shall use these findings in making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature for future program and funding priorities in the child welfare system.
(5)(a) The community-based agency must comply with statutory requirements and agency rules in the provision of contractual services. Each foster home, therapeutic foster home, emergency shelter, or other placement facility operated by the community-based agency or agencies must be licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services under chapter 402 or this chapter. Each community-based agency must be licensed as a child-caring or child-placing agency by the department under this chapter. The department, in order to eliminate or reduce the number of duplicate inspections by various program offices, shall coordinate inspections required pursuant to licensure of agencies under this section.
(b) Substitute care providers who are licensed under s. 409.175 and have contracted with a lead agency authorized under this section shall also be authorized to provide registered or licensed family day care under s. 402.313, if consistent with federal law and if the home has met the requirements of s. 402.313.
(c) A foster home licensed under s. 409.175 may be dually licensed as a child care home under chapter 402 and may receive a foster care maintenance payment and, to the extent permitted under federal law, school readiness funding for the same child. The department may adopt rules necessary to administer this paragraph.
(6) Beginning January 1, 1999, and continuing at least through June 30, 2000, the Department of Children and Family Services shall outsource all foster care and related services in district 5 while continuing to contract with the current model programs in districts 1, 4, and 13, and in subdistrict 8A, and shall expand the subdistrict 8A pilot program to incorporate Manatee County. Planning for the district 5 outsourcing shall be done by providers that are currently under contract with the department for foster care and related services and shall be done in consultation with the department. A lead provider of the district 5 program shall be competitively selected, must demonstrate the ability to provide necessary comprehensive services through a local network of providers, and must meet criteria established in this section. Contracts with organizations responsible for the model programs must include the management and administration of all outsourced services specified in subsection (1). However, the department may use funds for contract management only after obtaining written approval from the Executive Office of the Governor. The request for such approval must include, but is not limited to, a statement of the proposed amount of such funds and a description of the manner in which such funds will be used. If the community-based organization selected for a model program under this subsection is not a Medicaid provider, the organization shall be issued a Medicaid provider number pursuant to s. 409.907 for the provision of services currently authorized under the state Medicaid plan to those children encompassed in this model and in a manner not to exceed the current level of state expenditure.
(7)(a) The department, in consultation with the Florida Coalition for Children, Inc., shall develop and implement a community-based care risk pool initiative to mitigate the financial risk to eligible lead community-based providers. This initiative shall include:
1. A risk pool application and protocol developed by the department that outline submission criteria, including, but not limited to, financial and program management, descriptive data requirements, and timeframes for submission of applications. Requests for funding from risk pool applicants shall be based on relevant and verifiable service trends and changes that have occurred during the current fiscal year. The application shall confirm that expenditure of approved risk pool funds by the lead community-based provider shall be completed within the current fiscal year.
2. A risk pool peer review committee, appointed by the secretary and consisting of department staff and representatives from at least three nonapplicant community-based care providers, that reviews and assesses all risk pool applications. Upon completion of each application review, the peer review committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the secretary providing, at a minimum, the following information:
a. Justification for the specific funding amount required by the risk pool applicant based on current year service trend data, including validation that the applicant’s financial need was caused by circumstances beyond the control of the lead agency management;
b. Verification that the proposed use of risk pool funds meets at least one of the criteria in paragraph (c); and
c. Evidence of technical assistance provided in an effort to avoid the need to access the risk pool and recommendations for technical assistance to the lead agency to ensure that risk pool funds are expended effectively and that the agency’s need for future risk pool funding is diminished.
(b) Upon approval by the secretary of a risk pool application, the department may request funds from the risk pool in accordance with s. 216.181(6)(a).
(c) The purposes for which the community-based care risk pool shall be used include:
1. Significant changes in the number or composition of clients eligible to receive services.
2. Significant changes in the services that are eligible for reimbursement.
3. Continuity of care in the event of failure, discontinuance of service, or financial misconduct by a lead agency.
4. Significant changes in the mix of available funds.
(d) The department may also request in its annual legislative budget request, and the Governor may recommend, that the funding necessary to carry out paragraph (c) be appropriated to the department. In addition, the department may request the allocation of funds from the community-based care risk pool in accordance with s. 216.181(6)(a). Funds from this pool may be used to match available federal dollars.
1. Such funds shall constitute partial security for contract performance by lead agencies and shall be used to offset the need for a performance bond.
2. The department may separately require a bond to mitigate the financial consequences of potential acts of malfeasance, misfeasance, or criminal violations by the provider.
(e) The department may issue an interest-free loan to the Florida Coalition for Children, Inc., for the purpose of creating a self-insurance program pursuant to law. The loan shall be secured by the cumulative contractual revenue of the community-based care lead agencies participating in the self-insurance program. The amount of the loan shall be in an amount equal to the amount appropriated by the Legislature for this purpose. The terms of the repayment of the loan shall be based on the economic viability of the self-insurance program.
(8) A contract established between the department and a community-based care lead agency under this section must be funded by a grant of general revenue, other applicable state funds, or applicable federal funding sources. A community-based care lead agency may carry forward documented unexpended state funds from one fiscal year to the next; however, the cumulative amount carried forward may not exceed 8 percent of the total contract. Any unexpended state funds in excess of that percentage must be returned to the department. The funds carried forward may not be used in any way that would create increased recurring future obligations, and such funds may not be used for any type of program or service that is not currently authorized by the existing contract with the department. Expenditures of funds carried forward must be separately reported to the department. Any unexpended funds that remain at the end of the contract period shall be returned to the department. Funds carried forward may be retained through any contract renewals and any new procurements as long as the same community-based care lead agency is retained by the department.
(9) The method of payment for a fixed-price contract with a community-based care lead agency shall provide for a 2-month advance payment at the beginning of each fiscal year and equal monthly payments thereafter.
(10) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 215.425, all documented federal funds earned for the current fiscal year by the department and community-based agencies which exceed the amount appropriated by the Legislature shall be distributed to all entities that contributed to the excess earnings based on a schedule and methodology developed by the department and approved by the Executive Office of the Governor. Distribution shall be pro rata based on total earnings and shall be made only to those entities that contributed to excess earnings. Excess earnings of community-based agencies shall be used only in the service district in which they were earned. Additional state funds appropriated by the Legislature for community-based agencies or made available pursuant to the budgetary amendment process described in s. 216.177 shall be transferred to the community-based agencies. The department shall amend a community-based agency’s contract to permit expenditure of the funds.
(11) Notwithstanding subsection (10), the amount of the annual contract for a community-based care lead agency may be increased by excess federal funds earned in accordance with s. 216.181(11).
(12) The department may outsource programmatic, administrative, or fiscal monitoring oversight of community-based care lead agencies.
(13) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a community-based care lead agency may make expenditures for staff cellular telephone allowances, contracts requiring deferred payments and maintenance agreements, security deposits for office leases, related agency professional membership dues other than personal professional membership dues, promotional materials, and grant writing services. Expenditures for food and refreshments, other than those provided to clients in the care of the agency or to foster parents, adoptive parents, and caseworkers during training sessions, are not allowable.
(14) Each district and subdistrict that participates in the model program effort or any future outsourcing effort as described in this section must thoroughly analyze and report the complete direct and indirect costs of delivering these services through the department and the full cost of outsourcing, including the cost of monitoring and evaluating the contracted services.
(15) The lead community-based providers and their subcontractors shall be exempt from state travel policies as set forth in s. 112.061(3)(a) for their travel expenses incurred in order to comply with the requirements of this section.
(16) A lead community-based provider and its subcontractors are exempt from including in written contracts and other written documents the statement “sponsored by the State of Florida” or the logo of the Department of Children and Family Services, otherwise required in s. 286.25, unless the lead community-based provider or its subcontractors receive more than 35 percent of their total funding from the state.
History.s. 49, ch. 94-164; s. 5, ch. 96-402; s. 193, ch. 97-101; s. 1, ch. 98-180; s. 14, ch. 99-168; s. 2, ch. 99-206; s. 9, ch. 2000-139; s. 10, ch. 2000-217; s. 4, ch. 2001-68; s. 8, ch. 2001-191; s. 4, ch. 2002-219; s. 17, ch. 2002-402; s. 7, ch. 2003-146; ss. 26, 27, ch. 2003-399; s. 49, ch. 2004-5; s. 12, ch. 2004-6; ss. 6, 7, 76, ch. 2004-269; s. 2, ch. 2004-356; s. 1, ch. 2005-105; s. 3, ch. 2005-222; s. 1, ch. 2006-30; s. 19, ch. 2008-245; s. 6, ch. 2010-158; s. 16, ch. 2010-210.
409.16715 Therapy treatments designed to mitigate out-of-home placement for dependent children.The Department of Children and Family Services may serve dependent children deemed to be in need of family-centered, cognitive-behavioral interventions designed to mitigate out-of-home placements. Treatment services may be evidenced-based with family therapy and group therapy components for youth for whom these services are appropriate. Dependent youth at risk of out-of-home placement or currently within the foster care system are eligible for these family therapy and group therapy services. The services shall be provided as an alternative to specialized therapeutic foster or group care. A child who has been adjudicated delinquent, had adjudication withheld, or committed any violent crime, except for females adjudicated delinquent for domestic violence, any first-degree felony, or any felony direct-filed in adult court, may not be served by the program. The department and each participating dependency court may jointly develop eligibility criteria to identify youth appropriate for services in this program.
History.s. 8, ch. 2010-158.
409.1672 Incentives for department employees.In order to promote accomplishing the goal of family preservation, family reunification, or permanent placement of a child in an adoptive home, the department may, pursuant to s. 110, chapter 92-142, Laws of Florida, or subsequent legislative authority and within existing resources, develop monetary performance incentives such as bonuses, salary increases, and educational enhancements for department employees engaged in positions and activities related to the child welfare system under chapter 39 or this chapter who demonstrate outstanding work in these areas.
History.s. 50, ch. 94-164; s. 146, ch. 98-403.
409.1673 Legislative findings; alternate care plans.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.The Legislature finds that:
(a)1. The traditional foster care system often fails to meet the needs of children in the legal custody of the department.
2. Increasingly, the shelter care, foster care, and residential group care populations include a high proportion of children who are difficult to serve, including a large number of adolescents, emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children, children with delinquency or substance abuse histories, and younger children with serious medical and developmental disabilities.
3. The foster care system includes a larger pool of older children who have more complicated problems and who have been in care for long periods of time and are not faring well in care.
4. Alternate care placements for adolescents are often inadequate or inappropriate, and services are inadequate to prepare them for independent living.
5. There is a lack of permanent adoptive homes for older and disabled children.
(b) Adolescents are often inappropriately and repeatedly placed in the foster care system, typically spend long periods in alternate care, lack a stable environment, and exhibit behavior problems such as truancy, delinquency, and physical or sexual abuse.
(c) The placement of some dependent children in inpatient residential psychiatric treatment and the juvenile justice system could be avoided if comprehensive residential and therapeutic services options were available.
(d) The child welfare system consists of a disjointed array of independent assessment, protection, and treatment services within each district, which makes it difficult to systematically assess, plan, and provide for the needs of dependent children who require alternate care.
(e) A lack of collaboration exists among programs of the department and other agencies regarding the assessment, case planning, and provision of services to dependent children who may require removal or who have been removed from their homes.
(f) It is necessary to promote the design and operation of an objective assessment and case planning process; to develop a community continuum of service for children in the custody of the department who require alternate care under chapter 39 or this chapter by ensuring that alternate care placements are based on the needs of the child and the family; and to encourage innovation in significantly restructuring local alternate care systems to be more flexible and efficient in providing protection and treatment services for dependent children.
(2) ALTERNATE CARE PLANS.
(a) The department must, in a collaborative partnership with community service providers, annually develop and administer an objective plan with respect to services for dependent children. The district’s community service providers must annually develop and submit to the district administrator by March 31, 1995, and by March 31 of each succeeding year, an alternate care plan that specifies the assessment and case planning process and prescribes the services needed to ensure the most appropriate alternate care placement for dependent children who must be placed outside their homes. As used in this section, the term “assessment” means the evaluation of a child’s physical, psychological, educational, vocational, and social condition and the child’s family environment as they relate to the child’s need for rehabilitative and treatment services, including substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, developmental services, educational and remedial literacy services, medical services, family services, and other specialized services.
(b) The plan must be developed by the department in collaboration with community service providers, foster parent providers, licensed residential child care providers, mental health providers, parents and guardians, child care providers, school system representatives, juvenile justice council members, and other community representatives, and must be approved by the district administrator. The plan must be approved prior to the beginning of each fiscal year for use in preparing the legislative budget request for the following fiscal year.
(c) By September 1995, the department must develop a uniform statewide reimbursement schedule for providers, which must be based on the range, complexity, and quality of services provided and the assessed needs of the children.
(3) PLAN REQUIREMENTS.Each district’s alternate care plan for assessment, case planning, and placement must include:
(a) An objective process for determining the most appropriate type of alternate placement for dependent children which specifies the goals for the child and family and objectives and procedures for assessment, case planning, service plan monitoring, case management services, client advocacy, family involvement, discharge planning, and cost-sharing strategies.
(b) A defined range of services, from the least expensive, least restrictive setting to the most costly, most restrictive inpatient setting, including, but not limited to, family preservation services; family foster homes; therapeutic and medical foster homes; outpatient day programs and specialized treatment programs; residential child care programs; inpatient residential treatment facilities; and psychiatric hospitals.
(c) A protocol for ensuring interagency collaboration and appropriate service delivery based on the needs of dependent children and their families, including a review of existing assessments and services within the department and among other agencies to avoid unnecessary examinations.
(d) An analysis of existing alternate care placement options and evidence of planned activities to ensure that a full array of settings is available, including written agreements with providers that specify their capacity and entrance and exit criteria.
(e) A means of diverting children, where appropriate, from costly restrictive institutional placements into care and treatment programs within the community which includes plans for differentiated levels of treatment services.
(f) A compilation of data on the characteristics of dependent children within the district, an analysis of anticipated alternate care services and placements which delineates the ages and profiles of the children, a description of service and placement alternatives needed, a determination of the number and type of placements available, and a method for identifying gaps in services.
(g) Procedures for training and quality assurance.
(h) The identification of flexible funding opportunities and methods of maximizing resources within the department as well as community agencies.
(i) The delineation of budget expenditures for alternate care services.
(j) Any recommendations for proposed changes to fiscal and substantive policies at the local, district, and state delivery levels.
(4) PLAN OUTCOMES.The findings and recommendations of the plan will be used to identify the appropriate intervention services, to determine alternate care placement decisions best suited to the needs of the child and family, and to prepare reports. The plan must include provisions for reviewing cases in which the resulting placement of the child or the services provided are ineffective.
History.s. 51, ch. 94-164; s. 45, ch. 99-5; s. 63, ch. 2000-139.
409.16745 Community partnership matching grant program.It is the intent of the Legislature to improve services and local participation in community-based care initiatives by fostering community support and providing enhanced prevention and in-home services, thereby reducing the risk otherwise faced by lead agencies. There is established a community partnership matching grant program to be operated by the Department of Children and Family Services for the purpose of encouraging local participation in community-based care for child welfare. Any children’s services council or other local government entity that makes a financial commitment to a community-based care lead agency is eligible for a grant upon proof that the children’s services council or local government entity has provided the selected lead agency at least $250,000 from any local resources otherwise available to it. The total amount of local contribution may be matched on a two-for-one basis up to a maximum amount of $2 million per council or local government entity. Awarded matching grant funds may be used for any prevention or in-home services provided by the children’s services council or other local government entity that meets temporary-assistance-for-needy-families’ eligibility requirements and can be reasonably expected to reduce the number of children entering the child welfare system. Funding available for the matching grant program is subject to legislative appropriation of nonrecurring funds provided for the purpose.
History.s. 2, ch. 2001-232; s. 5, ch. 2002-397; s. 8, ch. 2003-146; s. 53, ch. 2005-152.
409.1675 Lead community-based providers; receivership.
(1) The Department of Children and Family Services may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for the appointment of a receiver for a lead community-based provider established pursuant to s. 409.1671 when any of the following conditions exist:
(a) The lead community-based provider is operating without a license as a child-placing agency.
(b) The lead community-based provider has given less than 120 days’ notice of its intent to cease operations, and arrangements have not been made for another lead community-based provider or for the department to continue the uninterrupted provision of services.
(c) The department determines that conditions exist in the lead community-based provider which present an imminent danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the dependent children under that provider’s care or supervision. Whenever possible, the department shall make a reasonable effort to facilitate the continued operation of the program.
(d) The lead community-based provider cannot meet its current financial obligations to its employees, contractors, or foster parents. Issuance of bad checks or the existence of delinquent obligations for payment of salaries, utilities, or invoices for essential services or commodities shall constitute prima facie evidence that the lead community-based provider lacks the financial ability to meet its financial obligations.
(2)(a) The petition for receivership shall take precedence over other court business unless the court determines that some other pending proceeding, having statutory precedence, has priority.
(b) A hearing shall be conducted within 5 days after the filing of the petition, at which time interested parties shall have the opportunity to present evidence as to whether a receiver should be appointed. The department shall give reasonable notice of the hearing on the petition to the lead community-based provider.
(c) The court shall grant the petition upon finding that one or more of the conditions in subsection (1) exists and the continued existence of the condition or conditions jeopardizes the health, safety, or welfare of dependent children. A receiver may be appointed ex parte when the court determines that one or more of the conditions in subsection (1) exists. After such finding, the court may appoint any person, including an employee of the department who is qualified by education, training, or experience to carry out the duties of the receiver pursuant to this section, except that the court shall not appoint any member of the governing board or any officer of the lead community-based provider. The receiver may be selected from a list of persons qualified to act as receivers which is developed by the department and presented to the court with each petition of receivership.
(d) A receiver may be appointed for up to 90 days, and the department may petition the court for additional 30-day extensions. Sixty days after appointment of a receiver and every 30 days thereafter until the receivership is terminated, the department shall submit to the court an assessment of the lead community-based provider’s ability to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the dependent children under its supervision.
(3) The receiver shall take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure the continued health, safety, and welfare of the dependent children under the supervision of the lead community-based provider and shall exercise those powers and perform those duties set out by the court, including, but not limited to:
(a) Taking such action as is reasonably necessary to protect or conserve the assets or property of the lead community-based provider. The receiver may use the assets and property and any proceeds from any transfer thereof only in the performance of the powers and duties set forth in this section and by order of the court.
(b) Using the assets of the lead community-based provider in the provision of care and services to dependent children.
(c) Entering into contracts and hiring agents and employees to carry out the powers and duties of the receiver under this section.
(d) Having full power to direct, manage, hire, and discharge employees of the lead community-based provider. The receiver shall hire and pay new employees at the rate of compensation, including benefits, approved by the court.
(e) Honoring all leases, mortgages, and contractual obligations of the lead community-based provider, but only to the extent of payments that become due during the period of the receivership.
(4)(a) The receiver shall deposit funds received in a separate account and shall use this account for all disbursements.
(b) A payment to the receiver of any sum owing to the lead community-based provider shall discharge any obligation to the provider to the extent of the payment.
(5) A receiver may petition the court for temporary relief from obligations entered into by the lead community-based provider if the rent, price, or rate of interest required to be paid under the agreement was substantially in excess of a reasonable rent, price, or rate of interest at the time the contract was entered into, or if any material provision of the agreement was unreasonable when compared to contracts negotiated under similar conditions. Any relief in this form provided by the court shall be limited to the life of the receivership, unless otherwise determined by the court.
(6) The court shall set the compensation of the receiver, which shall be considered a necessary expense of a receivership and may grant to the receiver such other authority necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the children served.
(7) A receiver may be held liable in a personal capacity only for the receiver’s own gross negligence, intentional acts, or breaches of fiduciary duty. This section shall not be interpreted to be a waiver of sovereign immunity should the department be appointed receiver.
(8) If the receiver is not the department, the court may require a receiver to post a bond to ensure the faithful performance of these duties.
(9) The court may terminate a receivership when:
(a) The court determines that the receivership is no longer necessary because the conditions that gave rise to the receivership no longer exist; or
(b) The department has entered into a contract with a new lead community-based provider pursuant to s. 409.1671, and that contractor is ready and able to assume the duties of the previous provider.
(10) Within 30 days after the termination, unless this time period is extended by the court, the receiver shall give the court a complete accounting of all property of which the receiver has taken possession, of all funds collected and disbursed, and of the expenses of the receivership.
(11) Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve any employee of the lead community-based provider placed in receivership of any civil or criminal liability incurred, or any duty imposed by law, by reason of acts or omissions of the employee prior to the appointment of a receiver; nor shall anything contained in this section be construed to suspend during the receivership any obligation of the employee for payment of taxes or other operating or maintenance expenses of the lead community-based provider or for the payment of mortgages or liens. The lead community-based provider shall retain the right to sell or mortgage any facility under receivership, subject to the prior approval of the court that ordered the receivership.
History.s. 10, ch. 2000-139.
409.1676 Comprehensive residential group care services to children who have extraordinary needs.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide comprehensive residential group care services, including residential care, case management, and other services, to children in the child protection system who have extraordinary needs. These services are to be provided in a residential group care setting by a not-for-profit corporation or a local government entity under a contract with the Department of Children and Family Services or by a lead agency as described in s. 409.1671. These contracts should be designed to provide an identified number of children with access to a full array of services for a fixed price. Further, it is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Juvenile Justice establish an interagency agreement by December 1, 2002, which describes respective agency responsibilities for referral, placement, service provision, and service coordination for dependent and delinquent youth who are referred to these residential group care facilities. The agreement must require interagency collaboration in the development of terms, conditions, and performance outcomes for residential group care contracts serving the youth referred who have been adjudicated both dependent and delinquent.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Child with extraordinary needs” means a dependent child who has serious behavioral problems or who has been determined to be without the options of either reunification with family or adoption.
(b) “Residential group care” means a living environment for children who have been adjudicated dependent and are expected to be in foster care for at least 6 months with 24-hour-awake staff or live-in group home parents or staff. Each facility must be appropriately licensed in this state as a residential child caring agency as defined in s. 409.175(2)(j) and must be accredited by July 1, 2005. A residential group care facility serving children having a serious behavioral problem as defined in this section must have available staff or contract personnel with the clinical expertise, credentials, and training to provide services identified in subsection (4).
(c) “Serious behavioral problems” means behaviors of children who have been assessed by a licensed master’s-level human-services professional to need at a minimum intensive services but who do not meet the criteria of s. 394.492(7). A child with an emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(5) or (6) may be served in residential group care unless a determination is made by a mental health professional that such a setting is inappropriate. A child having a serious behavioral problem must have been determined in the assessment to have at least one of the following risk factors:
1. An adjudication of delinquency and be on conditional release status with the Department of Juvenile Justice.
2. A history of physical aggression or violent behavior toward self or others, animals, or property within the past year.
3. A history of setting fires within the past year.
4. A history of multiple episodes of running away from home or placements within the past year.
5. A history of sexual aggression toward other youth.
(3) The department, in accordance with a specific appropriation for this program, shall contract with a not-for-profit corporation, a local government entity, or the lead agency that has been established in accordance with s. 409.1671 for the performance of residential group care services described in this section. A lead agency that is currently providing residential care may provide this service directly with the approval of the local community alliance. The department or a lead agency may contract for more than one site in a county if that is determined to be the most effective way to achieve the goals set forth in this section.
(4) The lead agency, the contracted not-for-profit corporation, or the local government entity is responsible for a comprehensive assessment, residential care, transportation, access to behavioral health services, recreational activities, clothing, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses associated with caring for these children; for necessary arrangement for or provision of educational services; and for assuring necessary and appropriate health and dental care.
(5) The department may transfer all casework responsibilities for children served under this program to the entity that provides this service, including case management and development and implementation of a case plan in accordance with current standards for child protection services. When the department establishes this program in a community that has a lead agency as described in s. 409.1671, the casework responsibilities must be transferred to the lead agency.
(6) This section does not prohibit any provider of these services from appropriately billing Medicaid for services rendered, from contracting with a local school district for educational services, or from earning federal or local funding for services provided, as long as two or more funding sources do not pay for the same specific service that has been provided to a child.
(7) The lead agency, not-for-profit corporation, or local government entity has the legal authority for children served under this program, as provided in chapter 39 or this chapter, as appropriate, to enroll the child in school, to sign for a driver’s license for the child, to cosign loans and insurance for the child, to sign for medical treatment, and to authorize other such activities.
(8) The department shall provide technical assistance as requested and contract management services.
(9) The provisions of this section shall be implemented to the extent of available appropriations contained in the annual General Appropriations Act for such purpose.
(10) The department may adopt rules necessary to administer this section.
History.s. 5, ch. 2001-68; s. 5, ch. 2002-219.
409.1677 Model comprehensive residential services programs.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Residential group care” means a living environment for children who have been adjudicated dependent and are expected to be in foster care for a minimum of 6 months with 24-hour-awake staff or live-in group home parents or staff. Beginning July 1, 2001, all facilities must be appropriately licensed in this state, and they must be accredited by July 1, 2005.
(b) “Serious behavioral problems” means behaviors of children who have been assessed by a licensed master’s-level human-services professional to need at a minimum intensive services but who do not meet the criteria of s. 394.492(6) or (7). A child with an emotional disturbance as defined in s. 394.492(5) may be served in residential group care unless a determination is made by a mental health professional that such a setting is inappropriate.
(2) The department shall establish a model comprehensive residential services program in Manatee and Miami-Dade Counties through a contract with the designated lead agency established in accordance with s. 409.1671 or with a private entity capable of providing residential group care and home-based care and experienced in the delivery of a range of services to foster children, if no lead agency exists. These model programs are to serve that portion of eligible children within each county which is specified in the contract, based on funds appropriated, to include a full array of services for a fixed price. The private entity or lead agency is responsible for all programmatic functions necessary to carry out the intent of this section.
(3) Each model must include:
(a) A focus on serving the full range of children in foster care, including those who have specialized needs, such as children who are unlikely to be reunited with their families or placed in adoptive homes; sibling groups; children who have serious behavioral problems; and children who are victims of sexual abuse.
(b) For each child who is in care, the provision of or arrangements for a comprehensive assessment; residential care; transportation; behavioral health services; recreational activities; clothing, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses associated with caring for these children; educational services; necessary and appropriate health and dental care; legal services; and aftercare services.
(c) A commitment and ability to find and use innovative approaches to address the problems in the traditional foster care system, such as high caregiver turnover, disrupted and multiple placements, runaway behavior, and abusive or nontherapeutic care.
(d) The provision of a full range of residential services tailored to the individual needs of each child in care, including group homes for initial assessment and for stabilization; professional and traditional foster homes; residential group care provided in a setting that is homelike and provides care in residences housing no more than 12 children and staffed with full-time, appropriately trained house parents; and independent living apartments. The programs are designed for children who must enter the foster care system, but the use of placement with relatives as part of a child’s care is encouraged.
(e) The provision of the full range of administrative services necessary to operate the program.
(f) Specific eligibility criteria established in the contract, including a “no-reject-no-eject” commitment with the described eligible children, unless the court determines that the placement is not in a child’s best interest.
(g) An ability, through its trained, multidisciplinary staff, to facilitate the achievement of the permanency goals of the children who are in care.
(h) The design and utilization of a retired-volunteer mentor program that would make use of the skills of retired individuals in helping to meet the needs of both the children in care and their caregivers.
(i) The willingness and ability to assume financial risk for the care of children referred to the program under the contract.
(j) The willingness and ability to serve as a research and teaching laboratory for departmental and community-based care programs throughout the state in an effort to improve the quality of foster care.
(4) This section does not prohibit any provider of these services from appropriately billing Medicaid for services rendered, from contracting with a local school district for educational services, or from earning federal or local funding for services provided, as long as two or more funding sources do not pay for the same specific service that has been provided to a child.
(5) The lead agency, not-for-profit corporation, or local government entity has the legal authority for children served under this program, as provided in chapter 39 or this chapter, as appropriate, to enroll the child in school, to sign for a driver’s license for the child, to cosign loans and insurance for the child, to sign for medical treatment, and to authorize other such activities.
(6) The department shall provide technical assistance as requested and contract management services.
(7) The provisions of this section shall be implemented to the extent of available appropriations contained in the annual General Appropriations Act for such purpose.
History.s. 6, ch. 2001-68; s. 113, ch. 2008-4.
409.1679 Additional requirements; reimbursement methodology.
(1) Each program established under ss. 409.1676 and 409.1677 must meet the following expectations, which must be included in its contracts with the department or lead agency:
(a) No more than 10 percent of the children served may move from one living environment to another, unless the child is returned to family members or is moved, in accordance with the treatment plan, to a less-restrictive setting. Each child must have a comprehensive transitional plan that identifies the child’s living arrangement upon leaving the program and specific steps and services that are being provided to prepare for that arrangement. Specific expectations as to the time period necessary for the achievement of these permanency goals must be included in the contract.
(b) Each child must receive a full academic year of appropriate educational instruction. No more than 10 percent of the children may be in more than one academic setting in an academic year, unless the child is being moved, in accordance with an educational plan, to a less-restrictive setting. Each child must demonstrate academic progress and must be performing at grade level or at a level commensurate with a valid academic assessment.
(c) Siblings must be kept together in the same living environment 100 percent of the time, unless that is determined by the provider not to be in the children’s best interest. When siblings are separated in placement, the decision must be reviewed and approved by the court within 30 days.
(d) The program must experience a caregiver turnover rate and an incidence of child runaway episodes which are at least 50 percent below the rates experienced in the rest of the state.
(e) In addition to providing a comprehensive assessment, the program must provide, 100 percent of the time, any or all of the following services that are indicated through the assessment: residential care; transportation; behavioral health services; recreational activities; clothing, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses associated with caring for these children; necessary arrangements for or provision of educational services; and necessary and appropriate health and dental care.
(f) The children who are served in this program must be satisfied with the services and living environment.
(g) The caregivers must be satisfied with the program.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 409.141, the Department of Children and Family Services shall fairly and reasonably reimburse the programs established under ss. 409.1676 and 409.1677 based on a prospective per diem rate, which must be specified annually in the General Appropriations Act. Funding for these programs shall be made available from resources appropriated and identified in the General Appropriations Act.
History.s. 7, ch. 2001-68; s. 120, ch. 2010-102.
409.1685 Children in foster care; annual report to Legislature.The Department of Children and Family Services shall submit a written report to the Governor and the Legislature concerning the status of children in foster care and the judicial review mandated by part X of chapter 39. The report shall be submitted by May 1 of each year and must include the following information for the prior calendar year:
(1) The number of 6-month and annual judicial reviews completed during that period.
(2) The number of children in foster care returned to a parent, guardian, or relative as a result of a 6-month or annual judicial review hearing during that period.
(3) The number of termination of parental rights proceedings instituted during that period, including:
(a) The number of termination of parental rights proceedings initiated pursuant to former s. 39.703; and
(b) The total number of terminations of parental rights ordered.
(4) The number of foster care children placed for adoption.
History.s. 1, ch. 80-175; s. 10, ch. 87-289; s. 19, ch. 95-144; s. 115, ch. 97-101; s. 38, ch. 98-280; s. 51, ch. 2000-153; s. 50, ch. 2001-62; s. 94, ch. 2007-5; s. 121, ch. 2010-102.
409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public records exemption.
(1)(a) The purpose of this section is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of all children in the state who are cared for by family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies by providing for the establishment of licensing requirements for such homes and agencies and providing procedures to determine adherence to these requirements.
(b) Nothing in this section gives any governmental agency jurisdiction or authority to regulate, control, or supervise the form, manner, or content of any religious curriculum or teachings of a family foster home or of a child-caring or child-placing agency, provided the health, safety, or well-being of the child is not adversely affected.
(2) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Agency” means a residential child-caring agency or a child-placing agency.
(b) “Boarding school” means a school which is accredited by the Florida Council of Independent Schools or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; which is accredited by the Council on Accreditation, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or the Coalition for Residential Education; and which is registered with the Department of Education as a school. Its program must follow established school schedules, with holiday breaks and summer recesses in accordance with other public and private school programs. The children in residence must customarily return to their family homes or legal guardians during school breaks and must not be in residence year-round, except that this provision does not apply to foreign students. The parents of these children retain custody and planning and financial responsibility. A boarding school currently in existence and a boarding school opening and seeking accreditation have 3 years to comply with the requirements of this paragraph. A boarding school must provide proof of accreditation or documentation of the accreditation process upon request. A boarding school that cannot produce the required documentation or that has not registered with the Department of Education shall be considered to be providing residential group care without a license. The department may impose administrative sanctions or seek civil remedies as provided under paragraph (11)(a).
(c) “Child” means any unmarried person under the age of 18 years.
(d) “Child-placing agency” means any person, corporation, or agency, public or private, other than the parent or legal guardian of the child or an intermediary acting pursuant to chapter 63, that receives a child for placement and places or arranges for the placement of a child in a family foster home, residential child-caring agency, or adoptive home.
(e) “Family foster home” means a private residence in which children who are unattended by a parent or legal guardian are provided 24-hour care. Such homes include emergency shelter family homes and specialized foster homes for children with special needs. A person who cares for a child of a friend for a period not to exceed 90 days, a relative who cares for a child and does not receive reimbursement for such care from the state or federal government, or an adoptive home which has been approved by the department or by a licensed child-placing agency for children placed for adoption is not considered a family foster home.
(f) “License” means “license” as defined in s. 120.52(10). A license under this section is issued to a family foster home or other facility and is not a professional license of any individual. Receipt of a license under this section shall not create a property right in the recipient. A license under this act is a public trust and a privilege, and is not an entitlement. This privilege must guide the finder of fact or trier of law at any administrative proceeding or court action initiated by the department.
(g) “Operator” means any onsite person ultimately responsible for the overall operation of a child-placing agency, family foster home, or residential child-caring agency, whether or not she or he is the owner or administrator of such an agency or home.
(h) “Owner” means the person who is licensed to operate the child-placing agency, family foster home, or residential child-caring agency.
1(i) “Personnel” means all owners, operators, employees, and volunteers working in a child-placing agency, family foster home, or residential child-caring agency who may be employed by or do volunteer work for a person, corporation, or agency that holds a license as a child-placing agency or a residential child-caring agency, but the term does not include those who do not work on the premises where child care is furnished and have no direct contact with a child or have no contact with a child outside of the presence of the child’s parent or guardian. For purposes of screening, the term includes any member, over the age of 12 years, of the family of the owner or operator or any person other than a client, over the age of 12 years, residing with the owner or operator if the agency or family foster home is located in or adjacent to the home of the owner or operator or if the family member of, or person residing with, the owner or operator has any direct contact with the children. Members of the family of the owner or operator, or persons residing with the owner or operator, who are between the ages of 12 years and 18 years are not required to be fingerprinted, but must be screened for delinquency records. For purposes of screening, the term also includes owners, operators, employees, and volunteers working in summer day camps, or summer 24-hour camps providing care for children. A volunteer who assists on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month shall not be included in the term “personnel” for the purposes of screening if a person who meets the screening requirement of this section is always present and has the volunteer in his or her line of sight.
(j) “Residential child-caring agency” means any person, corporation, or agency, public or private, other than the child’s parent or legal guardian, that provides staffed 24-hour care for children in facilities maintained for that purpose, regardless of whether operated for profit or whether a fee is charged. Such residential child-caring agencies include, but are not limited to, maternity homes, runaway shelters, group homes that are administered by an agency, emergency shelters that are not in private residences, and wilderness camps. Residential child-caring agencies do not include hospitals, boarding schools, summer or recreation camps, nursing homes, or facilities operated by a governmental agency for the training, treatment, or secure care of delinquent youth, or facilities licensed under s. 393.067 or s. 394.875 or chapter 397.
1(k) “Screening” means the act of assessing the background of personnel and includes, but is not limited to, employment history checks as provided in chapter 435, using the level 2 standards for screening set forth in that chapter.
(l) “Summer day camp” means recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated during summer vacations for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older.
(m) “Summer 24-hour camp” means recreational, educational, and other enrichment programs operated on a 24-hour basis during summer vacation for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1 and older, that are not exclusively educational.
(3)(a) The total number of children placed in each family foster home shall be based on the recommendation of the department, or the community-based care lead agency where one is providing foster care and related services, based on the needs of each child in care, the ability of the foster family to meet the individual needs of each child, including any adoptive or biological children living in the home, the amount of safe physical plant space, the ratio of active and appropriate adult supervision, and the background, experience, and skill of the family foster parents.
(b) If the total number of children in a family foster home will exceed five, including the family’s own children, an assessment of each child to be placed in the home must be completed by a family services counselor and approved in writing by the counselor’s supervisor prior to placement of any additional children in the home, except that, if the placement involves a child whose sibling is already in the home or a child who has been in placement in the home previously, the assessment must be completed within 72 hours after placement. The assessment must assess and document the mental, physical, and psychosocial needs of the child and recommend the maximum number of children in a family foster home that will allow the child’s needs to be met.
(c) For any licensed family foster home, the appropriateness of the number of children in the home must be reassessed annually as part of the relicensure process. For a home with more than five children, if it is determined by the licensure study at the time of relicensure that the total number of children in the home is appropriate and that there have been no substantive licensure violations and no indications of child maltreatment or child-on-child sexual abuse within the past 12 months, the relicensure of the home shall not be denied based on the total number of children in the home.
(4)(a) A person, family foster home, or residential child-caring agency may not provide continuing full-time child care or custody unless such person, home, or agency has first procured a license from the department to provide such care. This requirement does not apply to a person who is a relative of the child by blood, marriage, or adoption, a permanent guardian established under s. 39.6221, a licensed child-placing agency, or an intermediary for the purposes of adoption pursuant to chapter 63.
(b) A person or agency, other than a parent or legal guardian of the child or an intermediary as defined in s. 63.032, shall not place or arrange for the placement of a child in a family foster home, residential child-caring agency, or adoptive home unless such person or agency has first procured a license from the department to do so.
(c) A state, county, city, or political subdivision shall not operate a residential group care agency, or receive children for placement in residential group care facilities, family foster homes, or adoptive homes without a license issued pursuant to this section.
(d) This license requirement does not apply to boarding schools, recreation and summer camps, nursing homes, hospitals, or to persons who care for children of friends or neighbors in their homes for periods not to exceed 90 days or to persons who have received a child for adoption from a licensed child-placing agency.
(e) The department or licensed child-placing agency may place a 16-year-old child or 17-year-old child in her or his own unlicensed residence, or in the unlicensed residence of an adult who has no supervisory responsibility for the child, provided the department or licensed child-placing agency retains supervisory responsibility for the child.
(5)(a) The department shall adopt and amend licensing rules for family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies. The department may also adopt rules relating to the screening requirements for summer day camps and summer 24-hour camps. The requirements for licensure and operation of family foster homes, residential child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies shall include:
1. The operation, conduct, and maintenance of these homes and agencies and the responsibility which they assume for children served and the evidence of need for that service.
2. The provision of food, clothing, educational opportunities, services, equipment, and individual supplies to assure the healthy physical, emotional, and mental development of the children served.
3. The appropriateness, safety, cleanliness, and general adequacy of the premises, including fire prevention and health standards, to provide for the physical comfort, care, and well-being of the children served.
4. The ratio of staff to children required to provide adequate care and supervision of the children served and, in the case of foster homes, the maximum number of children in the home.
5. The good moral character based upon screening, education, training, and experience requirements for personnel.
6. The department may grant exemptions from disqualification from working with children or the developmentally disabled as provided in s. 435.07.
7. The provision of preservice and inservice training for all foster parents and agency staff.
8. Satisfactory evidence of financial ability to provide care for the children in compliance with licensing requirements.
9. The maintenance by the agency of records pertaining to admission, progress, health, and discharge of children served, including written case plans and reports to the department.
10. The provision for parental involvement to encourage preservation and strengthening of a child’s relationship with the family.
11. The transportation safety of children served.
12. The provisions for safeguarding the cultural, religious, and ethnic values of a child.
13. Provisions to safeguard the legal rights of children served.
(b) The requirements for the licensure and operation of a child-placing agency shall also include compliance with the requirements of ss. 63.0422 and 790.335.
1(c) The department shall randomly drug test a licensed foster parent if there is a reasonable suspicion that he or she is using illegal drugs. The cost of testing shall be paid by the foster parent but shall be reimbursed by the department if the test is negative. The department may adopt rules necessary to administer this paragraph.
(d) In promulgating licensing rules pursuant to this section, the department may make distinctions among types of care; numbers of children served; and the physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs of the children to be served by a home or agency.
(e) The department shall not adopt rules which interfere with the free exercise of religion or which regulate religious instruction or teachings in any child-caring or child-placing home or agency; however, nothing herein shall be construed to allow religious instruction or teachings that are inconsistent with the health, safety, or well-being of any child; with public morality; or with the religious freedom of children, parents, or legal guardians who place their children in such homes or agencies.
(f) The department’s rules shall include adoption of a form to be used by child-placing agencies during an adoption home study that requires all prospective adoptive applicants to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a document containing solely and exclusively the language provided for in s. 790.174 verbatim.
(6)(a) An application for a license shall be made on forms provided, and in the manner prescribed, by the department. The department shall make a determination as to the good moral character of the applicant based upon screening.
(b) Upon application, the department shall conduct a licensing study based on its licensing rules; shall inspect the home or the agency and the records, including financial records, of the agency; and shall interview the applicant. The department may authorize a licensed child-placing agency to conduct the licensing study of a family foster home to be used exclusively by that agency and to verify to the department that the home meets the licensing requirements established by the department. Upon certification by a licensed child-placing agency that a family foster home meets the licensing requirements, the department shall issue the license.
(c) A licensed family foster home, child-placing agency, or residential child-caring agency which applies for renewal of its license shall submit to the department a list of personnel who have worked on a continuous basis at the applicant family foster home or agency since submitting fingerprints to the department, identifying those for whom a written assurance of compliance was provided by the department and identifying those personnel who have recently begun working at the family foster home or agency and are awaiting the results of the required fingerprint check, along with the date of the submission of those fingerprints for processing. The department shall by rule determine the frequency of requests to the Department of Law Enforcement to run state criminal records checks for such personnel except for those personnel awaiting the results of initial fingerprint checks for employment at the applicant family foster home or agency.
(d)1. The department may pursue other remedies provided in this section in addition to denial or revocation of a license for failure to comply with the screening requirements. The disciplinary actions determination to be made by the department and the procedure for hearing for applicants and licensees shall be in accordance with chapter 120.
2. When the department has reasonable cause to believe that grounds for denial or termination of employment exist, it shall notify, in writing, the applicant, licensee, or summer or recreation camp, and the personnel affected, stating the specific record which indicates noncompliance with the screening requirements.
3. Procedures established for hearing under chapter 120 shall be available to the applicant, licensee, summer day camp, or summer 24-hour camp, and affected personnel, in order to present evidence relating either to the accuracy of the basis for exclusion or to the denial of an exemption from disqualification.
4. Refusal on the part of an applicant to dismiss personnel who have been found not to be in compliance with the requirements for good moral character of personnel shall result in automatic denial or revocation of license in addition to any other remedies provided in this section which may be pursued by the department.
(e) At the request of the department, the local county health department shall inspect a home or agency according to the licensing rules promulgated by the department. Inspection reports shall be furnished to the department within 30 days of the request. Such an inspection shall only be required when called for by the licensing agency.
(f) All residential child-caring agencies must meet firesafety standards for such agencies adopted by the Division of State Fire Marshal of the Department of Financial Services and must be inspected annually. At the request of the department, firesafety inspections shall be conducted by the Division of State Fire Marshal or a local fire department official who has been certified by the division as having completed the training requirements for persons inspecting such agencies. Inspection reports shall be furnished to the department within 30 days of a request.
(g) In the licensing process, the licensing staff of the department shall provide consultation on request.
(h) Upon determination that the applicant meets the state minimum licensing requirements, the department shall issue a license without charge to a specific person or agency at a specific location. A license may be issued if all the screening materials have been timely submitted; however, a license may not be issued or renewed if any person at the home or agency has failed the required screening. The license is nontransferable. A copy of the license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place. Except as provided in paragraph (j), the license is valid for 1 year from the date of issuance, unless the license is suspended or revoked by the department or is voluntarily surrendered by the licensee. The license is the property of the department.
(i) A license issued for the operation of a family foster home or agency, unless sooner suspended, revoked, or voluntarily returned, will expire automatically 1 year from the date of issuance except as provided in paragraph (j). Ninety days prior to the expiration date, an application for renewal shall be submitted to the department by a licensee who wishes to have the license renewed. A license shall be renewed upon the filing of an application on forms furnished by the department if the applicant has first met the requirements established under this section and the rules promulgated hereunder.
(j) Except for a family foster group home having a licensed capacity for more than five children, the department may issue a license that is valid for longer than 1 year but no longer than 3 years to a family foster home that:
1. Has maintained a license with the department as a family foster home for at least the 3 previous consecutive years;
2. Remains in good standing with the department; and
3. Has not been the subject of a report of child abuse or neglect with any findings of maltreatment.

A family foster home that has been issued a license valid for longer than 1 year must be monitored and visited as frequently as one that has been issued a 1-year license. The department reserves the right to reduce a licensure period to 1 year at any time.

(k) The department may not license summer day camps or summer 24-hour camps. However, the department shall have access to the personnel records of such facilities to ensure compliance with the screening requirements.
(7)(a) The department may issue a provisional license to an applicant who is unable to conform to the licensing requirements at the time of the study, but who is believed able to meet the licensing requirements within the time allowed by the provisional license. The issuance of a provisional license shall be contingent upon the submission to the department of an acceptable written plan to overcome the deficiency by the expiration date of the provisional license.
(b) A provisional license may be issued when the applicant fails to meet licensing requirements in matters that are not of immediate danger to the children and the agency has submitted a corrective action plan which is approved by the department. A provisional license may be issued if the screening material has been timely submitted; however, a provisional license may not be issued unless the applicant is in compliance with the requirements in this section for screening of personnel.
(c) A provisional license shall not be issued for a period in excess of 1 year and shall not be subject to renewal; and it may be suspended if periodic inspection by the department indicates that insufficient progress has been made toward compliance with the requirements.
(8)(a) Authorized licensing staff of the department who are qualified by training may make scheduled or unannounced inspections of a licensed home or agency at any reasonable time to investigate and evaluate the compliance of the home or agency with the licensing requirements. All licensed homes and agencies shall be inspected at least annually.
(b) The department shall investigate complaints to determine whether a home or agency is meeting the licensure requirements. The department shall advise the home or agency of the complaint and shall provide a written report of the results of the investigation to the licensee.
(9)(a) The department may deny, suspend, or revoke a license.
(b) Any of the following actions by a home or agency or its personnel is a ground for denial, suspension, or revocation of a license:
1. An intentional or negligent act materially affecting the health or safety of children in the home or agency.
2. A violation of the provisions of this section or of licensing rules promulgated pursuant to this section.
3. Noncompliance with the requirements for good moral character as specified in paragraph (5)(a).
4. Failure to dismiss personnel found in noncompliance with requirements for good moral character.
5. Failure to comply with the requirements of ss. 63.0422 and 790.335.
(10)(a) The department may institute injunctive proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction to:
1. Enforce the provisions of this section or any license requirement, rule, or order issued or entered into pursuant thereto; or
2. Terminate the operation of an agency in which any of the following conditions exist:
a. The licensee has failed to take preventive or corrective measures in accordance with any order of the department to maintain conformity with licensing requirements.
b. There is a violation of any of the provisions of this section, or of any licensing requirement promulgated pursuant to this section, which violation threatens harm to any child or which constitutes an emergency requiring immediate action.
3. Terminate the operation of a summer day camp or summer 24-hour camp providing care for children when such camp has willfully and knowingly refused to comply with the screening requirements for personnel or has refused to terminate the employment of personnel found to be in noncompliance with the requirements for good moral character as determined in paragraph (5)(a).
(b) If the department finds, within 30 days after written notification by registered mail of the requirement for licensure, that a person or agency continues to care for or to place children without a license or, within 30 days after written notification by registered mail of the requirement for screening of personnel and compliance with paragraph (5)(a) for the hiring and continued employment of personnel, that a summer day camp or summer 24-hour camp continues to provide care for children without complying, the department shall notify the appropriate state attorney of the violation of law and, if necessary, shall institute a civil suit to enjoin the person or agency from continuing the placement or care of children or to enjoin the summer day camp or summer 24-hour camp from continuing the care of children.
(c) Such injunctive relief may be temporary or permanent.
(11)(a) The department is authorized to seek compliance with the licensing requirements of this section to the fullest extent possible by reliance on administrative sanctions and civil actions.
(b) If the department determines that a person or agency is caring for a child or is placing a child without a valid license issued by the department or has made a willful or intentional misstatement on any license application or other document required to be filed in connection with an application for a license, the department, as an alternative to or in conjunction with an administrative action against such person or agency, shall make a reasonable attempt to discuss each violation with, and recommend corrective action to, the person or the administrator of the agency, prior to written notification thereof. The department, instead of fixing a period within which the person or agency must enter into compliance with the licensing requirements, may request a plan of corrective action from the person or agency that demonstrates a good faith effort to remedy each violation by a specific date, subject to the approval of the department.
(c) Any action taken to correct a violation shall be documented in writing by the person or administrator of the agency and verified through followup visits by licensing personnel of the department.
(d) If the person or agency has failed to remedy each violation by the specific date agreed upon with the department, the department shall within 30 days notify the person or agency by certified mail of its intention to refer the violation or violations to the office of the state attorney.
(e) If the person or agency fails to come into compliance with the licensing requirements within 30 days of written notification, it is the intent of the Legislature that the department within 30 days refer the violation or violations to the office of the state attorney.
(12)(a) It is unlawful for any person or agency to:
1. Provide continuing full-time care for or to receive or place a child apart from her or his parents in a residential group care facility, family foster home, or adoptive home without a valid license issued by the department if such license is required by subsection (5); or
2. Make a willful or intentional misstatement on any license application or other document required to be filed in connection with an application for a license.
(b) It is unlawful for any person, agency, summer day camp, or summer 24-hour camp providing care for children to:
1. Willfully or intentionally fail to comply with the requirements for the screening of personnel or the dismissal of personnel found not to be in compliance with the requirements for good moral character as specified in paragraph (5)(a).
2. Use information from the criminal records obtained under this section for any purpose other than screening a person for employment as specified in this section or to release such information to any other person for any purpose other than screening for employment as specified in this section.
(c) It is unlawful for any person, agency, summer day camp, or summer 24-hour camp providing care for children to use information from the juvenile records of any person obtained under this section for any purpose other than screening for employment as specified in this section or to release information from such records to any other person for any purpose other than screening for employment as specified in this section.
(d)1. A first violation of paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. A second or subsequent violation of paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
3. A violation of paragraph (c) is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(13) If the department finds that any violation of this section or the rules promulgated pursuant to this section places the children served by the person or agency in immediate danger, the department may take the resident children into custody and place them in the care of another family foster home or residential child-caring agency.
(14)(a) In order to provide improved services to children, the department shall provide or cause to be provided preservice training for prospective foster parents and emergency shelter parents and inservice training for foster parents and emergency shelter parents who are licensed and supervised by the department.
(b) As a condition of licensure, foster parents and emergency shelter parents shall successfully complete a minimum of 21 hours of preservice training. The preservice training shall be uniform statewide and shall include, but not be limited to, such areas as:
1. Orientation regarding agency purpose, objectives, resources, policies, and services;
2. Role of the foster parent and the emergency shelter parent as a treatment team member;
3. Transition of a child into and out of foster care and emergency shelter care, including issues of separation, loss, and attachment;
4. Management of difficult child behavior that can be intensified by placement, by prior abuse or neglect, and by prior placement disruptions;
5. Prevention of placement disruptions;
6. Care of children at various developmental levels, including appropriate discipline; and
7. Effects of foster parenting on the family of the foster parent and the emergency shelter parent.
(c) In consultation with foster parents, each district or lead agency shall develop a plan for making the completion of the required training as convenient as possible for potential foster parents and emergency-shelter parents. The plan should include, without limitation, such strategies as providing training in nontraditional locations and at nontraditional times. The plan must be revised at least annually and must be included in the information provided to each person applying to become a foster parent or emergency-shelter parent.
(d) Prior to licensure renewal, each foster parent and emergency shelter parent shall successfully complete 8 hours of inservice training. Periodic time-limited training courses shall be made available for selective use by foster parents and emergency shelter parents. Such inservice training shall include subjects affecting the daily living experiences of foster parenting as a foster parent or as an emergency shelter parent, whichever is appropriate. For a foster parent or emergency shelter parent participating in the required inservice training, the department shall reimburse such parent for travel expenditures and, if both parents in a home are attending training or if the absence of the parent would leave the children without departmentally approved adult supervision, either the department shall make provision for child care or shall reimburse the foster or emergency shelter parents for child care purchased by the parents for children in their care.
(15)(a) The Division of Risk Management of the Department of Financial Services shall provide coverage through the Department of Children and Family Services to any person who owns or operates a family foster home solely for the Department of Children and Family Services and who is licensed to provide family foster home care in her or his place of residence. The coverage shall be provided from the general liability account of the State Risk Management Trust Fund, and the coverage shall be primary. The coverage is limited to general liability claims arising from the provision of family foster home care pursuant to an agreement with the department and pursuant to guidelines established through policy, rule, or statute. Coverage shall be limited as provided in ss. 284.38 and 284.385, and the exclusions set forth therein, together with other exclusions as may be set forth in the certificate of coverage issued by the trust fund, shall apply. A person covered under the general liability account pursuant to this subsection shall immediately notify the Division of Risk Management of the Department of Financial Services of any potential or actual claim.
(b) This subsection may not be construed as designating or not designating that a person who owns or operates a family foster home as described in this subsection or any other person is an employee or agent of the state. Nothing in this subsection amends, expands, or supersedes the provisions of s. 768.28.
(16)(a)1. The following information held by the Department of Children and Family Services regarding a foster parent applicant and such applicant’s spouse, minor child, and other adult household member is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
a. The home, business, work, child care, or school addresses and telephone numbers;
b. Birth dates;
c. Medical records;
d. The floor plan of the home; and
e. Photographs of such persons.
2. If a foster parent applicant does not receive a foster parent license, the information made exempt pursuant to this paragraph shall become public 5 years after the date of application, except that medical records shall remain exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
3. This exemption applies to information made exempt by this paragraph before, on, or after the effective date of the exemption.
(b)1. The following information held by the Department of Children and Family Services regarding a licensed foster parent and the foster parent’s spouse, minor child, and other adult household member is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
a. The home, business, work, child care, or school addresses and telephone numbers;
b. Birth dates;
c. Medical records;
d. The floor plan of the home; and
e. Photographs of such persons.
2. If a foster parent’s license is no longer active, the information made exempt pursuant to this paragraph shall become public 5 years after the expiration date of such foster parent’s foster care license except that:
a. Medical records shall remain exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
b. Exempt information regarding a licensed foster parent who has become an adoptive parent and exempt information regarding such foster parent’s spouse, minor child, or other adult household member shall remain exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
3. This exemption applies to information made exempt by this paragraph before, on, or after the effective date of the exemption.
(c) The name, address, and telephone number of persons providing character or neighbor references regarding foster parent applicants or licensed foster parents held by the Department of Children and Family Services are exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
History.s. 1, ch. 69-268; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-255; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 276, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 7, ch. 78-433; s. 5, ch. 80-102; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 3, 5, ch. 83-250; ss. 1, 20, 21, ch. 84-311; s. 35, ch. 85-54; s. 28, ch. 87-238; s. 1, ch. 87-535; s. 41, ch. 88-337; s. 2, ch. 90-225; s. 42, ch. 90-306; s. 11, ch. 91-33; s. 29, ch. 91-57; s. 2, ch. 91-71; s. 56, ch. 91-220; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 29, ch. 93-39; s. 15, ch. 93-156; s. 23, ch. 94-134; s. 23, ch. 94-135; s. 19, ch. 95-152; s. 16, ch. 95-158; s. 42, ch. 95-228; s. 132, ch. 95-418; s. 13, ch. 96-268; s. 6, ch. 96-402; ss. 251, 252, ch. 96-406; s. 194, ch. 97-101; s. 1018, ch. 97-103; s. 1, ch. 98-29; s. 23, ch. 2000-122; s. 11, ch. 2000-217; s. 5, ch. 2000-265; ss. 97, 155, ch. 2000-349; s. 8, ch. 2001-68; s. 6, ch. 2002-219; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2003-83; s. 9, ch. 2003-146; s. 442, ch. 2003-261; s. 19, ch. 2004-267; s. 12, ch. 2006-194; s. 18, ch. 2008-104; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2008-169; s. 20, ch. 2008-245; s. 2, ch. 2010-6; s. 23, ch. 2010-114.
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.”
409.1753 Foster care; duties.The department shall ensure that, within each district, each foster home is given a telephone number for the foster parent to call during normal working hours whenever immediate assistance is needed and the child’s caseworker is unavailable. This number must be staffed and answered by individuals possessing the knowledge and authority necessary to assist foster parents.
History.s. 12, ch. 2000-217.
409.1755 One Church, One Child of Florida Corporation Act; creation; duties.
(1) SHORT TITLE.This section may be cited as the “One Church, One Child of Florida Corporation Act.”
(2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.The Legislature finds and declares that there is an increasing number of black children in foster care waiting to be adopted. Black children are disproportionately overrepresented in the foster care system and remain in foster care longer. A black child is more likely to be referred for neglect or abuse and remain in permanent custody of the state because he or she is less likely to be adopted. It is the intent of the Legislature that a nonprofit corporation, to be known as the “One Church, One Child of Florida Corporation,” be organized for the purpose of providing services to adoptable black children and increasing the child’s potential for placement in a permanent family home; participating in charitable work; involving persons with religious and clerical expertise; providing literacy and educational guidance; and promoting child welfare services to black children available for adoption.
(3) CORPORATION AUTHORIZATION; DUTIES; POWERS.
(a) There is hereby authorized the “One Church, One Child of Florida Corporation,” which shall operate as a not-for-profit corporation and shall be located within the Department of Children and Family Services for administrative purposes. The department shall provide administrative support and services to the corporation to the extent requested by the executive director and to the extent that resources are available.
(b) The corporation shall:
1. Provide for community awareness and involvement by utilizing the resources of black churches to help find permanent homes for black children available for adoption.
2. Develop, monitor, and evaluate projects designed to address problems associated with the child welfare system, especially those issues affecting black children.
3. Develop beneficial programs that shall include, but not be limited to, community education, cultural relations training, family support, transition support groups, counseling, parenting skills and education, legal and other adoption-related costs, and any other activities that will enhance and support the adopted child’s transition into permanency.
4. Provide training and technical assistance to community organizations such as black churches, social service agencies, and other organizations that assist in identifying prospective parents willing to adopt.
5. Provide, in conjunction with the Department of Children and Family Services, a summary to the Legislature by September 1 of each year on the status of the corporation.
6. Secure staff necessary to properly administer the corporation. Staff costs shall be funded from general revenue, grant funds, and state and private donations. The board of directors is authorized to determine the number of staff necessary to administer the corporation, but the staff shall include, at a minimum, an executive director and a staff assistant.
(c) The corporation shall have all powers necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes and provisions of this section, including, but not limited to, the power to receive and accept grants, loans, and advances of funds from any public or private agency for, or in aid of, the purposes of this section, and to receive and accept contributions from any source of money, property, labor, or any other thing of value, to be held, used, and applied for such purposes.
(4) BOARD OF DIRECTORS.
(a) The One Church, One Child of Florida Corporation shall operate subject to the supervision and approval of a board of directors consisting of 23 members, with two directors representing each service district of the Department of Children and Family Services and one director who shall be an at-large member.
(b) Each member of the board of directors shall be appointed by the Governor for a 3-year term. The board shall appoint the executive director, who shall be responsible for other staff as authorized by the board.
(c) If any member of the board is in violation of the provisions of this section or bylaws adopted thereto, the board may recommend to the Governor that such member be removed.
(d) Board members shall receive no compensation, but shall be entitled to receive per diem and travel expenses as provided in s. 112.061.
(e) There shall be no liability on the part of, and no cause of action of any nature shall arise against, any member of the board, or its employees or agents, for any action taken by them in performance of their powers and duties under this section.
History.s. 74, ch. 90-306; s. 27, ch. 91-201; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 47, ch. 95-196; s. 116, ch. 97-101.
409.1757 Persons not required to be refingerprinted or rescreened.Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, human resource personnel who have been fingerprinted or screened pursuant to chapters 393, 394, 397, 402, and this chapter, and teachers who have been fingerprinted pursuant to chapter 1012, who have not been unemployed for more than 90 days thereafter, and who under the penalty of perjury attest to the completion of such fingerprinting or screening and to compliance with the provisions of this section and the standards for good moral character as contained in such provisions as ss. 110.1127(3), 393.0655(1), 394.457(6), 397.451, 402.305(2), and 409.175(6), shall not be required to be refingerprinted or rescreened in order to comply with any caretaker screening or fingerprinting requirements.
History.s. 1, ch. 87-128; s. 1, ch. 87-141; s. 30, ch. 93-39; s. 52, ch. 2000-153; s. 10, ch. 2002-219; s. 992, ch. 2002-387; s. 50, ch. 2004-5.
409.176 Registration of residential child-caring agencies and family foster homes.
(1)(a) A residential child-caring agency or family foster home may not receive a child for continuing full-time care or custody, and a residential child-caring agency may not place a child for full-time continuing care or custody in a family foster home, unless it has first registered with an association that is certified by a Florida statewide child care organization which was in existence on January 1, 1984, and which publishes, and requires compliance with, its standards and files copies thereof with the department as provided in paragraph (5)(b). For purposes of this section, such an association shall be referred to as the “qualified association.”
(b) For the purposes of this section, the terms “child,” “family foster home,” “screening,” and “residential child-caring agency” are defined as provided in s. 409.175(2), and the terms “personnel,” “operator,” and “owner” as they pertain to “residential child-caring agency” are defined as provided in s. 409.175.
(c) As used in this section, the term “facility” means a residential child-caring agency or a family foster home.
(2)(a) Registration shall consist of annually filing with the qualified association, on forms provided by the qualified association, the name and address of the facility; the capacity of, and the number of children being cared for in, the facility; the names and addresses of the officers and the board of directors or other governing body of the organization, if applicable; the name of the officer or person in charge of the facility; and proof that the facility is in compliance with the minimum health, sanitary, and safety standards required by applicable state law or local ordinance, and the uniform firesafety standards required by chapter 633, and in compliance with the requirements for screening of personnel in s. 409.175 and chapter 435. A separate registration form shall be filed for each such facility.
(b) As part of the registration application, each child-caring agency and each family foster home shall annually provide to the qualified association the names and ages of children being cared for in the facility; the names of children who have been received from out of state or who have been sent out of state during the past calendar year; the names of children who have left the facility during the past year, the lengths of their stays, and the nature of the placements; the names of all personnel; and proof that the facility is in compliance with published minimum standards that are filed with the department under the provisions of paragraph (5)(b). The agency shall also attest to the good moral character of the personnel of the facility by providing proof of compliance with the screening requirements of s. 409.175 and chapter 435 and provide the name of any member of the staff having a prior felony conviction.
(c) Upon verification that all requirements for registration have been met, the qualified association shall issue without charge a certificate of registration valid for 1 year.
(3) Access shall be provided at reasonable times for the appropriate state and local officials responsible for the maintenance of fire, health, sanitary, and safety standards to inspect the facility to assure such compliance.
(4) Facilities licensed under the provisions of s. 409.175 shall be classified as “Type I” facilities. Facilities registered under the provisions of this section shall be classified as “Type II” facilities.
(5) The licensing provisions of s. 409.175 do not apply to a facility operated by an organization that:
(a) Is a religious organization that does not directly receive state or federal funds or is a family foster home that is associated with such an organization and does not directly receive state or federal funds.
(b) Is certified by a Florida statewide child care organization which was in existence on January 1, 1984, and which publishes, and requires compliance with, its standards and files copies thereof with the department. Such standards shall be in substantial compliance with published minimum standards that similar licensed child-caring agencies or family foster homes are required to meet, as determined by the department, with the exception of those standards of a curricular or religious nature and those relating to staffing or financial stability. Once the department has determined that the standards for child-caring agencies or family foster homes are in substantial compliance with minimum standards that similar facilities are required to meet, the standards do not have to be resubmitted to the department unless a change occurs in the standards. Any changes in the standards shall be provided to the department within 10 days of their adoption.
(c) Has been issued a certificate of registration by the qualified association.
(6) Each child served by a Type II facility shall be covered by a written contract, executed at the time of admission or prior thereto, between the facility and the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child. Such person shall be given a copy of the contract at the time of its execution, and the facility shall retain the original contract. Each contract shall:
(a) Enumerate the basic services and accommodations provided by the facility.
(b) State that the facility is a Type II facility.
(c) Contain the address and telephone number of the qualified association.
(d) Specify the charges, if any, to the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child.
(e) Contain a clear statement regarding disciplinary procedures.
(f) State that the goal of the facility is to return the child it serves to the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child, within 1 year from the time the child enters the facility.
(g) Authorize the facility administrator or his or her designee to consent to routine and emergency medical care on behalf of the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child, provided the facility administrator shall immediately notify the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child of medical care being provided on his or her behalf. Authorization of this power shall be granted only upon the separate consent in the contract of the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child.

A copy of the contract signed by the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child shall be filed with the qualified association within 10 days after the child enters the facility.

(7) Any facility registered under the provisions of this section shall notify the department immediately if it has in its care a child with serious developmental disabilities or a physical, emotional, or mental handicap for which the facility is not qualified or able to provide treatment.
(8) The provisions of chapters 39 and 827 regarding child abuse, abandonment, and neglect and the provisions of s. 409.175 and chapter 435 regarding screening apply to any facility registered under this section.
(9) The qualified association may deny, suspend, or revoke the registration of a Type II facility which:
(a) Fails to comply with this section;
(b) Is found to have willfully or intentionally provided false or misleading information in its registration forms or service contracts; or
(c) Violates the provisions of chapter 39 or chapter 827 regarding child abuse, abandonment, and neglect or the provisions of s. 409.175 or chapter 435 regarding screening.

The qualified association shall notify the department within 10 days of the suspension or revocation of the registration of any Type II facility registered under this section.

(10)(a) The qualified association shall notify the department when the qualified association finds there is a violation of any of the provisions of this section which threatens harm to any child or which constitutes an emergency requiring immediate action.
(b) The qualified association shall notify the department when the qualified association finds, within 30 days after written notification by registered mail of the requirement for registration, that a person or facility continues to care for children without a certificate of registration. The department shall notify the appropriate state attorney of the violation of law and, if necessary, shall institute a civil suit to enjoin the person or facility from continuing the care of children.
(c) The department may institute injunctive proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction to:
1. Enforce the provisions of this section; or
2. Terminate the operation of a facility in which any of the conditions described in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) exist.

Such injunctive relief may be temporary or permanent.

(11)(a) The department is authorized to seek compliance with the registration requirements of this section to the fullest extent possible by reliance on administrative sanctions and civil actions.
(b) If the department determines that a person or facility is caring for a child without a valid certificate of registration issued by the qualified association or has made a willful or intentional misstatement on any registration application or other document required to be filed in connection with an application for a certificate of registration, the qualified association, as an alternative to or in conjunction with an administrative action against such person or facility, shall make a reasonable attempt to discuss each violation with, and recommend corrective action to, the person or the administrator of the facility, prior to written notification thereof.
(c) Any action taken to correct a violation shall be documented in writing by the person or administrator of the facility and verified by the qualified association.
(d) If the person or facility has failed to remedy each violation by the specific date agreed upon with the qualified association, the qualified association shall notify the department which shall within 30 days notify the person or facility by certified mail of its intention to refer the violation or violations to the office of the state attorney.
(e) If the person or facility fails to come into compliance with the registration requirements within 30 days of written notification, the qualified association shall notify the department which shall within 30 days refer the violation or violations to the office of the state attorney.
(12) It is unlawful for any person or facility to:
(a) Provide continuing full-time care for or to receive or place a child apart from her or his parents in a residential group care facility or a family foster home without a valid certificate of registration issued by the qualified association if such certificate is required by subsection (1).
(b) Make a willful or intentional misstatement on any registration application or other document required to be filed in connection with an application for registration.
(c) Willfully or intentionally fail to comply with the requirements for the screening of personnel or the dismissal of personnel found not to be in compliance with the requirements for good moral character as specified in paragraph (2)(b).
(d) Use information from the criminal records obtained under s. 409.175 or this section for any purpose other than screening a person for employment as specified in chapter 435, s. 409.175, or this section or to release such information to any other person for any purpose other than screening for employment as specified in chapter 435, s. 409.175, or this section.
(e) Use information from the juvenile records of any person obtained under chapter 435, s. 409.175, or this section for any purpose other than screening for employment as specified in chapter 435, s. 409.175, or this section or to release information from such records to any other person for any purpose other than screening for employment as specified in chapter 435, s. 409.175, or this section.

A first violation of paragraph (a), paragraph (b), paragraph (c), or paragraph (d) is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A second or subsequent violation of paragraph (a), paragraph (b), paragraph (c), or paragraph (d) is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. A violation of paragraph (e) is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(13) Any facility registered or meeting the requirements of registration under this section may apply for a license under this chapter. A facility which has applied for and received a license is no longer eligible to operate under the provisions of this section.
(14) Registration under this section, including the issue of substantial compliance with published minimum standards that similar licensed child-caring facilities or family foster homes are required to meet, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), is subject to the provisions of chapter 120.
(15) The qualified association issuing certificates of registration for Type II facilities under this section shall annually report to the department the number of Type II facilities registered during the most recent calendar year, the names and addresses of the facilities, the name of each facility’s administrator, and the total number of children served by each facility during the calendar year.
History.ss. 3, 21, ch. 84-311; s. 36, ch. 85-54; s. 30, ch. 91-57; s. 3, ch. 91-71; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 2, ch. 94-257; s. 3, ch. 96-402; s. 253, ch. 96-406; s. 1019, ch. 97-103; s. 147, ch. 98-403; s. 11, ch. 2000-139; s. 9, ch. 2001-68.
409.179 Family-friendly workplace initiative.Recognizing that employers play a key role in helping families balance work and family responsibilities, the Executive Office of the Governor, in consultation with members of the business community, may establish a family-friendly workplace initiative. The Executive Office of the Governor may develop a program to annually collect information regarding the state’s eligible small employers with 50 or fewer employees, and eligible large employers with 51 or more employees in the state, providing the most family-friendly benefits to their employees. The same program may be established for public employers. The criteria for determination of the eligible employers may include, but not be limited to:
(1) Consideration of the dependent care scholarship or discounts given by the employer.
(2) Flexible work hours and schedules.
(3) Time off for caring for sick or injured dependents.
(4) The provision of onsite or nearby dependent care.
(5) Dependent care referral services.
(6) In-kind contributions to community dependent care programs.

Those employers chosen by the Executive Office of the Governor may be recognized with annual “family-friendly workplace” awards and a statewide information and advertising campaign publicizing the employers’ awards, their contributions to family-friendly child care, and the methods they used to improve the dependent care experiences of their employees’ families.

History.s. 86, ch. 96-175.
409.212 Optional supplementation.
(1) There may be monthly optional supplementation payments, made in such amount as determined by the department, to any person who:
(a) Meets all the program eligibility criteria for an assisted living facility or for adult foster care, family placement, or other specialized living arrangement; and
(b) Is receiving a Supplemental Security Income check or is determined to be eligible for optional supplementation by the department.
(2) The base rate of payment for optional state supplementation shall be established by the department within funds appropriated. Additional amounts may be provided for mental health residents in facilities designed to provide limited mental health services as provided for in s. 429.075. The base rate of payment does not include the personal needs allowance.
(3) Assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, family placement, or any other specialized living arrangement accepting residents who receive optional supplementation payments must comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. s. 1382e(e).
(4) In addition to the amount of optional supplementation provided by the state, a person may receive additional supplementation from third parties to contribute to his or her cost of care. Additional supplementation may be provided under the following conditions:
(a) Payments shall be made to the assisted living facility, or to the operator of an adult family-care home, family placement, or other special living arrangement, on behalf of the person and not directly to the optional state supplementation recipient.
(b) Contributions made by third parties shall be entirely voluntary and shall not be a condition of providing proper care to the client.
(c) The additional supplementation shall not exceed two times the provider rate recognized under the optional state supplementation program.
(d) Rent vouchers issued pursuant to a federal, state, or local housing program may be issued directly to a recipient of optional state supplementation.
(5) When contributions are made in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4), the department shall not count such supplements as income to the client for purposes of determining eligibility for, or computing the amount of, optional state supplementation benefits, nor shall the department increase an optional state supplementation payment to offset the reduction in Supplemental Security Income benefits that will occur because of the third-party contribution.
(6) The optional state supplementation rate shall be increased by the cost-of-living adjustment to the federal benefits rate provided the average state optional supplementation contribution does not increase as a result.
(7) The department may adopt rules to administer this section relating to eligibility requirements for optional state supplementation.
History.s. 10, ch. 78-433; s. 9, ch. 89-294; s. 16, ch. 90-295; s. 32, ch. 91-263; s. 31, ch. 95-210; s. 16, ch. 95-418; s. 10, ch. 97-82; s. 5, ch. 97-98; s. 44, ch. 97-103; s. 12, ch. 98-148; s. 8, ch. 98-152; s. 10, ch. 2000-163; s. 47, ch. 2000-256; s. 79, ch. 2006-197.
409.221 Consumer-directed care program.
(1) SHORT TITLE.This section may be cited as the “Florida Consumer-Directed Care Act.”
(2) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.The Legislature finds that alternatives to institutional care, such as in-home and community-based care, should be encouraged. The Legislature finds that giving recipients of in-home and community-based services the opportunity to select the services they need and the providers they want, including family and friends, enhances their sense of dignity and autonomy. The Legislature also finds that providing consumers choice and control, as tested in current research and demonstration projects, has been beneficial and should be developed further and implemented statewide.
(3) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.It is the intent of the Legislature to nurture the autonomy of those citizens of the state, of all ages, who have disabilities by providing the long-term care services they need in the least restrictive, appropriate setting. It is the intent of the Legislature to give such individuals more choices in and greater control over the purchased long-term care services they receive.
(4) CONSUMER-DIRECTED CARE.
(a) Program established.The Agency for Health Care Administration shall establish the consumer-directed care program which shall be based on the principles of consumer choice and control. The agency shall implement the program upon federal approval. The agency shall establish interagency cooperative agreements with and shall work with the Departments of Elderly Affairs, Health, and Children and Family Services and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to implement and administer the program. The program shall allow enrolled persons to choose the providers of services and to direct the delivery of services, to best meet their long-term care needs. The program must operate within the funds appropriated by the Legislature.
(b) Eligibility and enrollment.Persons who are enrolled in one of the Medicaid home and community-based waiver programs and are able to direct their own care, or to designate an eligible representative, may choose to participate in the consumer-directed care program.
(c) Definitions.For purposes of this section, the term:
1. “Budget allowance” means the amount of money made available each month to a consumer to purchase needed long-term care services, based on the results of a functional needs assessment.
2. “Consultant” means an individual who provides technical assistance to consumers in meeting their responsibilities under this section.
3. “Consumer” means a person who has chosen to participate in the program, has met the enrollment requirements, and has received an approved budget allowance.
4. “Fiscal intermediary” means an entity approved by the agency that helps the consumer manage the consumer’s budget allowance, retains the funds, processes employment information, if any, and tax information, reviews records to ensure correctness, writes paychecks to providers, and delivers paychecks to the consumer for distribution to providers and caregivers.
5. “Provider” means:
a. A person licensed or otherwise permitted to render services eligible for reimbursement under this program for whom the consumer is not the employer of record; or
b. A consumer-employed caregiver for whom the consumer is the employer of record.
6. “Representative” means an uncompensated individual designated by the consumer to assist in managing the consumer’s budget allowance and needed services.
(d) Budget allowances.Consumers enrolled in the program shall be given a monthly budget allowance based on the results of their assessed functional needs and the financial resources of the program. Consumers shall receive the budget allowance directly from an agency-approved fiscal intermediary. Each department shall develop purchasing guidelines, approved by the agency, to assist consumers in using the budget allowance to purchase needed, cost-effective services.
(e) Services.Consumers shall use the budget allowance only to pay for home and community-based services that meet the consumer’s long-term care needs and are a cost-efficient use of funds. Such services may include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Personal care.
2. Homemaking and chores, including housework, meals, shopping, and transportation.
3. Home modifications and assistive devices which may increase the consumer’s independence or make it possible to avoid institutional placement.
4. Assistance in taking self-administered medication.
5. Day care and respite care services, including those provided by nursing home facilities pursuant to s. 400.141(1)(f) or by adult day care facilities licensed pursuant to s. 429.907.
6. Personal care and support services provided in an assisted living facility.
(f) Consumer roles and responsibilities.Consumers shall be allowed to choose the providers of services, as well as when and how the services are provided. Providers may include a consumer’s neighbor, friend, spouse, or relative.
1. In cases where a consumer is the employer of record, the consumer’s roles and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Developing a job description.
b. Selecting caregivers and submitting information for the background screening as required in s. 435.05.
c. Communicating needs, preferences, and expectations about services being purchased.
d. Providing the fiscal intermediary with all information necessary for provider payments and tax requirements.
e. Ending the employment of an unsatisfactory caregiver.
2. In cases where a consumer is not the employer of record, the consumer’s roles and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Communicating needs, preferences, and expectations about services being purchased.
b. Ending the services of an unsatisfactory provider.
c. Providing the fiscal agent with all information necessary for provider payments and tax requirements.
(g) Agency’s and departments’ roles and responsibilities.The agency’s and the departments’ roles and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Assessing each consumer’s functional needs, helping with the service plan, and providing ongoing assistance with the service plan.
2. Offering the services of consultants who shall provide training, technical assistance, and support to the consumer.
3. Completing the background screening for providers.
4. Approving fiscal intermediaries.
5. Establishing the minimum qualifications for all caregivers and providers and being the final arbiter of the fitness of any individual to be a caregiver or provider.
(h) Fiscal intermediary roles and responsibilities.The fiscal intermediary’s roles and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Providing recordkeeping services.
2. Retaining the consumer-directed care funds, processing employment and tax information, if any, reviewing records to ensure correctness, writing paychecks to providers, and delivering paychecks to the consumer for distribution.
1(i) Background screening requirements.All persons who render care under this section must undergo level 2 background screening pursuant to chapter 435. The agency shall, as allowable, reimburse consumer-employed caregivers for the cost of conducting background screening as required by this section. For purposes of this section, a person who has undergone screening, who is qualified for employment under this section and applicable rule, and who has not been unemployed for more than 90 days following such screening is not required to be rescreened. Such person must attest under penalty of perjury to not having been convicted of a disqualifying offense since completing such screening.
(j) Rules; federal waivers.In order to implement this section:
1. The agency and the Departments of Elderly Affairs, Health, and Children and Family Services and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities are authorized to adopt and enforce rules.
2. The agency shall take all necessary action to ensure state compliance with federal regulations. The agency shall apply for any necessary federal waivers or waiver amendments needed to implement the program.
History.s. 11, ch. 2002-223; s. 3, ch. 2006-15; s. 52, ch. 2006-227; s. 95, ch. 2007-5; s. 134, ch. 2007-230; s. 57, ch. 2009-223; s. 122, ch. 2010-102; s. 24, ch. 2010-114.
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.”
409.2355 Programs for prosecution of males over age 21 who commit certain offenses involving girls under age 16.Subject to specific appropriated funds, the Department of Children and Family Services is directed to establish a program by which local communities, through the state attorney’s office of each judicial circuit, may apply for grants to fund innovative programs for the prosecution of males over the age of 21 who victimize girls under the age of 16 in violation of s. 794.011, s. 794.05, s. 800.04, s. 827.04(3), or s. 847.0135(5).
History.s. 11, ch. 96-215; s. 196, ch. 97-101; s. 53, ch. 2000-153; s. 12, ch. 2008-172.
409.2551 Legislative intent.Common-law and statutory procedures governing the remedies for enforcement of support for financially dependent children by persons responsible for their support have not proven sufficiently effective or efficient to cope with the increasing incidence of financial dependency. The increasing workload of courts, prosecuting attorneys, and the Attorney General has resulted in a growing burden on the financial resources of the state, which is constrained to provide public assistance for basic maintenance requirements when parents fail to meet their primary obligations. The state, therefore, exercising its police and sovereign powers, declares that the common-law and statutory remedies pertaining to family desertion and nonsupport of dependent children shall be augmented by additional remedies directed to the resources of the responsible parents. In order to render resources more immediately available to meet the needs of dependent children, it is the legislative intent that the remedies provided herein are in addition to, and not in lieu of, existing remedies. It is declared to be the public policy of this state that this act be construed and administered to the end that children shall be maintained from the resources of their parents, thereby relieving, at least in part, the burden presently borne by the general citizenry through public assistance programs.
History.s. 1, ch. 76-220; s. 140, ch. 86-220.
409.2554 Definitions; ss. 409.2551-409.2598.As used in ss. 409.2551-409.2598, the term:
(1) “Department” means the Department of Revenue.
(2) “Dependent child” means any unemancipated person under the age of 18, any person under the age of 21 and still in school, or any person who is mentally or physically incapacitated when such incapacity began prior to such person reaching the age of 18. This definition shall not be construed to impose an obligation for child support beyond the child’s attainment of majority except as imposed in s. 409.2561.
(3) “Court” means the circuit court.
(4) “Court order” means any judgment or order of any court of appropriate jurisdiction of the state, or an order of a court of competent jurisdiction of another state, ordering payment of a set or determinable amount of support money.
(5) “Health insurance” means coverage under a fee-for-service arrangement, health maintenance organization, or preferred provider organization, and other types of coverage available to either parent, under which medical services could be provided to a dependent child.
(6) “Obligee” means the person to whom support payments are made pursuant to an alimony or child support order.
(7) “Obligor” means a person who is responsible for making support payments pursuant to an alimony or child support order.
(8) “Public assistance” means money assistance paid on the basis of Title IV-E and Title XIX of the Social Security Act, temporary cash assistance, or food assistance benefits received on behalf of a child under 18 years of age who has an absent parent.
(9) “Program attorney” means an attorney employed by the department, under contract with the department, or employed by a contractor of the department, to provide legal representation for the department in a proceeding related to the determination of paternity or the establishment, modification, or enforcement of support brought pursuant to law.
(10) “Prosecuting attorney” means any private attorney, county attorney, city attorney, state attorney, program attorney, or an attorney employed by an entity of a local political subdivision who engages in legal action related to the determination of paternity or the establishment, modification, or enforcement of support brought pursuant to this act.
(11) “Support,” unless otherwise specified, means:
(a) Child support, and, when the child support obligation is being enforced by the Department of Revenue, spousal support or alimony for the spouse or former spouse of the obligor with whom the child is living.
(b) Child support only in cases not being enforced by the Department of Revenue.
(12) “Administrative costs” means any costs, including attorney’s fees, clerk’s filing fees, recording fees and other expenses incurred by the clerk of the circuit court, service of process fees, or mediation costs, incurred by the IV-D agency in its effort to administer the IV-D program. The administrative costs which must be collected by the department shall be assessed on a case-by-case basis based upon a method for determining costs approved by the Federal Government. The administrative costs shall be assessed periodically by the department. The methodology for determining administrative costs shall be made available to the judge or any party who requests it. Only those amounts ordered independent of current support, arrears, or past public assistance obligation shall be considered and applied toward administrative costs.
(13) “Child support services” includes any civil, criminal, or administrative action taken by the Title IV-D program to determine paternity, establish, modify, enforce, or collect support.
(14) “Undistributable collection” means a support payment received by the department which the department determines cannot be distributed to the final intended recipient.
(15) “Unidentifiable collection” means a payment received by the department for which a parent, depository or circuit civil numbers, or source of the payment cannot be identified.
History.s. 2, ch. 76-220; s. 1, ch. 82-140; s. 1, ch. 85-178; ss. 86, 141, ch. 86-220; s. 15, ch. 87-95; s. 10, ch. 88-176; s. 18, ch. 92-138; s. 5, ch. 94-124; s. 88, ch. 96-175; s. 45, ch. 97-170; s. 40, ch. 97-173; s. 148, ch. 98-403; s. 39, ch. 2000-139; s. 92, ch. 2000-165; s. 25, ch. 2001-158; s. 19, ch. 2008-61; s. 4, ch. 2009-90; s. 9, ch. 2010-209.
409.2557 State agency for administering child support enforcement program.
(1) The department is designated as the state agency responsible for the administration of the child support enforcement program, Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. ss. 651 et seq.
(2) The department in its capacity as the state Title IV-D agency shall have the authority to take actions necessary to carry out the public policy of ensuring that children are maintained from the resources of their parents to the extent possible. The department’s authority shall include, but not be limited to, the establishment of paternity or support obligations, as well as the modification, enforcement, and collection of support obligations.
(3) SPECIFIC RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The department has the authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement all laws administered by the department in its capacity as the Title IV-D agency for this state including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Background screening of department employees and applicants, including criminal records checks;
(b) Confidentiality and retention of department records; access to records; record requests;
(c) Department trust funds;
(d) Federal funding procedures;
(e) Agreements with law enforcement and other state agencies; National Crime Information Center (NCIC) access; Parent Locator Service access;
(f) Written agreements entered into between the department and support obligors in establishment, enforcement, and modification proceedings;
(g) Procurement of services by the department, pilot programs, and demonstration projects;
(h) Management of cases by the department involving any documentation or procedures required by federal or state law, including but not limited to, cooperation; review and adjustment; audits; interstate actions; diligent efforts for service of process;
(i) Department procedures for orders for genetic testing; subpoenas to establish, enforce, or modify orders; increasing the amount of monthly obligations to secure delinquent support; suspending or denying driver’s and professional licenses and certificates; fishing and hunting license suspensions; suspending vehicle and vessel registrations; screening applicants for new or renewal licenses, registrations, or certificates; income deduction; credit reporting and accessing; tax refund intercepts; passport denials; liens; financial institution data matches; expedited procedures; medical support; and all other responsibilities of the department as required by state or federal law;
(j) Collection and disbursement of support and alimony payments by the department as required by federal law; collection of genetic testing costs and other costs awarded by the court;
(k) Report information to and receive information from other agencies and entities;
(l) Provide location services, including accessing from and reporting to federal and state agencies;
(m) Privatizing location, establishment, enforcement, modification, and other functions;
(n) State case registry;
(o) State disbursement unit;
(p) Administrative proceedings to establish paternity or establish paternity and child support, orders to appear for genetic testing, and administrative proceedings to establish child support obligations; and
(q) All other responsibilities of the department as required by state or federal law.
History.s. 3, ch. 76-220; s. 19, ch. 92-138; s. 4, ch. 94-318; s. 20, ch. 98-397; s. 26, ch. 2001-158; s. 9, ch. 2002-173; s. 2, ch. 2002-239; s. 22, ch. 2005-39.
409.25575 Support enforcement; privatization.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage the Department of Revenue to contract with private entities for the provision of support enforcement services whenever such contracting is cost-effective.
(2) The department shall contract for the delivery, administration, or management of support enforcement activities and other related services or programs, when appropriate. The department shall retain responsibility for the quality of contracted services and programs and shall ensure that services are delivered in accordance with applicable federal and state statutes and regulations.
(3)(a) The department shall establish a quality assurance program for the privatization of services. The program must include standards for each specific component of these services. The department shall establish minimum thresholds for each component. Each program operated pursuant to contract must be evaluated annually by the department or by an objective competent entity designated by the department under the provisions of the quality assurance program. The evaluation must be financed from cost savings associated with the privatization of services. The quality assurance program must be financed through administrative savings generated by this act.
(b) The department shall establish and operate a comprehensive system to measure and report annually the outcomes and effectiveness of the services that have been privatized. The department shall use these findings in making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature for future program and funding priorities in the support enforcement system.
(4)(a) Any entity contracting to provide support enforcement services under this section must comply with all statutory requirements and agency regulations in the provision of contractual services.
(b) Any entity contracting to provide support enforcement services under this section must also participate in and cooperate with any federal program that will assist in the maximization of federal supports for these services, as directed by the department.
History.s. 46, ch. 97-170; s. 27, ch. 2001-158; s. 123, ch. 2010-102.
409.2558 Support distribution and disbursement.
(1) DISTRIBUTION OF PAYMENTS.The department shall distribute and disburse support payments collected in Title IV-D cases in accordance with 42 U.S.C. s. 657 and regulations adopted thereunder by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
(2) ELECTRONIC DISBURSEMENT OF PAYMENTS.Any payments made to the State Disbursement Unit that are owed to the obligee in a Title IV-D case shall be disbursed electronically. The obligee may designate a personal account for deposit of payments. If the obligee does not designate a personal account, the State Disbursement Unit shall deposit any payments into a stored value account that can be accessed by the obligee.
(3) UNDISTRIBUTABLE COLLECTIONS.
(a) The department shall establish by rule the method for determining a collection or refund to be undistributable to the final intended recipient. Before determining a collection or refund to be undistributable, the department shall make reasonable efforts to locate persons to whom collections or refunds are owed so that payment can be made. Location efforts may include disclosure through a searchable database of the names of obligees, obligors, and depository account numbers on the Internet in compliance with the requirements of s. 119.01(2)(a).
(b) Collections that are determined to be undistributable shall be processed in the following order of priority:
1. Apply the payment to any financial liability incurred by the obligor as a result of a previous payment returned to the department for insufficient funds; then
2. Apply the payment to any financial liability incurred by the obligor as a result of an overpayment to the obligor which the obligor has failed to return to the department after notice; then
3. Apply the payment to any financial liability incurred by the obligee as a result of an overpayment to the obligee which the obligee has failed to return to the department after notice; then
4. Apply the payment to any assigned arrears on the obligee’s case; then
5. Apply the payment to any administrative costs ordered by the court pursuant to s. 409.2567 associated with the obligee’s case; then
6. When the obligor is subject to a valid order to support another child in a case with a different obligee and the obligation is being enforced by the department, the department shall send by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested, to the obligor at the most recent address provided by the obligor to the tribunal that issued the order, a notice stating the department’s intention to apply the payment pursuant to this subparagraph, and advising the obligor of the right to contest the department’s proposed action in the circuit court by filing and serving a petition on the department within 30 days after the mailing of the notice. If the obligor does not file and serve a petition within the 30 days after mailing of the notice, or upon a disposition of the judicial action favorable to the department, the department shall apply the payment toward his or her other support obligation. If there is more than one such other case, the department shall allocate the remaining undistributable amount as specified by s. 61.1301(4)(c); then
7. Return the payment to the obligor; then
8. If the obligor cannot be located after diligent efforts by the department, the federal share of the payment shall be credited to the Federal Government and the state share shall be transferred to the General Revenue Fund.
(c) Refunds to obligors that are determined to be undistributable shall be processed in the following manner:
1. The federal share of the refund shall be sent to the Federal Government.
2. The state share shall be credited to the General Revenue Fund.
(d) If a payment of less than $1 is made by a paper check on an open Title IV-D case and the payment is not cashed after 180 days, or if less than $1 is owed on a closed Title IV-D case, the department shall declare the payment as program income, crediting the federal share of the payment to the Federal Government and the state share of the payment to the General Revenue Fund, without attempting to locate either party.
(4) UNIDENTIFIABLE COLLECTIONS.
(a) The department shall establish by rule the method for determining a collection to be unidentifiable.
(b) Upon being determined to be unidentifiable, the federal share of unidentifiable collections shall be credited to the Federal Government and the state share shall be transferred to the General Revenue Fund.
(5) RECLAIMING COLLECTIONS DECLARED TO BE UNDISTRIBUTABLE OR UNIDENTIFIABLE.At such time as an undistributable or unidentifiable collection that has been transferred to the Federal Government and to the General Revenue Fund in the relevant method above becomes distributable or identified, meaning either the obligor or the obligee is identified or located, the department shall retrieve the transferred moneys in the following manner:
(a) Offset the next credit to the Federal Government in an amount equal to the share of the collection which had been transferred; and
(b) Offset the next transfer to the General Revenue Fund in an amount equal to the state share of the collection which had been transferred to the General Revenue Fund.

The collection shall then be processed, as appropriate.

(6) RECONSIDERATION OF DISTRIBUTION AND DISBURSEMENT.A recipient of collection and distribution services of the department’s Child Support Enforcement Program may request a reconsideration by the department concerning the amount collected, the date collected, the amount distributed, the distribution timing, or the calculation of arrears. The department shall establish by rule a reconsideration procedure for informal review of agency action in distributing and disbursing support payments collected by the department. The procedures must provide the recipients of services with an opportunity to review the department’s actions before a hearing is requested under chapter 120.
(7) OVERPAYMENT.If the department’s records indicate that a support obligee has received an overpayment of support from the department due to either mistake or fraud, the department may take action to recover the overpayment. The department may establish by rule a procedure to recover overpayments.
(8) ORDER REDIRECTING PAYMENTS TO THE PERSON WITH WHOM THE CHILD RESIDES.
(a) If the department determines in a Title IV-D case that a child for whom a support order has been entered by a tribunal of this state resides with a person other than the obligee or obligor, the department may not disburse current support payments for the child to the obligee without a further order from the tribunal that entered the support order. For purposes of this section, “tribunal” means either the circuit court or the department.
(b) A determination by the department under paragraph (a) must be based on one or more of the following factors:
1. Public assistance records that show a person other than the obligee or obligor is receiving public assistance for the child.
2. A statement by the obligee that the child resides with a person other than the obligee or obligor is submitted to the department.
3. A sworn statement or written declaration signed under penalty of perjury by a person who has personal knowledge that the child resides with a person other than the obligee or obligor is submitted to the department.
4. Government records that show the obligee is incarcerated.
5. Evidence that the obligee has left the community where the child resides is submitted to the department.
6. Other credible information that indicates the child resides with a person other than the obligee or obligor is submitted to the department.
(c) When the department determines that a child as specified in paragraph (a) resides with a person other than the obligee or obligor, the department shall submit by regular mail to the obligee, the obligor, and, if known, the person with whom the child resides a notice that states:
1. The facts on which the determination is based.
2. The name and address of the person with whom the child resides, if known, unless disclosure is prohibited under s. 409.2579(3) or (4) or the child is in foster care.
3. That the department will not disburse current support payments for the child without a further order from the tribunal that entered the support order.
4. If the support order was entered by the circuit court:
a. That the department will file a motion and proposed order with the court that asks the court to order that the obligor’s current support payments be disbursed to the person with whom the child resides, determine arrearages, and order repayment of arrearages;
b. That the obligee, the obligor, and the person with whom the child resides may file an objection in court to the proposed order or a motion to compel disbursement; and
c. That the obligee, the obligor, and the person with whom the child resides will be mailed a copy of the department’s motion and notified of any court hearing.
5. If the support order was entered by the department:
a. That the department intends to disburse the current support payments to the person with whom the child resides, if known, determine arrearages, and order repayment of arrearages;
b. The effective date of the intended action to disburse current support payments to the person with whom the child resides, the amount of arrearages owed to the obligee and the person with whom the child resides, and the amount of the order for periodic repayment of arrearages;
c. That the obligee, the obligor, and the person with whom the child resides may contest the intended action by filing with the department a petition for an administrative hearing within 30 days after the date of mailing of the notice;
d. That if a timely petition for an administrative hearing is filed, the parties will be given advance notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing; and
e. That if the notice of intended action is not timely contested, the department will enter a final order based on what is stated in the notice.
(d) The tribunal that entered the support order shall determine whether support payments not disbursed by the department and current support must be paid to the obligee, paid to the person with whom the child resides, or refunded to the obligor. The person with whom the child resides is deemed a party to the proceedings. The tribunal is not required to hold a hearing unless a party has filed a timely objection to the proposed order or a timely petition for an administrative hearing. If the department is the tribunal and a timely petition for an administrative hearing is filed, the hearing shall be conducted by the Division of Administrative Hearings and the administrative law judge shall enter a final order. If a hearing is not required, the tribunal shall enter an order within 30 days after the department’s motion is filed or the notice of intended action is mailed. If a timely objection or petition for an administrative hearing is filed, a hearing shall be conducted and an order entered within 30 days after the objection or petition is filed.
(e) If the tribunal finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the child does not reside with the obligee, the tribunal shall enter an order that redirects the obligor’s current support payments due under the support order to the person with whom the child resides, determine arrearages owed to the obligee and the person with whom the child resides, and order repayment of arrearages. The tribunal need not recompute the obligor’s support obligation under the child support guidelines. If the person with whom the child resides is unknown and the obligor owes no arrearages or costs, the tribunal shall enter an order that refunds the payments not disbursed by the department to the obligor. If the child resides with the obligor, the person with whom the child resides is unknown, or the child’s place of residence is unknown, the tribunal shall consider whether to abate, terminate, or modify the support order.
(f) A tribunal that enters an order that redirects or refunds support payments shall file a copy of the order with the depository that serves as official recordkeeper for payments due under the support order. The depository shall maintain separate accounts and separate account numbers for individual payees.
(9) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The department may adopt rules to administer this section.
History.s. 21, ch. 98-397; s. 10, ch. 99-375; s. 28, ch. 2001-158; s. 10, ch. 2004-334; s. 23, ch. 2005-39; s. 8, ch. 2005-82; s. 20, ch. 2008-61; s. 4, ch. 2008-92; ss. 23, 54, ch. 2008-153; s. 124, ch. 2010-102; s. 6, ch. 2010-187.
409.2559 State disbursement unit.The department shall establish and operate a state disbursement unit by October 1, 1999, as required by 42 U.S.C. s. 654(27).
History.s. 22, ch. 98-397.
409.256 Administrative proceeding to establish paternity or paternity and child support; order to appear for genetic testing.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Another state” or “other state” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes:
1. An Indian tribe.
2. A foreign jurisdiction that has enacted a law or established procedures for issuance and enforcement of support orders which are substantially similar to the procedures under this act, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, or the Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, as determined by the Attorney General.
(b) “Caregiver” means a person, other than the mother, father, or a putative father, who has physical custody of a child or with whom the child primarily resides. References in this section to the obligation of a caregiver to submit to genetic testing mean that the caregiver is obligated to submit the child for genetic testing, not that the caregiver must submit to genetic testing.
(c) “Filed” means a document has been received and accepted for filing at the offices of the Department of Revenue by the clerk or an authorized deputy clerk designated by the department.
(d) “Genetic testing” means a scientific analysis of genetic markers which is performed by a qualified technical laboratory only to exclude an individual as the parent of a child or to show a probability of paternity.
(e) “Paternity and child support proceeding” means an administrative action commenced by the Department of Revenue to order genetic testing, establish paternity, and establish an administrative support order pursuant to this section.
(f) “Paternity proceeding” means an administrative action commenced by the Department of Revenue to order genetic testing and establish paternity pursuant to this section.
(g) “Putative father” means an individual who is or may be the biological father of a child whose paternity has not been established and whose mother was unmarried when the child was conceived and born.
(h) “Qualified technical laboratory” means a genetic-testing laboratory that may be under contract with the Department of Revenue, that uses tests and methods of a type generally acknowledged as reliable by accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and that is approved by such an accreditation organization. The term includes a genetic-testing laboratory used by another state, if the laboratory has comparable qualifications.
(i) “Rendered” means that a signed written order is filed with the clerk or a deputy clerk of the Department of Revenue and served on the respondent. The date of filing must be indicated on the face of the order at the time of rendition.
(j) “Respondent” means the person or persons served by the Department of Revenue with a notice of proceeding pursuant to subsection (4). The term includes the putative father and may include the mother or the caregiver of the child.
(k) “This state” or “the state” means the State of Florida.
(2) JURISDICTION; LOCATION OF HEARINGS; RIGHT OF ACCESS TO THE COURTS.
(a) The department may commence a paternity proceeding or a paternity and child support proceeding as provided in subsection (4) if:
1. The child’s paternity has not been established.
2. No one is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate or the person named as the father is the putative father named in an affidavit or a written declaration as provided in subparagraph 5.
3. The child’s mother was unmarried when the child was conceived and born.
4. The department is providing services under Title IV-D.
5. The child’s mother or a putative father has stated in an affidavit, or in a written declaration as provided in s. 92.525(2), that the putative father is or may be the child’s biological father. The affidavit or written declaration must set forth the factual basis for the allegation of paternity as provided in s. 742.12(2).
(b) If the department receives a request from another state to assist in the establishment of paternity, the department may serve an order to appear for genetic testing on a person who resides in this state and transmit the test results to the other state without commencing a paternity proceeding in this state.
(c) The department may use the procedures authorized by this section against a nonresident over whom this state may assert personal jurisdiction under chapter 48 or chapter 88.
(d) If a putative father, mother, or caregiver in a Title IV-D case voluntarily submits to genetic testing, the department may schedule that individual or the child for genetic testing without serving that individual with an order to appear for genetic testing. A respondent or other person who is subject to an order to appear for genetic testing may waive, in writing or on the record at an administrative hearing, formal service of notices or orders or waive any other rights or time periods prescribed by this section.
(e) Whenever practicable, hearings held by the Division of Administrative Hearings pursuant to this section shall be held in the judicial circuit where the person receiving services under Title IV-D resides or, if the person receiving services under Title IV-D does not reside in this state, in the judicial circuit where the respondent resides. If the department and the respondent agree, the hearing may be held in another location. If ordered by the administrative law judge, the hearing may be conducted telephonically or by videoconference.
(f) The Legislature does not intend to limit the jurisdiction of the circuit courts to hear and determine issues regarding establishment of paternity. This section is intended to provide the department with an alternative procedure for establishing paternity and child support obligations in Title IV-D cases. This section does not prohibit a person who has standing from filing a civil action in circuit court for a determination of paternity or of child support obligations.
(g) Section 409.2563(2)(e), (f), and (g) apply to a proceeding under this section.
(3) MULTIPLE PUTATIVE FATHERS; MULTIPLE CHILDREN.If more than one putative father has been named, the department may proceed under this section against a single putative father or may proceed simultaneously against more than one putative father. If a putative father has been named as a possible father of more than one child born to the same mother, the department may proceed to establish the paternity of each child in the same proceeding.
(4) NOTICE OF PROCEEDING TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY OR PATERNITY AND CHILD SUPPORT; ORDER TO APPEAR FOR GENETIC TESTING; MANNER OF SERVICE; CONTENTS.The Department of Revenue shall commence a proceeding to determine paternity, or a proceeding to determine both paternity and child support, by serving the respondent with a notice as provided in this section. An order to appear for genetic testing may be served at the same time as a notice of the proceeding or may be served separately. A copy of the affidavit or written declaration upon which the proceeding is based shall be provided to the respondent when notice is served. A notice or order to appear for genetic testing shall be served by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested, or in accordance with the requirements for service of process in a civil action. Service by certified mail is completed when the certified mail is received or refused by the addressee or by an authorized agent as designated by the addressee in writing. If a person other than the addressee signs the return receipt, the department shall attempt to reach the addressee by telephone to confirm whether the notice was received, and the department shall document any telephonic communications. If someone other than the addressee signs the return receipt, the addressee does not respond to the notice, and the department is unable to confirm that the addressee has received the notice, service is not completed and the department shall attempt to have the addressee served personally. For purposes of this section, an employee or an authorized agent of the department may serve the notice or order to appear for genetic testing and execute an affidavit of service. The department may serve an order to appear for genetic testing on a caregiver. The department shall provide a copy of the notice or order to appear by regular mail to the mother and caregiver, if they are not respondents.
(a) A notice of proceeding to establish paternity must state:
1. That the department has commenced an administrative proceeding to establish whether the putative father is the biological father of the child named in the notice.
2. The name and date of birth of the child and the name of the child’s mother.
3. That the putative father has been named in an affidavit or written declaration that states the putative father is or may be the child’s biological father.
4. That the respondent is required to submit to genetic testing.
5. That genetic testing will establish either a high degree of probability that the putative father is the biological father of the child or that the putative father cannot be the biological father of the child.
6. That if the results of the genetic test do not indicate a statistical probability of paternity that equals or exceeds 99 percent, the paternity proceeding in connection with that child shall cease unless a second or subsequent test is required.
7. That if the results of the genetic test indicate a statistical probability of paternity that equals or exceeds 99 percent, the department may:
a. Issue a proposed order of paternity that the respondent may consent to or contest at an administrative hearing; or
b. Commence a proceeding, as provided in s. 409.2563, to establish an administrative support order for the child. Notice of the proceeding shall be provided to the respondent by regular mail.
8. That, if the genetic test results indicate a statistical probability of paternity that equals or exceeds 99 percent and a proceeding to establish an administrative support order is commenced, the department shall issue a proposed order that addresses paternity and child support. The respondent may consent to or contest the proposed order at an administrative hearing.
9. That if a proposed order of paternity or proposed order of both paternity and child support is not contested, the department shall adopt the proposed order and render a final order that establishes paternity and, if appropriate, an administrative support order for the child.
10. That, until the proceeding is ended, the respondent shall notify the department in writing of any change in the respondent’s mailing address and that the respondent shall be deemed to have received any subsequent order, notice, or other paper mailed to the most recent address provided or, if a more recent address is not provided, to the address at which the respondent was served, and that this requirement continues if the department renders a final order that establishes paternity and a support order for the child.
11. That the respondent may file an action in circuit court for a determination of paternity, child support obligations, or both.
12. That if the respondent files an action in circuit court and serves the department with a copy of the petition or complaint within 20 days after being served notice under this subsection, the administrative process ends without prejudice and the action must proceed in circuit court.
13. That, if paternity is established, the putative father may file a petition in circuit court for a determination of matters relating to custody and rights of parental contact.

A notice under this paragraph must also notify the respondent of the provisions in s. 409.2563(4)(m) and (o).

(b) A notice of proceeding to establish paternity and child support must state the requirements of paragraph (a), except for subparagraph (a)7., and must state the requirements of s. 409.2563(4), to the extent that the requirements of s. 409.2563(4) are not already required by and do not conflict with this subsection. This section and s. 409.2563 apply to a proceeding commenced under this subsection.
(c) The order to appear for genetic testing shall inform the person ordered to appear:
1. That the department has commenced an administrative proceeding to establish whether the putative father is the biological father of the child.
2. The name and date of birth of the child and the name of the child’s mother.
3. That the putative father has been named in an affidavit or written declaration that states the putative father is or may be the child’s biological father.
4. The date, time, and place that the person ordered to appear must appear to provide a sample for genetic testing.
5. That if the person has custody of the child whose paternity is the subject of the proceeding, the person must submit the child for genetic testing.
6. That when the samples are provided, the person ordered to appear shall verify his or her identity and the identity of the child, if applicable, by presenting a form of identification as prescribed by s. 117.05(5)(b)2. which bears the photograph of the person who is providing the sample or other form of verification approved by the department.
7. That if the person ordered to appear submits to genetic testing, the department shall pay the cost of the genetic testing and shall provide the person ordered to appear with a copy of any test results obtained.
8. That if the person ordered to appear does not appear as ordered or refuses to submit to genetic testing without good cause, the department may take one or more of the following actions:
a. Commence proceedings to suspend the driver’s license and motor vehicle registration of the person ordered to appear, as provided in s. 61.13016;
b. Impose an administrative fine against the person ordered to appear in the amount of $500; or
c. File a petition in circuit court to establish paternity and obtain a support order for the child and an order for costs against the person ordered to appear, including costs for genetic testing.
9. That the person ordered to appear may contest the order by filing a written request for informal review within 15 days after the date of service of the order, with further rights to an administrative hearing following the informal review.
(d) If the putative father is incarcerated, the correctional facility shall assist the putative father in complying with an administrative order to appear for genetic testing issued under this section.
(e) An administrative order to appear for genetic testing has the same force and effect as a court order.
(5) RIGHT TO CONTEST ORDER TO APPEAR FOR GENETIC TESTING.
(a) The person ordered to appear may contest an order to appear for genetic testing by filing a written request for informal review with the department within 15 days after the date of service of the order. The purpose of the informal review is to provide the person ordered to appear with an opportunity to discuss the proceedings and the basis of the order. At the conclusion of the informal review, the department shall notify the person ordered to appear, in writing, whether it intends to proceed with the order to appear. If the department notifies the person ordered to appear of its intent to proceed, the notice must inform the person ordered to appear of the right to contest the order at an administrative hearing.
(b) Following an informal review, within 15 days after the mailing date of the department’s notification that the department shall proceed with an order to appear for genetic testing, the person ordered to appear may file a request for an administrative hearing to contest whether the person should be required to submit to genetic testing. A request for an administrative hearing must state the specific reasons why the person ordered to appear believes he or she should not be required to submit to genetic testing as ordered. If the person ordered to appear files a timely request for a hearing, the department shall refer the hearing request to the Division of Administrative Hearings. Unless otherwise provided in this section, administrative hearings are governed by chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure. The administrative law judge assigned to the case shall issue an order as to whether the person must submit to genetic testing in accordance with the order to appear. The department or the person ordered to appear may seek immediate judicial review under s. 120.68 of an order issued by an administrative law judge pursuant to this paragraph.
(c) If a timely request for an informal review or an administrative hearing is filed, the department may not proceed under the order to appear for genetic testing and may not impose sanctions for failure or refusal to submit to genetic testing until:
1. The department has notified the person of its intent to proceed after informal review, and a timely request for hearing is not filed;
2. The person ordered to appear withdraws the request for hearing or informal review; or
3. The Division of Administrative Hearings issues an order that the person must submit to genetic testing, or issues an order closing the division’s file, and that an order has become final.
(d) If a request for an informal review or administrative hearing is not timely filed, the person ordered to appear is deemed to have waived the right to a hearing, and the department may proceed under the order to appear for genetic testing.
(6) SCHEDULING OF GENETIC TESTING.
(a) The department shall notify, in writing, the person ordered to appear of the date, time, and location of the appointment for genetic testing and of the requirement to verify his or her identity and the identity of the child, if applicable, when the samples are provided by presenting a form of identification as prescribed in s. 117.05(5)(b)2. which bears the photograph of the person who is providing the sample or other form of verification approved by the department. If the person ordered to appear is the putative father or the mother, that person shall appear and submit to genetic testing. If the person ordered to appear is a caregiver, or if the putative father or the mother has custody of the child, that person must submit the child for genetic testing.
(b) The department shall reschedule genetic testing:
1. One time without cause if, in advance of the initial test date, the person ordered to appear requests the department to reschedule the test.
2. One time if the person ordered to appear shows good cause for failure to appear for a scheduled test.
3. One time upon request of a person ordered to appear against whom sanctions have been imposed as provided in subsection (7).

A claim of good cause for failure to appear shall be filed with the department within 10 days after the scheduled test date and must state the facts and circumstances supporting the claim. The department shall notify the person ordered to appear, in writing, whether it accepts or rejects the person’s claim of good cause. There is not a separate right to a hearing on the department’s decision to accept or reject the claim of good cause because the person ordered to appear may raise good cause as a defense to any proceeding initiated by the department under subsection (7).

(c) A person ordered to appear may obtain a second genetic test by filing a written request for a second test with the department within 15 days after the date of mailing of the initial genetic testing results and by paying the department in advance for the full cost of the second test.
(d) The department may schedule and require a subsequent genetic test if it has reason to believe the results of the preceding genetic test may not be reliable.
(e) Except as provided in paragraph (c) and subsection (7), the department shall pay for the cost of genetic testing ordered under this section.
(7) FAILURE OR REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO GENETIC TESTING.If a person who is served with an order to appear for genetic testing fails to appear without good cause or refuses to submit to testing without good cause, the department may take one or more of the following actions:
(a) Commence a proceeding to suspend the driver’s license and motor vehicle registration of the person ordered to appear, as provided in s. 61.13016;
(b) Impose an administrative fine against the person ordered to appear in the amount of $500; or
(c) File a petition in circuit court to establish paternity, obtain a support order for the child, and seek reimbursement from the person ordered to appear for the full cost of genetic testing incurred by the department.

As provided in s. 322.058(2), a suspended driver’s license and motor vehicle registration may be reinstated when the person ordered to appear complies with the order to appear for genetic testing. The department may collect an administrative fine imposed under this subsection by using civil remedies or other statutory means available to the department for collecting support.

(8) GENETIC-TESTING RESULTS.The department shall send a copy of the genetic-testing results to the putative father, to the mother, to the caregiver, and to the other state, if applicable. If the genetic-testing results, including second or subsequent genetic-testing results, do not indicate a statistical probability of paternity that equals or exceeds 99 percent, the paternity proceeding in connection with that child shall cease.
(9) PROPOSED ORDER OF PATERNITY; COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDING TO ESTABLISH ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER; PROPOSED ORDER OF PATERNITY AND CHILD SUPPORT.
(a) If a paternity proceeding has been commenced under this section and the results of genetic testing indicate a statistical probability of paternity that equals or exceeds 99 percent, the department may:
1. Issue a proposed order of paternity as provided in paragraph (b); or
2. If appropriate, delay issuing a proposed order of paternity and commence, by regular mail, an administrative proceeding to establish a support order for the child pursuant to s. 409.2563 and issue a single proposed order that addresses paternity and child support.
(b) A proposed order of paternity must:
1. State proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.
2. Include a copy of the results of genetic testing.
3. Include notice of the respondent’s right to informal review and to contest the proposed order of paternity at an administrative hearing.
(c) If a paternity and child support proceeding has been commenced under this section and the results of genetic testing indicate a statistical probability of paternity that equals or exceeds 99 percent, the department may issue a single proposed order that addresses paternity as provided in this section and child support as provided in s. 409.2563.
(d) The department shall serve a proposed order issued under this section on the respondent by regular mail and shall provide a copy by regular mail to the mother or caregiver if they are not respondents.
(10) INFORMAL REVIEW; ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING; PRESUMPTION OF PATERNITY.
(a) Within 10 days after the date of mailing or other service of a proposed order of paternity, the respondent may contact a representative of the department at the address or telephone number provided to request an informal review of the proposed order. If an informal review is timely requested, the time for requesting a hearing is extended until 10 days after the department mails notice to the respondent that the informal review has been concluded.
(b) Within 20 days after the mailing date of the proposed order or within 10 days after the mailing date of notice that an informal review has been concluded, whichever is later, the respondent may request an administrative hearing by filing a written request for a hearing with the department. A request for a hearing must state the specific objections to the proposed order, the specific objections to the genetic testing results, or both. A respondent who fails to file a timely request for a hearing is deemed to have waived the right to a hearing.
(c) If the respondent files a timely request for a hearing, the department shall refer the hearing request to the Division of Administrative Hearings. Unless otherwise provided in this section or in s. 409.2563, chapter 120 and the uniform rules of procedure govern the conduct of the proceedings.
(d) The genetic-testing results shall be admitted into evidence and made a part of the hearing record. For purposes of this section, a statistical probability of paternity that equals or exceeds 99 percent creates a presumption, as defined in s. 90.304, that the putative father is the biological father of the child. The presumption may be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence. The respondent or the department may call an expert witness to refute or support the testing procedure or results or the mathematical theory on which they are based. Verified documentation of the chain of custody of the samples tested is competent evidence to establish the chain of custody.
(11) FINAL ORDER ESTABLISHING PATERNITY OR PATERNITY AND CHILD SUPPORT; CONSENT ORDER; NOTICE TO OFFICE OF VITAL STATISTICS.
(a) If a hearing is held, the administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings shall issue a final order that adjudicates paternity or, if appropriate, paternity and child support. A final order of the administrative law judge constitutes final agency action by the Department of Revenue. The Division of Administrative Hearings shall transmit any such order to the department for filing and rendering.
(b) If the respondent does not file a timely request for a hearing or consents in writing to entry of a final order without a hearing, the department may render a final order of paternity or a final order of paternity and child support, as appropriate.
(c) The department shall mail a copy of the final order to the putative father, the mother, and the caregiver, if any. The department shall notify the respondent of the right to seek judicial review of a final order in accordance with s. 120.68.
(d) Upon rendering a final order of paternity or a final order of paternity and child support, the department shall notify the Division of Vital Statistics of the Department of Health that the paternity of the child has been established.
(e) A final order rendered pursuant to this section has the same effect as a judgment entered by the court pursuant to chapter 742.
(f) The provisions of s. 409.2563 which apply to a final administrative support order rendered under that section apply to a final order rendered under this section when a child support obligation is established.
(12) RIGHT TO JUDICIAL REVIEW.A respondent has the right to seek judicial review, in accordance with s. 120.68, of a final order rendered under subsection (11) and an order issued under paragraph (5)(b). The department has the right to seek judicial review, in accordance with s. 120.68, of a final order issued by an administrative law judge under subsection (11) and an order issued by an administrative law judge under paragraph (5)(b).
(13) DUTY TO PROVIDE AND MAINTAIN CURRENT MAILING ADDRESS.Until a proceeding that has been commenced under this section has ended, a respondent who is served with a notice of proceeding must inform the department in writing of any change in the respondent’s mailing address and is deemed to have received any subsequent order, notice, or other paper mailed to that address, or the address at which the respondent was served, if the respondent has not provided a more recent address.
(14) PROCEEDINGS IN CIRCUIT COURT.The results of genetic testing performed pursuant to this section are admissible as evidence to the same extent as scientific testing ordered by the court pursuant to chapter 742.
(15) GENDER NEUTRAL.This section shall be construed impartially, regardless of a person’s gender, and applies with equal force to the mother of a child whose paternity has not been established and is not presumed by law.
(16) REMEDIES SUPPLEMENTAL.The remedies provided in this section are supplemental and in addition to other remedies available to the department for the establishment of paternity and child support obligations.
(17) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The department may adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 24, ch. 2005-39; s. 5, ch. 2008-92; s. 7, ch. 2010-187.
409.2561 Support obligations when public assistance is paid; assignment of rights; subrogation; medical and health insurance information.
(1) Any payment of temporary cash or Title IV-E assistance made to, or for the benefit of, any dependent child creates an obligation in an amount determined pursuant to the child support guidelines. In accordance with 42 U.S.C. s. 657, the state shall retain amounts collected only to the extent necessary to reimburse amounts paid to the family as assistance by the state. Such amounts collected shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund up to the level specified in s. 61.1812. If there has been a prior support order or final judgment of dissolution of marriage establishing an obligation of support, the obligation is limited to the amount provided by such support order or decree. The extraordinary remedy of contempt is applicable in child support enforcement cases because of the public necessity for ensuring that dependent children be maintained from the resources of their parents, thereby relieving, at least in part, the burden presently borne by the general citizenry through the public assistance program. If there is no prior support order, the court, or the department as provided by s. 409.2563, shall establish the liability of the obligor, if any, by applying the child support guidelines. The department may apply for modification of a support order on the same grounds as either party to the cause and shall have the right to settle and compromise actions brought pursuant to law.
(2)(a) By accepting temporary cash assistance or Title IV-E assistance, the recipient assigns to the department any right, title, and interest to support the recipient may be owed:
1. From any other person up to the amount of temporary cash assistance or Title IV-E assistance paid where no court order has been entered, or where there is a court order it is limited to the amount provided by such court order;
2. On the recipient’s own behalf or in behalf of another family member for whom the recipient is receiving temporary cash or Title IV-E assistance; and
3. At the time that the assignment becomes effective by operation of law.
(b) The recipient of public assistance appoints the department as her or his attorney in fact to act in her or his name, place, and stead to perform specific acts relating to the establishment of paternity or the establishment, modification, or enforcement of support obligations, including, but not limited to:
1. Endorsing any draft, check, money order, or other negotiable instrument representing support payments which are received on behalf of the dependent child as reimbursement for the public assistance moneys previously or currently paid;
2. Compromising claims;
3. Pursuing the establishment or modification of support obligations;
4. Pursuing civil and criminal enforcement of support obligations; and
5. Executing verified complaints for the purpose of instituting an action for the determination of paternity of a child born, or to be born, out of wedlock.
(3) The department shall be subrogated to the right of the dependent child or person having the care, custody, and control of the child to prosecute or maintain any support action or action to determine paternity or execute any legal, equitable, or administrative remedy existing under the laws of the state to obtain reimbursement of temporary cash assistance or Title IV-E assistance paid, being paid, or to be paid.
(4) No obligation of support under this section shall be incurred by any person who is the recipient of supplemental security income or temporary cash assistance for the benefit of a dependent child or who is incapacitated and financially unable to pay as determined by the department.
(5) With respect to cases for which there is an assignment in effect:
(a) The IV-D agency shall obtain basic medical support information for Medicaid recipients and applicants for Medicaid and provide this information to the state Medicaid agency for third-party liability purposes.
(b) When health insurance is obtained for the dependent child, the IV-D agency shall provide health insurance policy information, including any information available about the health insurance policy which would permit a claim to be filed or, in the case of a health maintenance or preferred provider organization, service to be provided, to the state Medicaid agency.
(c) The state Medicaid agency, upon receipt of the health insurance information from the IV-D agency, shall notify the insuring entity that the Medicaid agency must be notified within 30 days after the health insurance is discontinued.
(d) Entities providing health insurance as defined in s. 624.603 and health maintenance organizations and prepaid health clinics as defined in chapter 641 shall provide such records and information as is necessary to accomplish the purpose of this subsection, unless such requirement results in an unreasonable burden.
(e) Upon the state Medicaid agency receiving notice from the insuring entity that the health insurance is discontinued due to cancellation or other means, the Medicaid agency shall notify the IV-D agency of such discontinuance and the effective date. When appropriate, the IV-D agency shall then take action to bring the obligor before the court for enforcement.
History.s. 4, ch. 76-220; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 2, ch. 82-140; s. 2, ch. 85-178; s. 142, ch. 86-220; s. 16, ch. 87-95; s. 11, ch. 88-176; s. 7, ch. 89-183; s. 4, ch. 91-71; s. 6, ch. 94-124; s. 5, ch. 94-318; s. 254, ch. 96-406; s. 1020, ch. 97-103; s. 47, ch. 97-170; s. 23, ch. 98-397; s. 11, ch. 99-375; s. 29, ch. 2001-158; s. 11, ch. 2004-334; s. 25, ch. 2005-39; s. 9, ch. 2005-82; s. 5, ch. 2009-90.
409.2563 Administrative establishment of child support obligations.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Administrative support order” means a final order rendered by or on behalf of the department pursuant to this section establishing or modifying the obligation of a parent to contribute to the support and maintenance of his or her child or children, which may include provisions for monetary support, retroactive support, health care, and other elements of support pursuant to chapter 61.
(b) “Caregiver” means a person, other than the mother, father, or putative father, who has physical custody of the child or with whom the child primarily resides.
(c) “Filed” means a document has been received and accepted for filing at the offices of the department by the clerk or any authorized deputy clerk of the department. The date of filing must be indicated on the face of the document by the clerk or deputy clerk.
(d) “Financial affidavit” means an affidavit or written declaration as provided by s. 92.525(2) which shows an individual’s income, allowable deductions, net income, and other information needed to calculate the child support guideline amount under s. 61.30.
(e) “Rendered” means that a signed written order is filed with the clerk or any deputy clerk of the department and served on the respondent. The date of filing must be indicated on the face of the order at the time of rendition.
(f) “Title IV-D case” means a case or proceeding in which the department is providing child support services within the scope of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. ss. 651 et seq.
(g) “Retroactive support” means a child support obligation established pursuant to s. 61.30(17).

Other terms used in this section have the meanings ascribed in ss. 61.046 and 409.2554.

(2) PURPOSE AND SCOPE.
(a) It is not the Legislature’s intent to limit the jurisdiction of the circuit courts to hear and determine issues regarding child support. This section is intended to provide the department with an alternative procedure for establishing child support obligations in Title IV-D cases in a fair and expeditious manner when there is no court order of support. The procedures in this section are effective throughout the state and shall be implemented statewide.
(b) The administrative procedure set forth in this section concerns only the establishment of child support obligations. This section does not grant jurisdiction to the department or the Division of Administrative Hearings to hear or determine issues of dissolution of marriage, separation, alimony or spousal support, termination of parental rights, dependency, disputed paternity, except for a determination of paternity as provided in s. 409.256, or award of or change of time-sharing. This paragraph notwithstanding, the department and the Division of Administrative Hearings may make findings of fact that are necessary for a proper determination of a parent’s support obligation as authorized by this section.
(c) If there is no support order for a child in a Title IV-D case whose paternity has been established or is presumed by law, or whose paternity is the subject of a proceeding under s. 409.256, the department may establish a parent’s child support obligation pursuant to this section, s. 61.30, and other relevant provisions of state law. The parent’s obligation determined by the department may include any obligation to pay retroactive support and any obligation to provide for health care for a child, whether through insurance coverage, reimbursement of expenses, or both. The department may proceed on behalf of:
1. An applicant or recipient of public assistance, as provided by ss. 409.2561 and 409.2567;
2. A former recipient of public assistance, as provided by s. 409.2569;
3. An individual who has applied for services as provided by s. 409.2567;
4. Itself or the child, as provided by s. 409.2561; or
5. A state or local government of another state, as provided by chapter 88.
(d) Either parent, or a caregiver if applicable, may at any time file a civil action in a circuit court having jurisdiction and proper venue to determine parental support obligations, if any. A support order issued by a circuit court prospectively supersedes an administrative support order rendered by the department.
(e) Pursuant to paragraph (b), neither the department nor the Division of Administrative Hearings has jurisdiction to award or change child custody or rights of parental contact. Either parent may at any time file a civil action in a circuit having jurisdiction and proper venue for a determination of child custody and rights of parental contact.
(f) The department shall terminate the administrative proceeding and file an action in circuit court to determine support if within 20 days after receipt of the initial notice the parent from whom support is being sought requests in writing that the department proceed in circuit court or states in writing his or her intention to address issues concerning time-sharing or rights to parental contact in court and if within 10 days after receipt of the department’s petition and waiver of service the parent from whom support is being sought signs and returns the waiver of service form to the department.
(g) The notices and orders issued by the department under this section shall be written clearly and plainly.
(3) JURISDICTION OVER NONRESIDENTS.The department may use the procedures authorized by this section to establish a child support obligation against a nonresident over whom the state may assert personal jurisdiction under chapter 48 or chapter 88.
(4) NOTICE OF PROCEEDING TO ESTABLISH ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.To commence a proceeding under this section, the department shall provide to the parent from whom support is not being sought and serve the parent from whom support is being sought with a notice of proceeding to establish administrative support order and a blank financial affidavit form. The notice must state:
(a) The names of both parents, the name of the caregiver, if any, and the name and date of birth of the child or children;
(b) That the department intends to establish an administrative support order as defined in this section;
(c) That both parents must submit a completed financial affidavit to the department within 20 days after receiving the notice, as provided by paragraph (13)(a);
(d) That both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, are required to furnish to the department information regarding their identities and locations, as provided by paragraph (13)(b);
(e) That both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, are required to promptly notify the department of any change in their mailing addresses to ensure receipt of all subsequent pleadings, notices, and orders, as provided by paragraph (13)(c);
(f) That the department will calculate support obligations based on the child support guidelines schedule in s. 61.30 and using all available information, as provided by paragraph (5)(a), and will incorporate such obligations into a proposed administrative support order;
(g) That the department will send by regular mail to both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, a copy of the proposed administrative support order, the department’s child support worksheet, and any financial affidavits submitted by a parent or prepared by the department;
(h) That the parent from whom support is being sought may file a request for a hearing in writing within 20 days after the date of mailing or other service of the proposed administrative support order or will be deemed to have waived the right to request a hearing;
(i) That if the parent from whom support is being sought does not file a timely request for hearing after service of the proposed administrative support order, the department will issue an administrative support order that incorporates the findings of the proposed administrative support order, and will send by regular mail a copy of the administrative support order to both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable;
(j) That after an administrative support order is rendered, the department will file a copy of the order with the clerk of the circuit court;
(k) That after an administrative support order is rendered, the department may enforce the administrative support order by any lawful means;
(l) That either parent, or caregiver if applicable, may file at any time a civil action in a circuit court having jurisdiction and proper venue to determine parental support obligations, if any, and that a support order issued by a circuit court supersedes an administrative support order rendered by the department;
(m) That neither the department nor the Division of Administrative Hearings has jurisdiction to award or change child custody or rights of parental contact or time-sharing, and these issues may be addressed only in circuit court.
1. The parent from whom support is being sought may request in writing that the department proceed in circuit court to determine his or her support obligations.
2. The parent from whom support is being sought may state in writing to the department his or her intention to address issues concerning custody or rights to parental contact in circuit court.
3. If the parent from whom support is being sought submits the request authorized in subparagraph 1., or the statement authorized in subparagraph 2. to the department within 20 days after the receipt of the initial notice, the department shall file a petition in circuit court for the determination of the parent’s child support obligations, and shall send to the parent from whom support is being sought a copy of its petition, a notice of commencement of action, and a request for waiver of service of process as provided in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
4. If, within 10 days after receipt of the department’s petition and waiver of service, the parent from whom support is being sought signs and returns the waiver of service form to the department, the department shall terminate the administrative proceeding without prejudice and proceed in circuit court.
5. In any circuit court action filed by the department pursuant to this paragraph or filed by a parent from whom support is being sought or other person pursuant to paragraph (l) or paragraph (n), the department shall be a party only with respect to those issues of support allowed and reimbursable under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. It is the responsibility of the parent from whom support is being sought or other person to take the necessary steps to present other issues for the court to consider.
(n) That if the parent from whom support is being sought files an action in circuit court and serves the department with a copy of the petition within 20 days after being served notice under this subsection, the administrative process ends without prejudice and the action must proceed in circuit court;
(o) Information provided by the Office of State Courts Administrator concerning the availability and location of self-help programs for those who wish to file an action in circuit court but who cannot afford an attorney.

The department may serve the notice of proceeding to establish administrative support order by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Alternatively, the department may serve the notice by any means permitted for service of process in a civil action. For purposes of this section, an authorized employee of the department may serve the notice and execute an affidavit of service. Service by certified mail is completed when the certified mail is received or refused by the addressee or by an authorized agent as designated by the addressee in writing. If a person other than the addressee signs the return receipt, the department shall attempt to reach the addressee by telephone to confirm whether the notice was received, and the department shall document any telephonic communications. If someone other than the addressee signs the return receipt, the addressee does not respond to the notice, and the department is unable to confirm that the addressee has received the notice, service is not completed and the department shall attempt to have the addressee served personally. The department shall provide the parent from whom support is not being sought or the caregiver with a copy of the notice by regular mail to the last known address of the parent from whom support is not being sought or caregiver.

(5) PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.
(a) After serving notice upon a parent in accordance with subsection (4), the department shall calculate that parent’s child support obligation under the child support guidelines schedule as provided by s. 61.30, based on any timely financial affidavits received and other information available to the department. If either parent fails to comply with the requirement to furnish a financial affidavit, the department may proceed on the basis of information available from any source, if such information is sufficiently reliable and detailed to allow calculation of guideline schedule amounts under s. 61.30. If a parent receives public assistance and fails to submit a financial affidavit, the department may submit a financial affidavit or written declaration for that parent pursuant to s. 61.30(15). If there is a lack of sufficient reliable information concerning a parent’s actual earnings for a current or past period, it shall be presumed for the purpose of establishing a support obligation that the parent had an earning capacity equal to the federal minimum wage during the applicable period.
(b) The department shall send by regular mail to both parents, or to a parent and caregiver if applicable, copies of the proposed administrative support order, its completed child support worksheet, and any financial affidavits submitted by a parent or prepared by the department. The proposed administrative support order must contain the same elements as required for an administrative support order under paragraph (7)(e).
(c) The department shall provide a notice of rights with the proposed administrative support order, which notice must inform the parent from whom support is being sought that:
1. The parent from whom support is being sought may, within 20 days after the date of mailing or other service of the proposed administrative support order, request a hearing by filing a written request for hearing in a form and manner specified by the department;
2. If the parent from whom support is being sought files a timely request for a hearing, the case shall be transferred to the Division of Administrative Hearings, which shall conduct further proceedings and may enter an administrative support order;
3. A parent from whom support is being sought who fails to file a timely request for a hearing shall be deemed to have waived the right to a hearing, and the department may render an administrative support order pursuant to paragraph (7)(b);
4. The parent from whom support is being sought may consent in writing to entry of an administrative support order without a hearing;
5. The parent from whom support is being sought may, within 10 days after the date of mailing or other service of the proposed administrative support order, contact a department representative, at the address or telephone number specified in the notice, to informally discuss the proposed administrative support order and, if informal discussions are requested timely, the time for requesting a hearing will be extended until 10 days after the department notifies the parent that the informal discussions have been concluded; and
6. If an administrative support order that establishes a parent’s support obligation is rendered, whether after a hearing or without a hearing, the department may enforce the administrative support order by any lawful means.
(d) If, after serving the proposed administrative support order but before a final administrative support order is rendered, the department receives additional information that makes it necessary to amend the proposed administrative support order, it shall prepare an amended proposed administrative support order, with accompanying amended child support worksheets and other material necessary to explain the changes, and follow the same procedures set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c).
(6) HEARING.If the parent from whom support is being sought files a timely request for hearing or the department determines that an evidentiary hearing is appropriate, the department shall refer the proceeding to the Division of Administrative Hearings. Unless otherwise provided by this section, chapter 120 and the Uniform Rules of Procedure shall govern the conduct of the proceedings. The administrative law judge shall consider all available and admissible information and any presumptions that apply as provided by paragraph (5)(a).
(7) ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.
(a) If a hearing is held, the administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings shall issue an administrative support order, or a final order denying an administrative support order, which constitutes final agency action by the department. The Division of Administrative Hearings shall transmit any such order to the department for filing and rendering.
(b) If the parent from whom support is being sought does not file a timely request for a hearing, the parent will be deemed to have waived the right to request a hearing.
(c) If the parent from whom support is being sought waives the right to a hearing, or consents in writing to the entry of an order without a hearing, the department may render an administrative support order.
(d) The department shall send by regular mail a copy of the administrative support order, or the final order denying an administrative support order, to both parents, or a parent and caregiver if applicable. The parent from whom support is being sought shall be notified of the right to seek judicial review of the administrative support order in accordance with s. 120.68.
(e) An administrative support order must comply with ss. 61.13(1) and 61.30. The department shall develop a standard form or forms for administrative support orders. An administrative support order must provide and state findings, if applicable, concerning:
1. The full name and date of birth of the child or children;
2. The name of the parent from whom support is being sought and the other parent or caregiver;
3. The parent’s duty and ability to provide support;
4. The amount of the parent’s monthly support obligation;
5. Any obligation to pay retroactive support;
6. The parent’s obligation to provide for the health care needs of each child, whether through health insurance, contribution toward the cost of health insurance, payment or reimbursement of health care expenses for the child, or any combination thereof;
7. The beginning date of any required monthly payments and health insurance;
8. That all support payments ordered must be paid to the Florida State Disbursement Unit as provided by s. 61.1824;
9. That the parents, or caregiver if applicable, must file with the department when the administrative support order is rendered, if they have not already done so, and update as appropriate the information required pursuant to paragraph (13)(b);
10. That both parents, or parent and caregiver if applicable, are required to promptly notify the department of any change in their mailing addresses pursuant to paragraph (13)(c); and
11. That if the parent ordered to pay support receives unemployment compensation benefits, the payor shall withhold, and transmit to the department, 40 percent of the benefits for payment of support, not to exceed the amount owed.

An income deduction order as provided by s. 61.1301 must be incorporated into the administrative support order or, if not incorporated into the administrative support order, the department or the Division of Administrative Hearings shall render a separate income deduction order.

(8) FILING WITH THE CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT; OFFICIAL PAYMENT RECORD; JUDGMENT BY OPERATION OF LAW.The department shall file with the clerk of the circuit court a certified copy of an administrative support order rendered under this section. The depository operated pursuant to s. 61.181 for the county where the administrative support order has been filed shall:
(a) Act as the official recordkeeper for payments required under the administrative support order;
(b) Establish and maintain the necessary payment accounts;
(c) Upon a delinquency, initiate the judgment by operation of law procedure as provided by s. 61.14(6); and
(d) Perform all other duties required of a depository with respect to a support order entered by a court of this state.

When a proceeding to establish an administrative support order is commenced under subsection (4), the department shall file a copy of the initial notice with the depository. The depository shall assign an account number and provide the account number to the department within 4 business days after the initial notice is filed.

(9) COLLECTION ACTION; ENFORCEMENT.
(a) The department may implement an income deduction notice immediately upon rendition of an income deduction order, whether it is incorporated in the administrative support order or rendered separately.
(b) The department may initiate other collection action 15 days after the date an administrative support order is rendered under this section.
(c) In a subsequent proceeding to enforce an administrative support order, notice of the proceeding that is sent by regular mail to the person’s address of record furnished to the department constitutes adequate notice of the proceeding pursuant to paragraph (13)(c).
(d) An administrative support order rendered under this section has the same force and effect as a court order and, until modified by the department or superseded by a court order, may be enforced:
1. In any manner permitted for enforcement of a support order issued by a court of this state, except for contempt; or
2. Pursuant to s. 120.69.
(10) JUDICIAL REVIEW, ENFORCEMENT, OR COURT ORDER SUPERSEDING ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.
(a) The obligor has the right to seek judicial review of an administrative support order or a final order denying an administrative support order in accordance with s. 120.68. The department has the right to seek judicial review, in accordance with s. 120.68, of an administrative support order or a final order denying an administrative support order entered by an administrative law judge of the Division of Administrative Hearings.
(b) An administrative support order rendered under this section has the same force and effect as a court order and may be enforced by any circuit court in the same manner as a support order issued by the court, except for contempt. If the circuit court issues its own order enforcing the administrative support order, the circuit court may enforce its own order by contempt. The presumption of ability to pay and purge contempt established in s. 61.14(5)(a) applies to an administrative support order that includes a finding of present ability to pay. Enforcement by the court, without any change by the court in the support obligations established in the administrative support order, does not supersede the administrative support order or affect the department’s authority to modify the administrative support order as provided by subsection (12). An order by the court that requires a parent to make periodic payments on arrearages does not constitute a change in the support obligations established in the administrative support order and does not supersede the administrative order.
(c) A circuit court of this state, where venue is proper and the court has jurisdiction of the parties, may enter an order prospectively changing the support obligations established in an administrative support order, in which case the administrative support order is superseded and the court’s order shall govern future proceedings in the case. Any unpaid support owed under the superseded administrative support order may not be retroactively modified by the circuit court, except as provided by s. 61.14(1)(a), and remains enforceable by the department, by the obligee, or by the court. In all cases in which an administrative support order is superseded, the court shall determine the amount of any unpaid support owed under the administrative support order and shall include the amount as arrearage in its superseding order.
(11) EFFECTIVENESS OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.An administrative support order rendered under this section has the same force and effect as a court order and remains in effect until modified by the department, vacated on appeal, or superseded by a subsequent court order. If the department closes a Title IV-D case in which an administrative support order has been rendered:
(a) The department shall take no further action to enforce or modify the administrative support order;
(b) The administrative support order remains effective until superseded by a subsequent court order; and
(c) The administrative support order may be enforced by the obligee by any means provided by law.
(12) MODIFICATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT ORDER.If it has not been superseded by a subsequent court order, the department may modify, suspend, or terminate an administrative support order in a Title IV-D case prospectively, subject to the requirements for modifications of judicial support orders established in chapters 61 and 409, by following the same procedures set forth in this section for establishing an administrative support order, as applicable.
(13) REQUIRED DISCLOSURES; PRESUMPTIONS; NOTICE SENT TO ADDRESS OF RECORD.In all proceedings pursuant to this section:
(a) Each parent must execute and furnish to the department, no later than 20 days after receipt of the notice of proceeding to establish administrative support order, a financial affidavit in the form prescribed by the department. An updated financial affidavit must be executed and furnished to the department at the inception of each proceeding to modify an administrative support order. A caregiver is not required to furnish a financial affidavit.
(b) Each parent and caregiver, if applicable, shall disclose to the department, no later than 20 days after receipt of the notice of proceeding to establish administrative support order, and update as appropriate, information regarding his or her identity and location, including names he or she is known by; social security number; residential and mailing addresses; telephone numbers; driver’s license numbers; and names, addresses, and telephone numbers of employers. Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each person must provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement.
(c) Each parent and caregiver, if applicable, has a continuing obligation to promptly inform the department in writing of any change in his or her mailing address to ensure receipt of all subsequent pleadings, notices, payments, statements, and orders, and receipt is presumed if sent by regular mail to the most recent address furnished by the person.
(14) JUDICIAL PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS.A party to any subsequent judicial proceeding concerning the support of the same child or children shall affirmatively plead the existence of, and furnish the court with a correct copy of, an administrative support order rendered under this section, and shall provide the department with a copy of the initial pleading. The department may intervene as a matter of right in any such judicial proceeding involving issues within the scope of the Title IV-D case.
(15) PROVISIONS SUPPLEMENTAL TO EXISTING LAW.This section does not limit or negate the department’s authority to seek establishment of child support obligations under any other applicable law.
(16) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The department may adopt rules to administer this section.
History.s. 30, ch. 2001-158; s. 10, ch. 2002-173; s. 3, ch. 2002-239; s. 12, ch. 2004-334; s. 65, ch. 2005-2; s. 26, ch. 2005-39; s. 21, ch. 2008-61; s. 56, ch. 2009-21; s. 6, ch. 2009-90; s. 8, ch. 2010-187.
409.25635 Determination and collection of noncovered medical expenses.
(1) DEFINITION.As used in this section, “noncovered medical expenses” means uninsured medical, dental, or prescription medication expenses that are ordered to be paid on behalf of a child as provided in s. 61.13(1)(b) or a similar law of another state.
(2) PROCEEDING TO DETERMINE AMOUNT OWED FOR NONCOVERED MEDICAL EXPENSES.In a Title IV-D case, the Department of Revenue may proceed under this section to determine the amount owed by an obligor for noncovered medical expenses if:
(a) The obligor is subject to a support order that requires the obligor to pay all or part of a child’s noncovered medical expenses.
(b) The obligee provides the department with a written declaration under penalty of perjury that states:
1. Noncovered medical expenses have been incurred on behalf of the dependent child whom the obligor has been ordered to support.
2. The obligee has paid for noncovered medical expenses that have been incurred on behalf of the child.
3. The obligor has not paid all or part of the child’s noncovered medical expenses as ordered.
4. The amount paid by the obligee for noncovered medical expenses and the amount the obligor allegedly owes to the obligee.
(c) The obligee provides documentation in support of the written declaration.
(3) NOTICE OF PROCEEDING.
(a) To proceed under this section, the Department of Revenue shall serve a notice on the obligor that states:
1. That the department has commenced a proceeding to determine the amount the obligor owes for noncovered medical expenses.
2. The name of the court or other tribunal that issued the support order that requires the obligor to pay noncovered medical expenses and the date of the order.
3. That the proceeding is based on the requirements of the support order, the obligee’s written sworn statement, and the supporting documentation provided to the department by the obligee.
4. The amount of noncovered medical expenses that the obligee alleges the obligor owes.
5. If the support order was entered by a court of this state or a tribunal of another state, that the obligor may file a motion in the circuit court to contest the amount of noncovered medical expenses owed within 25 days after the date of mailing of the notice or, if the support order was entered by the department, that the obligor may file with the department a petition to contest within 25 days after the date of mailing of the notice.
6. If the support order was entered by a court of this state or a tribunal of another state, that the court shall determine the amount owed by the obligor and enter judgment as appropriate if the obligor timely files a motion in the circuit court to contest the amount of noncovered medical expenses owed or, if the support order was entered by the department, the department shall determine the amount owed by the obligor and render a final order as appropriate if the obligor timely files with the department a petition to contest the amount of noncovered medical expenses owed.
7. If the obligor does not timely file a motion or petition to contest the amount alleged to be owed, that the obligor shall owe the amount alleged in the notice.
8. If an amount owed is determined after a hearing or becomes final because the obligor does not file a timely motion or petition to contest, the department shall begin collection action.
(b) The notice shall be served on the obligor by regular mail that is sent to the obligor’s address of record according to the clerk of the court or according to the Department of Revenue if the support order was entered by the department or to a more recent address if known. A copy of the obligee’s written declaration and supporting documentation must be served on the obligor with the notice. The department shall provide the obligee with a copy of the notice and with any subsequent notice of hearing.
(4) RIGHT TO HEARING; DETERMINATION AFTER HEARING; WAIVER OF HEARING.
(a) Within 25 days after the date the notice required by subsection (3) is mailed, if the support order was entered by a court of this state or a tribunal of another state, the obligor may file a motion in the circuit court to contest the amount of noncovered medical expenses owed. If a timely motion is filed, the court shall determine after a hearing whether the obligor owes the obligee the amount alleged for noncovered medical expenses and enter a judgment, as appropriate.
(b) Within 25 days after the date the notice required by subsection (3) is mailed, if the support order was entered by the Department of Revenue, the obligor may file with the department a petition to contest the amount of noncovered medical expenses owed. If a timely petition is filed, the department shall determine after a hearing pursuant to chapter 120 whether the obligor owes the obligee for the amount alleged for noncovered medical expenses and render a final order, as appropriate.
(c) If the obligor does not timely file a motion or petition to contest, the amount owed as alleged in the notice becomes final and is legally enforceable.
(5) EFFECT OF DETERMINATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND UNCONTESTED PROCEEDINGS.The amount owed for noncovered medical expenses that is determined by the Department of Revenue as provided in paragraph (4)(b) or that becomes final as provided in paragraph (4)(c) has the same effect as a judgment entered by a court.
(6) FILING WITH THE DEPOSITORY; RECORDING; MAINTENANCE OF ACCOUNTS.When an amount owed for noncovered medical expenses is determined, the department shall file a certified copy of the final order or uncontested notice with the depository. Upon receipt of a final order or uncontested notice, the depository shall record the final order or uncontested notice in the same manner as a final judgment. The depository shall maintain necessary accounts to reflect obligations and payments for noncovered medical expenses.
(7) COLLECTION ACTION; ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES.Any administrative remedy available for collection of support may be used to collect noncovered medical expenses that are determined or established under this section. The department may collect noncovered medical expenses in installments by adding a periodic payment to an income deduction notice issued by the department.
(8) SUPPLEMENTAL REMEDY.This section provides a supplemental remedy for determining and enforcing noncovered medical expenses. As an alternative, the department or any other party may petition the circuit court for enforcement of noncovered medical expenses.
(9) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The department may adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 27, ch. 2005-39; s. 9, ch. 2010-187.
409.2564 Actions for support.
(1) In each case in which regular support payments are not being made as provided herein, the department shall institute, within 30 days after determination of the obligor’s reasonable ability to pay, action as is necessary to secure the obligor’s payment of current support and any arrearage which may have accrued under an existing order of support. The department shall notify the program attorney in the judicial circuit in which the recipient resides setting forth the facts in the case, including the obligor’s address, if known, and the public assistance case number. Whenever applicable, the procedures established under the provisions of chapter 88, Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, chapter 61, Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-sharing, chapter 39, Proceedings Relating to Children, chapter 984, Children and Families in Need of Services, and chapter 985, Delinquency; Interstate Compact on Juveniles, may govern actions instituted under the provisions of this act, except that actions for support under chapter 39, chapter 984, or chapter 985 brought pursuant to this act shall not require any additional investigation or supervision by the department.
(2) The order for support entered pursuant to an action instituted by the department under the provisions of subsection (1) shall require that the support payments be made periodically to the department through the depository. Upon receipt of a payment made by the obligor pursuant to any order of the court, the depository shall transmit the payment to the department within 2 working days, except those payments made by personal check which shall be disbursed in accordance with s. 61.181. Upon request, the depository shall furnish to the department a certified statement of all payments made by the obligor. Such statement shall be provided by the depository at no cost to the department.
(3) When it is no longer authorized to receive payments for the obligee, the department shall notify the depository to redirect income deduction payments to the obligee.
(4) Whenever the Department of Revenue has undertaken an action for enforcement of support, the Department of Revenue may enter into an agreement with the obligor for the entry of a judgment determining paternity, if applicable, and for periodic child support payments based on the child support guidelines schedule in s. 61.30. Before entering into this agreement, the obligor shall be informed that a judgment will be entered based on the agreement. The clerk of the court shall file the agreement without the payment of any fees or charges, and the court, upon entry of the judgment, shall forward a copy of the judgment to the parties to the action.
(5) Whenever the department has undertaken an action to determine paternity, to establish an obligation of support, or to enforce or modify an obligation of support, the department shall be a party to the action only for those purposes allowed under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The program attorney shall be the attorney of record solely for the purposes of support enforcement as authorized under Title IV-D and may prosecute only those activities which are eligible for federal financial participation under Title IV-D. An attorney-client relationship exists only between the department and the legal services providers in all Title IV-D cases. The attorney shall advise the obligee in Title IV-D cases that the attorney represents the agency and not the obligee.
(6) The department and its officers, employees, and agents and all persons and agencies acting pursuant to contract with the department are immune from liability in tort for actions taken to establish, enforce, or modify support obligations if such actions are taken in good faith, with apparent legal authority, without malicious purpose, and in a manner not exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of rights or property of another.
(7) The director of the department, or the director’s designee, is authorized to subpoena from any person financial and other information necessary to establish, modify, or enforce a child support order.
(a) For the purpose of establishing or modifying a child support order, or enforcing a support order, the director of the department or another state’s Title IV-D agency, or any employee designated by the director of the department or authorized under another state’s law, may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, take evidence and require the production of any matter which is relevant to the support action, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of material evidence.
(b) Subpoenas issued by the department or another state’s Title IV-D agency may be challenged in accordance with s. 120.569(2)(k)1. While a subpoena is being challenged, the department may not impose a fine as provided for under paragraph (c) until the challenge is complete and the subpoena has been found to be valid.
(c) The department is authorized to impose a fine for failure to comply with a subpoena. Failure to comply with the subpoena, or to challenge the subpoena as provided in paragraph (b), within 15 days after service of the subpoena may result in the agency taking the following actions:
1. Imposition of an administrative fine of not more than $500.
2. Enforcement of the subpoena as provided in s. 120.569(2)(k)2. When the subpoena is enforced pursuant to s. 120.569(2)(k)2., the court may award costs and fees to the prevailing party in accordance with that section.
(d) The department may seek to collect administrative fines imposed pursuant to paragraph (c) by filing a petition in the circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the person against whom the fine was imposed resides. All fines collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the Child Support Enforcement Application and Program Revenue Trust Fund.
(8) In cases in which support is subject to an assignment as provided under 45 C.F.R. s. 301.1, the department shall, upon providing notice to the obligor and obligee, direct the obligor or other payor to change the payee to the appropriate depository.
(9)(a) For the purpose of securing delinquent support, the department may increase the amount of the monthly support obligation to include amounts for delinquencies, subject to such conditions or limitations as set forth in paragraph (b).
(b) In support obligations not subject to income deduction, the department shall notify the obligor of his or her delinquency and of the department’s intent to require an additional 20 percent of the monthly obligation amount to allow for collection of the delinquency unless, within 20 days, the obligor:
1. Pays the delinquency in full; or
2. Files a petition with the circuit court to contest the delinquency action.
(10) For the purposes of denial, revocation, or limitation of an obligor’s United States passport, consistent with 42 U.S.C. s. 652(k)(1), the department shall have procedures to certify to the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that an obligor owes arrearages of support in an amount exceeding $2,500. Said procedures shall provide that the obligor be given notice of the determination and of the consequence thereof and an opportunity to contest the accuracy of the determination.
(11)(a) The Department of Revenue shall review child support orders in IV-D cases at least once every 3 years when requested by either party, or when support rights are assigned to the state under s. 414.095(7), and may seek modification of the order if appropriate under the child support guidelines in s. 61.30. Not less than once every 3 years the department shall provide notice to the parties subject to the order informing them of their right to request a review and, if appropriate, a modification of the child support order. The notice requirement may be met by including appropriate language in the initial support order or any subsequent orders.
(b) If the department’s review of a support order entered by the circuit court indicates that the order should be modified, the department, through counsel, shall file a petition to modify the order with the court. Along with the petition, the department shall file a child support guideline worksheet, any financial affidavits or written declarations, pursuant to s. 61.30(15), received from the parties or completed by the department as part of the support order review, a proposed modified order that includes findings as to the source and amount of income, and a notice that informs the parties of the requirement to file an objection or a request for hearing with the court if the party wants a court hearing on the petition to modify. A copy of the petition, proposed order, and other documents shall be served by regular mail on a party who requested the support order review. A party that did not request the support order review shall be served personally in any manner authorized under chapter 48.
(c) To obtain a court hearing on a petition to modify a support order, a party who is served by regular mail must file an objection to the proposed order or a request for hearing with the court within 30 days after the date on which the petition, proposed order, and other documents were mailed. If a party is served personally, to obtain a court hearing on a petition to modify the party must file an objection to the proposed order or a request for hearing with the court within 30 days after the date of receipt of the petition, proposed order, and other documents.
(d) If a timely objection or request for hearing is not filed with the court, the court may modify the support order without a hearing in accordance with the terms of the proposed order.
(e) If a support order does not provide for payment of noncovered medical expenses or require health insurance for the minor child and health insurance is accessible to the child and available at a reasonable cost, the department shall seek to have the order modified and any modification shall be made without a requirement for proof or showing of a change in circumstances.
(12)(a) When the department files a petition for modification of a child support order and the petition is accompanied with a verified motion signed by the department to redirect payment alleging that:
1. The child is residing with a relative caretaker as defined in s. 414.0252 and the relative caretaker receives temporary cash assistance as defined in s. 414.0252; or
2. The child was formerly residing with a relative caretaker as defined in s. 414.0252, the child support payments were redirected to the relative caretaker, and the child is now residing with the original payee,

then the court shall enter a temporary order, ex parte, within 5 days that redirects the child support payments to the relative caretaker or original payee pending a final hearing and may grant such relief as the court deems proper. Upon the filing of a verified motion by the department to redirect payment, the relative caretaker is deemed a party to the proceedings.

(b) In the event that it is subsequently determined by the court that the child support payments were improperly diverted, the department shall pay the improperly diverted child support payments to the appropriate party and shall attempt to recoup any child support improperly paid.
(13) The department shall have the authority to adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 5, ch. 76-220; s. 143, ch. 86-220; s. 20, ch. 92-138; s. 12, ch. 95-222; s. 89, ch. 96-175; s. 48, ch. 97-170; s. 39, ch. 98-280; s. 24, ch. 98-397; ss. 12, 13, ch. 99-375; s. 54, ch. 2000-153; s. 93, ch. 2000-165; s. 31, ch. 2001-158; ss. 28, 29, ch. 2005-39; s. 1, ch. 2005-61; s. 4, ch. 2007-85; s. 22, ch. 2008-61; s. 10, ch. 2010-187.
409.25641 Procedures for processing interstate enforcement requests.The department shall use automated administrative enforcement as provided in 42 U.S.C. s. 666(a)(14)(A) to respond to a request from another state to enforce a support order and shall promptly report the results of the enforcement action to the requesting state.
History.s. 49, ch. 97-170; s. 25, ch. 98-397; s. 14, ch. 99-375; s. 5, ch. 2007-85.
409.2565 Publication of delinquent obligors.For support orders that are being enforced by the department, the department may compile and make available for publication a listing of cases in which payment of the support obligation is overdue. Each case on the list may be identified only by the name of the support obligor, the support obligor’s court order docket or case number, the county in which the obligor’s support order is filed, the arrearage amount, and a photograph. The department need not give prior notice to the obligor of the publication and listing of cases.
History.s. 3, ch. 95-222; s. 33, ch. 2001-158.
409.25656 Garnishment.
(1) If a person has a support obligation which is subject to enforcement by the department as the state Title IV-D program, the executive director or his or her designee may give notice of past due and/or overdue support by registered mail to all persons who have in their possession or under their control any credits or personal property, including wages, belonging to the support obligor, or owing any debts to the support obligor at the time of receipt by them of such notice. Thereafter, any person who has been notified may not transfer or make any other disposition, up to the amount provided for in the notice, of such credits, other personal property, or debts until the executive director or his or her designee consents to a transfer or disposition, or until 60 days after the receipt of such notice. If the obligor contests the intended levy in the circuit court or under chapter 120, the notice under this section shall remain in effect until final disposition of that circuit court or chapter 120 action. Any financial institution receiving such notice will maintain a right of setoff for any transaction involving a debit card occurring on or before the date of receipt of such notice.
(2) Each person who is notified under this section must, within 5 days after receipt of the notice, advise the executive director or his or her designee of the credits, other personal property, or debts in their possession, under their control, or owed by them and must advise the executive director or designee within 5 days of coming into possession or control of any subsequent credits, personal property, or debts owed during the time prescribed by the notice. Any such person coming into possession or control of such subsequent credits, personal property, or debts shall not transfer or dispose of them during the time prescribed by the notice or until the department consents to a transfer.
(3) During the last 30 days of the 60-day period set forth in subsection (1), the executive director or his or her designee may levy upon such credits, personal property, or debts. The levy must be accomplished by delivery of a notice of levy by registered mail, upon receipt of which the person possessing the credits, other personal property, or debts shall transfer them to the department or pay to the department the amount owed by the obligor. If the department levies upon securities and the value of the securities is less than the total amount of past due or overdue support, the person who possesses or controls the securities shall liquidate the securities in a commercially reasonable manner. After liquidation, the person shall transfer to the department the proceeds, less any applicable commissions or fees, or both, which are charged in the normal course of business. If the value of the securities exceeds the total amount of past due or overdue support, the obligor may, within 7 days after receipt of the department’s notice of levy, instruct the person who possesses or controls the securities which securities are to be sold to satisfy the obligation for past due or overdue support. If the obligor does not provide instructions for liquidation, the person who possesses or controls the securities shall liquidate the securities in a commercially reasonable manner in an amount sufficient to cover the obligation for past due or overdue support and any applicable commissions or fees, or both, which are charged in the normal course of business, beginning with the securities purchased most recently. After liquidation, the person who possesses or controls the securities shall transfer to the department the total amount of past due or overdue support.
(4) A notice that is delivered under this section is effective at the time of delivery against all credits, other personal property, or debts of the obligor which are not at the time of such notice subject to an attachment, garnishment, or execution issued through a judicial process.
(5) The department is authorized to bring an action in circuit court for an order compelling compliance with any notice issued under this section.
(6) Any person acting in accordance with the terms of the notice or levy issued by the executive director or his or her designee is expressly discharged from any obligation or liability to the obligor with respect to such credits, other personal property, or debts of the obligor affected by compliance with the notice of freeze or levy.
(7)(a) Levy may be made under subsection (3) upon credits, other personal property, or debt of any person with respect to any past due or overdue support obligation only after the executive director or his or her designee has notified such person in writing of the intention to make such levy.
(b) Not less than 30 days before the day of the levy, the notice of intent to levy required under paragraph (a) must be given in person or sent by certified or registered mail to the person’s last known address.
(c) The notice required in paragraph (a) must include a brief statement that sets forth:
1. The provisions of this section relating to levy and sale of property;
2. The procedures applicable to the levy under this section;
3. The administrative and judicial appeals available to the obligor with respect to such levy and sale, and the procedures relating to such appeals; and
4. The alternatives, if any, available to the obligor which could prevent levy on the property.
(d) The obligor may consent in writing to the levy at any time after receipt of a notice of intent to levy.
(8) An obligor may contest the notice of intent to levy provided for under subsection (7) by filing a petition in the existing circuit court case. Alternatively, the obligor may file a petition under the applicable provisions of chapter 120. After an action has been initiated under chapter 120 to contest the notice of intent to levy, an action relating to the same levy may not be filed by the obligor in circuit court, and judicial review is exclusively limited to appellate review pursuant to s. 120.68. Also, after an action has been initiated in circuit court, an action may not be brought under chapter 120.
(9) An action may not be brought to contest a notice of intent to levy under chapter 120 or in circuit court, later than 21 days after the date of receipt of the notice of intent to levy.
(10) The department shall provide notice to the Chief Financial Officer, in electronic or other form specified by the Chief Financial Officer, listing the obligors for whom warrants are outstanding. Pursuant to subsection (1), the Chief Financial Officer shall, upon notice from the department, withhold all payments to any obligor who provides commodities or services to the state, leases real property to the state, or constructs a public building or public work for the state. The department may levy upon the withheld payments in accordance with subsection (3). Section 215.422 does not apply from the date the notice is filed with the Chief Financial Officer until the date the department notifies the Chief Financial Officer of its consent to make payment to the person or 60 days after receipt of the department’s notice in accordance with subsection (1), whichever occurs earlier.
(11) The Department of Revenue has the authority to adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 90, ch. 96-175; s. 12, ch. 96-189; s. 51, ch. 97-170; s. 15, ch. 99-375; ss. 34, 35, ch. 2001-158; s. 11, ch. 2002-173; s. 443, ch. 2003-261; s. 13, ch. 2004-334.
409.25657 Requirements for financial institutions.
(1) Definitions.For purposes of this section, reference is made to 42 U.S.C. s. 669A:
(a) “Financial institution” means:
1. A depository institution, as defined in s. 3(c) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, 12 U.S.C. s. 1813(c);
2. An institution-affiliated party, as defined in s. 3(u) of such act, 12 U.S.C. s. 1813(u);
3. Any federal credit union or state credit union, as defined in s. 101 of the Federal Credit Union Act, 12 U.S.C. s. 1752, including an institution-affiliated party of such a credit union, as defined in s. 206(r) of such act, 12 U.S.C. s. 1786(r); and
4. Any benefit association, insurance company, safe deposit company, money-market mutual fund, or similar entity authorized to do business in the state.
(b) An “account” means a demand deposit account, checking or negotiable withdrawal order account, savings account, time deposit account, or money-market mutual fund account.
(2) The department shall develop procedures to enter into agreements with financial institutions doing business in the state, in coordination with such financial institutions and with the Federal Parent Locator Service in the case of financial institutions doing business in two or more states, to develop and operate a data match system, using automated data exchanges to the maximum extent feasible, in which each financial institution is required to provide for each calendar quarter the name, record address, social security number or other taxpayer identification number, average daily account balance, and other identifying information for:
(a) Each parent who maintains an account at such institution and who owes past due support, as identified by the department by name and social security number or other taxpayer identification number; or
(b) At the financial institution’s option, each individual who maintains an account at such institution. Use of this information shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement.
(3) The department shall pay a reasonable fee to a financial institution for conducting the data match provided for in subsection (2), not to exceed the actual costs incurred by such financial institution.
(4) A financial institution shall not be liable to any person nor shall it be required to provide notice to its customers:
(a) For disclosure of any information as required under this section;
(b) For encumbering or surrendering any assets held by such financial institution in response to a notice of lien or levy issued by the department;
(c) For disclosing any information in connection with a data match; or
(d) For any other action taken in good faith to comply with the requirements of this section.
(5) Any financial records obtained pursuant to this section may be disclosed only for the purpose of, and to the extent necessary in, establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support obligation of such individual.
(6) The Department of Revenue may adopt rules for establishing the procedures for automated data matches with financial institutions.
History.s. 52, ch. 97-170; s. 16, ch. 99-375; s. 36, ch. 2001-158; s. 23, ch. 2008-61.
409.25658 Use of unclaimed property for past due support.
(1) In a joint effort to facilitate the collection and payment of past due support, the Department of Revenue, in cooperation with the Department of Financial Services, shall identify persons owing support collected through a court who are presumed to have unclaimed property held by the Department of Financial Services.
(2) The department shall periodically provide the Department of Financial Services with an electronic file of support obligors who owe past due support. The Department of Financial Services shall conduct a data match of the file against all apparent owners of unclaimed property under chapter 717 and provide the resulting match list to the department.
(3) Upon receipt of the data match list, the department shall provide to the Department of Financial Services the obligor’s last known address. The Department of Financial Services shall follow the notification procedures under s. 717.118.
(4) Prior to paying an obligor’s approved claim, the Department of Financial Services shall notify the department that such claim has been approved. Upon confirmation that the Department of Financial Services has approved the claim, the department shall immediately send a notice by certified mail to the obligor, with a copy to the Department of Financial Services, advising the obligor of the department’s intent to intercept the approved claim up to the amount of the past due support, and informing the obligor of the obligor’s right to request a hearing under chapter 120. The Department of Financial Services shall retain custody of the property until a final order has been entered and any appeals thereon have been concluded. If the obligor fails to request a hearing, the department shall enter a final order instructing the Department of Financial Services to transfer to the department the property in the amount stated in the final order. Upon such transfer, the Department of Financial Services shall be released from further liability related to the transferred property.
(5) The provisions of this section provide a supplemental remedy, and the department may use this remedy in conjunction with any other method of collecting support.
History.s. 26, ch. 98-397; s. 37, ch. 2001-158; s. 12, ch. 2002-173; s. 444, ch. 2003-261.
409.25659 Insurance claim data exchange.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Insurer” means an entity that is responsible for paying a claim on liability coverage in an insurance contract and is:
1. An insurer, as defined in s. 624.03, authorized to transact insurance in this state;
2. An eligible surplus lines insurer pursuant to part VIII of chapter 626;
3. A joint underwriter or joint reinsurer created by law or otherwise operating pursuant to s. 627.311; or
4. An insurance risk apportionment plan operating pursuant to s. 627.351.
(b) “Claim” means an open, unresolved bodily injury claim on liability coverage in excess of $3,000 in an insurance contract payable to an individual, or to a third party for the benefit of the individual, who is a resident of this state or who had an accident or loss that occurred in this state or who has an outstanding child support obligation in this state.
(2) The department shall develop and operate a data match system after consultation with one or more insurers, using automated data exchanges to the maximum extent feasible, in which an insurer may voluntarily provide the department monthly with the name, address, and, if known, date of birth and social security number or other taxpayer identification number for each parent who has a claim with the insurer and who owes past due support, and the claim number maintained by the insurer for each claim. An insurer may provide such data by:
(a) Authorizing an insurance claim data collection organization, to which the insurer subscribes and to which the insurer submits the required claim data on at least a monthly basis, to:
1. Receive or access a data file from the department and conduct a data match of all parents who have a claim with the insurer and who owe past due support and submit the required data for each such parent to the department; or
2. Submit a data file to the department which contains the required data for each claim being maintained by the insurer for the department to conduct a data match;
(b) Providing the required data for each claim being maintained by the insurer directly to the department in an electronic medium; or
(c) Receiving or accessing a data file from the department and conducting a data match of all parents who have a claim with the insurer and who owe past due support and submitting the required data for each such parent to the department.
(3) The department shall establish by rule a standard fee, not to exceed actual costs, and pay the fee upon request to an insurer or the insurer’s claim data collection organization for conducting a data match as provided by subsection (2).
(4) An insurer and its directors, agents, employees, and insureds, and any insurance claim data collection organization and its agents and employees authorized by an insurer to act on its behalf, which provides or attempts to provide data under this section are immune from any civil liability under any law to any person or entity for any alleged or actual damages that occur as a result of providing or attempting to provide data under this section.
(5) The department and insurers may only use the data obtained pursuant to subsection (2) for the purpose of identifying parents who owe past due support. If the department does not match such data with a parent who owes past due support, such data shall be destroyed immediately and shall not be maintained by the department.
(6) The department may adopt rules to implement and administer this section.
History.s. 14, ch. 2004-334; s. 24, ch. 2008-61.
409.25661 Public records exemption for insurance claim data exchange information.
(1) Information obtained by the Department of Revenue pursuant to s. 409.25659 is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution until such time as the department determines whether a match exists. If a match exists, such information becomes available for public disclosure. If a match does not exist, the nonmatch information shall be destroyed as provided in s. 409.25659.
(2) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2012, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
History.s. 1, ch. 2004-339; s. 114, ch. 2008-4; s. 1, ch. 2009-119; s. 1, ch. 2010-73.
409.2567 Services to individuals not otherwise eligible.
(1) All support services provided by the department shall be made available on behalf of all dependent children. Services shall be provided upon acceptance of public assistance or upon proper application filed with the department. The federally required application fee for individuals who do not receive public assistance is $1, which shall be waived for all applicants and paid by the department. The annual fee required under 42 U.S.C. s. 654(6)(B) for cases involving an individual who has never received temporary cash assistance and for whom the department has collected at least $500 of support shall be paid by the department.
(2) An attorney-client relationship exists only between the department and the legal services providers in Title IV-D cases. The attorney shall advise the obligee in Title IV-D cases that the attorney represents the agency and not the obligee.
(3) All administrative costs shall be assessed only against the nonprevailing obligor after the court makes a determination of the nonprevailing obligor’s ability to pay such costs and fees. In any case where the court does not award all costs, the court shall state in the record its reasons for not awarding the costs. The court shall order payment of costs without requiring the department to have a member of the bar testify or submit an affidavit as to the reasonableness of the costs.
(4) The Department of Revenue shall not be considered a party for purposes of this section; however, fees may be assessed against the department pursuant to s. 57.105(1).
(5) The Department of Revenue may seek a waiver from the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services to authorize the Department of Revenue to provide services in accordance with Title IV-D of the Social Security Act to individuals who are owed support without need of an application. The department may seek a waiver if it determines that the estimated increase in federal funding to the state derived from the waiver would exceed any additional cost to the state if the waiver is granted. If the waiver is granted, the Department of Revenue shall adopt rules to implement the waiver and begin providing Title IV-D services if support payments are not being paid as ordered, except that the individual first must be given written notice of the right to refuse Title IV-D services and a reasonable opportunity to respond.
History.s. 6, ch. 76-220; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 13, ch. 78-433; s. 3, ch. 82-140; s. 144, ch. 86-220; s. 17, ch. 87-95; s. 12, ch. 88-176; s. 22, ch. 92-138; s. 16, ch. 93-208; s. 7, ch. 94-124; s. 7, ch. 94-318; s. 41, ch. 96-175; s. 47, ch. 96-418; s. 53, ch. 97-170; s. 27, ch. 98-397; s. 38, ch. 2001-158; ss. 31, 32, ch. 2005-39; s. 10, ch. 2005-82; s. 6, ch. 2007-85; s. 11, ch. 2010-187.
409.2569 Continuation of support services for recipients of public assistance when benefits are terminated.Whenever a recipient of public assistance ceases to receive such public assistance, the department shall continue to provide services after the recipient ceases to receive benefits unless otherwise advised in writing or in person not to do so by the former recipient. These services shall be provided in accordance with the state plan of priorities. After the termination of public assistance, the department shall continue to provide support services and to recover all costs incurred in providing the services pursuant to s. 409.2567 unless the recipient instructs the department to discontinue services.
History.s. 145, ch. 86-220; s. 13, ch. 88-176; s. 23, ch. 92-138.
409.257 Service of process.
(1) The service of original process and orders in any paternity or child support action or proceeding filed by the department shall be made in accordance with chapter 48. The sheriff shall be reimbursed at the prevailing rate of federal financial participation for service of process and orders as allowed by law. The sheriff shall bill the department monthly as provided for in s. 30.51(2).
(2) Process and orders may be served or executed by authorized agents of the department at the department’s discretion if the agent of the department does not take any action against personal property, real property, or persons.
(3) Service of process by publication under chapter 49 may be made on the legal father in any action or proceeding to determine paternity, which may result in termination of the legal father’s parental rights, in which another man is alleged to be the biological father. Before service of process by publication may be made, the petitioner shall conduct a diligent search and inquiry to locate the legal father. A diligent search must include the inquiries required by s. 63.088(5). The petitioner shall execute an affidavit of diligent search and file it with the court confirming completion of each aspect of the diligent search enumerated in s. 63.088(5) and specifying the results. If the legal father cannot be located, he shall be served with process by publication in the manner provided in chapter 49. The notice shall be published in the county where the legal father was last known to have resided. The clerk of the circuit court shall mail a copy of the notice to the legal father at his last known address.
(4) Notices and other intermediate process, except witness subpoenas, shall be served by the department as provided for in the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
(5) Witness subpoenas shall be served by the department by United States mail as provided for in s. 48.031(3).
History.s. 2, ch. 84-141; s. 9, ch. 87-405; s. 8, ch. 89-183; s. 8, ch. 2004-273; s. 15, ch. 2004-334; s. 7, ch. 2007-85.
409.2571 Court and witness fees; bond.
(1) The department or an authorized agent thereof shall be entitled to the necessary services of the clerk, court reporter, and county comptroller in any proceedings under the IV-D program, including contempt proceedings; and no fees for such court reporter, clerk, or comptroller services shall be charged against the department. No bond shall be required of the department for any action taken pursuant to the IV-D program, except by order of the court. Nothing herein shall prevent the depository from charging and collecting fees for services rendered.
(2) No witness fees shall be paid to any party to a petition or complaint or to any parent or legal custodian of a dependent child described in a petition or complaint filed pursuant to this act.
History.s. 7, ch. 76-220; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 84-141; s. 146, ch. 86-220; s. 18, ch. 87-95; s. 24, ch. 92-138.
409.2572 Cooperation.
(1) An applicant for, or recipient of, public assistance for a dependent child shall cooperate in good faith with the department or a program attorney in:
(a) Identifying and helping to locate the alleged parent or obligor.
(b) Assisting in establishing the paternity of a child born out of wedlock.
(c) Assisting in obtaining support payments from the obligor.
(d) Assisting in obtaining any other payments or property due from the obligor.
(e) Identifying another putative father when an earlier named putative father has been excluded by DNA, Human Leukocyte Antigen, or other scientific test.
(f) Appearing at an office of the department, or another designated office, as necessary to provide verbal or written information, or documentary or physical evidence, known to, possessed by, or reasonably obtainable by the applicant or recipient.
(g) Appearing as a witness at judicial or other hearings or proceedings.
(h) Providing information under oath regarding the identity or location of the alleged father of the child or attesting to the lack of information.
(i) Paying to the department any support received from the obligor after the assignment is effective.
(2) Noncooperation, or failure to cooperate in good faith, is defined to include, but is not limited to, the following conduct:
(a) Refusing to identify the father of the child, or where more than one man could be the father of the child, refusing to identify all such persons.
(b) Failing to appear for two appointments at the department or other designated office without justification and notice.
(c) Providing false information regarding the paternity of the child or the obligation of the obligor.
(d) All actions of the obligee which interfere with the state’s efforts to proceed to establish paternity, the obligation of support, or to enforce or collect support.
(e) Failure to appear to submit a DNA sample or leaving the location prior to submitting a DNA sample without compelling reasons.
(f) Failure to assist in the recovery of third-party payment for medical services.
(3) The Title IV-D staff of the department shall be responsible for determining and reporting to the staff of the Department of Children and Family Services acts of noncooperation by applicants or recipients of public assistance. Any person who applies for or is receiving public assistance for, or who has the care, custody, or control of, a dependent child and who without good cause fails or refuses to cooperate with the department, a program attorney, or a prosecuting attorney in the course of administering this chapter shall be sanctioned by the Department of Children and Family Services pursuant to chapter 414 and is ineligible to receive public assistance until such time as the department determines cooperation has been satisfactory.
(4) Except as provided for in s. 414.32, the Title IV-D agency shall determine whether an applicant for or recipient of public assistance for a dependent child has good cause for failing to cooperate with the Title IV-D agency as required by this section.
(5) As used in this section only, the term “applicant for or recipient of public assistance for a dependent child” refers to such applicants and recipients of public assistance as defined in s. 409.2554(8), with the exception of applicants for or recipients of Medicaid solely for the benefit of a dependent child.
History.s. 4, ch. 82-140; s. 147, ch. 86-220; s. 19, ch. 87-95; s. 93, ch. 96-175; s. 197, ch. 97-101; s. 41, ch. 97-173; s. 28, ch. 98-397; s. 39, ch. 2001-158; s. 16, ch. 2004-334; s. 7, ch. 2009-90.
409.2574 Income deduction enforcement in Title IV-D cases.
(1) The department or its designee shall enforce income deduction orders on behalf of obligees who have applied for IV-D services, and the department shall be considered a party in the action.
(2)(a) In a support order being enforced under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and which order does not specify income deduction, income deduction shall be enforced by the department or its designee without the need for any amendment to the support order or any further action by the court.
(b) The department shall serve a notice on the obligor that the income deduction notice has been served on the employers. Service upon an obligor under this section shall be made in the manner prescribed in chapter 48. The department shall furnish to the obligor a statement of the obligor’s rights, remedies, and duties in regard to the income deduction.
(c) The obligor has 15 days from the serving of the notice to request a hearing with the department to contest enforcement of income deduction.
(d) The department shall adopt rules to ensure that applicable provisions of s. 61.1301 are followed.
History.s. 8, ch. 76-220; s. 5, ch. 82-140; s. 148, ch. 86-220; s. 45, ch. 97-103; s. 54, ch. 97-170.
409.2575 Liens on motor vehicles and vessels.
(1) The director of the state IV-D program, or the director’s designee, may cause a lien for unpaid and delinquent support to be placed upon motor vehicles, as defined in chapter 320, and upon vessels, as defined in chapter 327, that are registered in the name of an obligor who is delinquent in support payments, if the title to the property is held by a lienholder, in the manner provided in chapter 319 or chapter 328. Notice of lien shall not be mailed unless the delinquency in support exceeds $600.
(2) If the first lienholder fails, neglects, or refuses to forward the certificate of title to the appropriate department as requested pursuant to s. 319.24 or s. 328.15, the director of the IV-D program, or the director’s designee, may apply to the circuit court for an order to enforce the requirements of s. 319.24 or s. 328.15, whichever applies.
History.s. 14, ch. 88-176; s. 46, ch. 97-103; s. 29, ch. 98-397.
409.2576 State Directory of New Hires.
(1) DIRECTORY CREATED.The State Directory of New Hires is hereby created and shall be administered by the Department of Revenue or its agent. The 1Department of Labor and Employment Security will act as the agent until a date not later than October 1, 1998. All employers in the state shall furnish a report consistent with subsection (3) for each newly hired or rehired employee unless the employee is employed by a federal or state agency performing intelligence or counterintelligence functions and the head of such agency has determined that reporting pursuant to this section could endanger the safety of the employee or compromise an ongoing investigation or intelligence mission.
(2) DEFINITIONS.For purposes of this section:
(a) “Employee” is defined as an individual who is an employee within the meaning of chapter 24 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
(b) “Employer” has the meaning given such term in s. 3401(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and includes any government entity and labor organization.
(c) “Labor organization” has the meaning given such term in s. 2(5) of the National Labor Relations Act and includes any entity which is used by the organization and an employer to carry out requirements described in s. 8(f)(3) of such act of an agreement between the organization and employer.
(d) “Date of hire” is the first day of work for which the employee is owed income.
(3) EMPLOYERS TO FURNISH REPORTS.
(a) Each employer subject to the reporting requirements of chapter 443 with 250 or more employees, shall provide to the State Directory of New Hires, a report listing the employer’s legal name, address, and unemployment compensation identification number. The report must also provide the name and social security number of each new employee or rehired employee at the end of the first pay period following employment or reemployment.
(b) Upon termination of the contract with the 1Department of Labor and Employment Security, but not later than October 1, 1998, all employers shall furnish a report to the State Directory of New Hires of the state in which the newly hired or rehired employee works. The report required in this section shall be made on a W-4 form or, at the option of the employer, an equivalent form, and can be transmitted magnetically, electronically, by first-class mail, or other methods which may be prescribed by the State Directory. Each report shall include the name, address, date of hire, and social security number of every new and rehired employee and the name, address, and federal employer identification number of the reporting employer. If available, the employer may also include the employee’s date of birth in the report. Multistate employers that report new hire information electronically or magnetically may designate a single state to which it will transmit the above noted report, provided the employer has employees in that state and the employer notifies the Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing to which state the information will be provided. Agencies of the United States Government shall report directly to the National Directory of New Hires.
(c) Pursuant to the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, each party is required to provide his or her social security number in accordance with this section. Disclosure of social security numbers obtained through this requirement shall be limited to the purpose of administration of the Title IV-D program for child support enforcement and those programs listed in subsection (9).
(4) TIME FOR REPORTS.Employers must report new hire information, as described in subsection (3), within 20 days of the hire date of the employee, or, in the case of employers that report new hire information electronically or by magnetic tape, by two monthly transmissions, if necessary, not less than 12 days nor more than 16 days apart.
(5) ENTRY OF DATA.The State Directory of New Hires shall enter new hire information into an automated database within 5 business days of receipt.
(6) MATCHES TO STATE REGISTRY.Not later than May 1, 1998, the Department of Revenue or its agent must conduct automated matches of the social security numbers of employees reported to the State Directory of New Hires against the social security numbers of records in the State Case Registry. The Title IV-D agency shall use the new hire information received to locate individuals for the purposes of establishing paternity and establishing, modifying, and enforcing support obligations. Private entities under contract with the Title IV-D agency to provide Title IV-D services may have access to information obtained from the State Directory of New Hires and must comply with privacy safeguards.
(7) WAGE WITHHOLDING NOTICE AND NATIONAL MEDICAL SUPPORT NOTICE.The department shall transmit a wage withholding notice consistent with s. 61.1301 and, when appropriate, a national medical support notice, as defined in s. 61.046, to the employee’s employer within 2 business days after entry of the new hire information into the State Directory of New Hires’ database, unless the court has determined that the employee’s wages are not subject to withholding or, for purposes of the national medical support notice, the support order does not contain a provision for the employee to provide health insurance. The withholding notice shall direct the employer to withhold income in accordance with the income deduction order, and the national medical support notice shall direct the employer to withhold premiums for health insurance.
(8) PROVIDING INFORMATION TO NATIONAL DIRECTORY.Not later than October 1, 1997, the State Directory of New Hires must furnish information regarding newly hired or rehired employees to the National Directory of New Hires for matching with the records of other state case registries within 3 business days of entering such information from the employer into the State Directory of New Hires. The State Directory of New Hires shall enter into an agreement with the Florida 1Department of Labor and Employment Security for the quarterly reporting to the National Directory of New Hires information on wages and unemployment compensation taken from the quarterly report to the Secretary of Labor, now required by Title III of the Social Security Act, except that no report shall be filed with respect to an employee of a state or local agency performing intelligence or counterintelligence functions, if the head of such agency has determined that filing such a report could endanger the safety of the employee or compromise an ongoing investigation or intelligence mission.
(9) DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION.
(a) New hire information shall be disclosed to the state agency administering the following programs for the purposes of determining eligibility under those programs:
1. Any state program funded under part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act;
2. The Medicaid program under Title XIX of the Social Security Act;
3. The unemployment compensation program under s. 3304 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954;
4. The food assistance program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008; and
5. Any state program under a plan approved under Title I (Old-Age Assistance for the Aged), Title X (Aid to the Blind), Title XIV (Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled), or Title XVI (Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled; Supplemental Security Income for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled) of the Social Security Act.
(b) New hire information shall be disclosed to the state agencies operating employment security and workers’ compensation programs for the purposes of administering such programs.
(10) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The Department of Revenue shall have the authority to adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 55, ch. 97-170; s. 30, ch. 98-397; s. 13, ch. 2002-173; s. 8, ch. 2009-90; s. 10, ch. 2010-209.
1Note.Section 69, ch. 2002-194, repealed s. 20.171, which created the Department of Labor and Employment Security.
409.2577 Parent locator service.The department shall establish a parent locator service to assist in locating parents who have deserted their children and other persons liable for support of dependent children. The department shall use all sources of information available, including the Federal Parent Locator Service, and may request and shall receive information from the records of any person or the state or any of its political subdivisions or any officer thereof. Any agency as defined in s. 120.52, any political subdivision, and any other person shall, upon request, provide the department any information relating to location, salary, insurance, social security, income tax, and employment history necessary to locate parents who owe or potentially owe a duty of support pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. This provision shall expressly take precedence over any other statutory nondisclosure provision which limits the ability of an agency to disclose such information, except that law enforcement information as provided in s. 119.071(4)(d) is not required to be disclosed, and except that confidential taxpayer information possessed by the Department of Revenue shall be disclosed only to the extent authorized in s. 213.053(16). Nothing in this section requires the disclosure of information if such disclosure is prohibited by federal law. Information gathered or used by the parent locator service is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). Additionally, the department is authorized to collect any additional information directly bearing on the identity and whereabouts of a person owing or asserted to be owing an obligation of support for a dependent child. The department shall, upon request, make information available only to public officials and agencies of this state; political subdivisions of this state, including any agency thereof providing child support enforcement services to non-Title IV-D clients; the parent owed support, legal guardian, attorney, or agent of the child; and other states seeking to locate parents who have deserted their children and other persons liable for support of dependents, for the sole purpose of establishing, modifying, or enforcing their liability for support, and shall make such information available to the Department of Children and Family Services for the purpose of diligent search activities pursuant to chapter 39. If the department has reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse and the disclosure of information could be harmful to the parent owed support or the child of such parent, the child support program director or designee shall notify the Department of Children and Family Services and the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services of this evidence. Such evidence is sufficient grounds for the department to disapprove an application for location services.
History.s. 9, ch. 76-220; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 20, ch. 87-95; s. 15, ch. 88-176; s. 5, ch. 91-71; s. 25, ch. 92-138; s. 13, ch. 95-398; s. 255, ch. 96-406; s. 56, ch. 97-170; s. 149, ch. 98-403; s. 17, ch. 99-375; s. 43, ch. 2004-335; s. 50, ch. 2005-251; s. 4, ch. 2006-85; s. 2, ch. 2006-180; s. 25, ch. 2008-61.
409.2578 Access to employment information; administrative fine.
(1) For the purpose of establishing paternity, establishing a child support obligation, or enforcing a support obligation, all persons in this state, including for-profit, not-for-profit, and governmental employers or contractors, shall, upon written request from the IV-D agency for information concerning an individual employee of such person, provide to the IV-D agency of this state or its designee or to the Title IV-D agency of any other state or its designee information on the employment, compensation, and benefits of any employee who has a liability to pay support and is delinquent or who has a potential liability. The IV-D agency may also make such a request for the purpose of modifying a child support obligation after an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the information from either party. The information requested shall be provided within 30 days of receipt of the written request. The Title IV-D agency of this state is authorized to impose a fine for failure to respond to its request.
(2) Prior to imposition of a fine, the department shall issue a written notification of noncompliance. Failure to comply with the request within 15 days of receipt of the written notification without good cause may result in the agency taking the following actions:
(a) Imposition of an administrative fine of not more than $500;
(b) The application by the Title IV-D agency or its designee, to the circuit court for an order compelling compliance. The person who is determined to be in noncompliance with the request shall be liable for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs associated with the department bringing this action upon showing by the department that the person failed to comply with the request without good cause.
(3) All fines collected pursuant to this section shall be made payable to the Child Support Enforcement Application and Program Revenue Trust Fund.
(4) The Title IV-D agency has the authority to adopt rules and procedures to implement this section.
History.s. 57, ch. 97-170; s. 31, ch. 98-397; s. 40, ch. 2001-158.
409.2579 Safeguarding Title IV-D case file information.
(1) Information concerning applicants for or recipients of Title IV-D child support services is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1). The use or disclosure of such information by the IV-D program is limited to purposes directly connected with:
(a) The administration of the plan or program approved under part A, part B, part D, part E, or part F of Title IV; under Title II, Title X, Title XIV, Title XVI, Title XIX, or Title XX; or under the supplemental security income program established under Title XVI of the Social Security Act;
(b) Any investigation, prosecution, or criminal or civil proceeding connected with the administration of any such plan or program;
(c) The administration of any other federal or federally assisted program which provides service or assistance, in cash or in kind, directly to individuals on the basis of need;
(d) Reporting to an appropriate agency or official, information on known or suspected instances of physical or mental injury, child abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child who is the subject of a support enforcement activity under circumstances which indicate that the child’s health or welfare is threatened thereby; and
(e) Mandatory disclosure of identifying and location information as provided in s. 61.13(7) by the IV-D program when providing Title IV-D services.
(2) The IV-D program may not disclose to any legislative body, whether federal, state, or local, or any committee thereof, any information that identifies by name or address an applicant or recipient of support services.
(3) As required by federal law, 42 U.S.C. s. 654(26), upon notice that such an order exists, the IV-D program shall not disclose information on the whereabouts of one party or the child to the other party against whom a protective order with respect to the former party or the child has been entered.
(4) As required by federal law, 42 U.S.C. s. 654(26), the IV-D program shall not disclose information on the whereabouts of one party or the child to another person if the program has reason to believe that the release of information to that person may result in physical or emotional harm to the party or the child.
(5) The Department of Revenue is authorized to establish, by rule, procedures to implement this section.
(6) Any person who willfully and knowingly violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 16, ch. 88-176; s. 6, ch. 91-71; s. 256, ch. 96-406; s. 58, ch. 97-170; s. 32, ch. 98-397; s. 41, ch. 2001-158; s. 11, ch. 2005-239; s. 26, ch. 2008-61.
409.2581 Use of clearing accounts and revolving funds.To facilitate the cash flow and administration of child support enforcement under this act, the department may use clearing accounts and revolving funds.
History.s. 10, ch. 76-220.
409.2584 Interest on obligations due; waiver.The department may collect interest at the rate established in s. 55.03 on all support obligations due and owing to the department; however, the department is not required to maintain interest balance due accounts, and said interest may be waived by the department if the waiver would facilitate the collection of the obligation.
History.s. 11, ch. 76-220; s. 149, ch. 86-220; s. 26, ch. 92-138.
409.259 Filing fees in Title IV-D cases; electronic filing of pleadings, returns of service, and other papers.
(1) Notwithstanding s. 28.241, each clerk of the circuit court shall accept petitions, complaints, and motions filed by the department in Title IV-D cases without billing the department separately for each filing, as long as the clerk is being reimbursed in a different manner for expenses incurred in such filings under the cooperative agreement with the department pursuant to ss. 61.181(1) and 61.1826(2) and (4).
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the department shall continue to be entitled to the other necessary services of the clerk of court in any proceedings under the IV-D program as authorized under s. 409.2571.
(3) The clerks of the circuit court, chief judges through the Office of the State Courts Administrator, sheriffs, Office of the Attorney General, and Department of Revenue shall implement electronic filing of pleadings, returns of service, and other papers in Title IV-D cases upon completion of the Child Support Automated Management System II.
History.s. 11, ch. 89-183; s. 94, ch. 96-175; s. 94, ch. 2000-165; s. 17, ch. 2004-334; s. 34, ch. 2005-39; s. 12, ch. 2010-187.
409.2594 Record requirements.The department shall keep the records necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. At a minimum, the records shall include:
(1) The number of parents located.
(2) The amount of money generated through the collection of support of dependent children.
(3) The cost of program management and administration.
History.s. 14, ch. 76-220; s. 18, ch. 84-254; s. 43, ch. 2001-158.
409.2597 Retention of actions.All actions pending under the authority of those statutes repealed by this act shall not abate but shall continue pursuant to the provisions of this act.
History.s. 16, ch. 76-220.
409.2598 License suspension proceeding to enforce support order.
(1) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “License” means a license, permit, certificate, registration, franchise, or other form of written permission issued by a licensing agency to an individual which authorizes the individual to engage in an occupation, business, trade, or profession or to engage in a recreational activity, including hunting or fishing. Where the context permits, the term also includes an application for a new or renewal license.
(b) “Licensee” means an individual who has a license.
(c) “Licensing agency” means a department, commission, agency, district, county, municipality, or other subdivision of state or local government which issues licenses.
(2) NOTICE OF NONCOMPLIANCE AND INTENT TO SUSPEND LICENSE.If a support order has not been complied with for at least 30 days, the Department of Revenue may commence a license suspension proceeding to enforce compliance with the support order by providing written notice to the obligor that states:
(a) That the obligor is not in compliance with the support order and whether the noncompliance is due to the obligor’s nonpayment of current support, delinquencies or arrears, or the failure to provide health care coverage or medical support.
(b) The kind of license that is subject to suspension.
(c) That the obligor may avoid license suspension by complying with the support order or entering into a written agreement with the department within 30 days after the mailing of the notice.
(d) If the obligor timely complies with the support order or a written agreement entered into with the department, the proceeding ends and the obligor’s license is not suspended.
(e) That the obligor may contest license suspension by filing a petition in circuit court within 30 days after the mailing of the notice of noncompliance.
(f) If the obligor timely files a petition in circuit court, that the license suspension proceeding is stayed pending a ruling by the court.

The notice shall be served on the obligor by regular mail sent to the obligor’s last address of record with the local depository or a more recent address if known, which may include the obligor’s mailing address as reflected by the records of the licensing agency.

(3) HEARING; STAY OF PROCEEDING.The obligor may contest license suspension by filing a petition in circuit court within 30 days after the mailing of the notice of noncompliance and serving a copy of the petition on the Department of Revenue. If the obligor timely files a petition in circuit court, the license suspension proceeding is stayed pending a ruling by the court. The obligor may contest on the basis of a mistake of fact concerning the obligor’s compliance with the support order, the reasonableness of a payment agreement offered by the department, or the identity of the obligor. A timely petition to contest must be heard by the court within 15 days after the petition is filed. The court must enter an order ruling on the matter within 10 days after the hearing, and a copy of the order must be served on the parties.
(4) COMPLIANCE; REINSTATEMENT.
(a) If the obligor complies with the support order or a written agreement entered into with the department after a proceeding is commenced but before the obligor’s license is suspended, the proceeding shall cease and the obligor’s license may not be suspended. If the obligor subsequently does not comply with the support order, the department may commence a new proceeding or proceed as provided in paragraph (c) if the obligor enters into a written agreement and does not comply with the agreement.
(b) If the obligor complies with the support order or a written agreement entered into with the department after the obligor’s license is suspended, the department shall provide the obligor with a reinstatement notice and the licensing agency shall reinstate the obligor’s license at no additional charge to the obligor.
(c) If the obligor enters into a written agreement with the department and does not comply with the agreement, the department shall notify the licensing agency to suspend the obligor’s license unless the obligor notifies the department that the obligor can no longer comply with the written agreement. If the obligor notifies the department of the inability to comply with the written agreement, the obligor shall provide full disclosure to the department of the obligor’s income, assets, and employment. If after full disclosure the written agreement cannot be renegotiated, the department or the obligor may file a petition in circuit court to determine the matter.
(d) A licensing agency shall promptly reinstate the obligor’s license upon receipt of a court order for reinstatement.
(e) Notwithstanding any other statutory provision, a notice from the court or the department shall reinstate to the obligor all licenses established in chapter 379 that were valid at the time of suspension.
(5) NOTICE TO LICENSING AGENCY; SUSPENSION.
(a) The Department of Revenue shall notify the licensing agency to suspend the obligor’s license when:
1. Thirty or more days have elapsed after a proceeding has been commenced and the obligor has not complied with the support order or a written agreement entered into with the department or filed a timely petition to contest license suspension in circuit court;
2. The obligor enters into a written agreement with the department and does not comply with the agreement, unless the obligor notifies the department that the obligor can no longer comply with the agreement; or
3. The department is ordered to do so by the circuit court.
(b) Upon notice by the department or the circuit court, the licensing agency shall suspend the obligor’s license and may only reinstate the license upon further notice by the department or the court.
(6) ENFORCEMENT OF SUBPOENAS.A license may be suspended under this section to enforce compliance with a subpoena, order to appear, order to show cause, or similar order in a child support or paternity proceeding by using the same procedures as those used for enforcing compliance with a support order.
(7) MULTIPLE LICENSES.The Department of Revenue may combine a proceeding under this section with a proceeding to suspend a driver’s license under s. 61.13016. A proceeding to suspend a license under this section may apply to one or more of the obligor’s licenses.
(8) RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.The Department of Revenue may adopt rules to implement and enforce the requirements of this section.
History.s. 9, ch. 93-208; s. 4, ch. 95-222; s. 95, ch. 96-175; s. 1021, ch. 97-103; s. 59, ch. 97-170; s. 29, ch. 98-166; s. 36, ch. 99-289; s. 21, ch. 2000-160; s. 19, ch. 2000-364; s. 44, ch. 2001-158; s. 993, ch. 2002-387; s. 18, ch. 2004-334; s. 33, ch. 2005-39; s. 57, ch. 2009-21.
409.2599 Data processing services; interagency agreement.The Department of Children and Family Services shall provide to the child support enforcement program in the Department of Revenue data processing services that meet the standards for federal certification pursuant to an interagency agreement.
History.s. 1(5), ch. 94-124; ss. 12, 26, ch. 95-272; ss. 117, 118, ch. 97-101; s. 12, ch. 97-287.
409.25995 State Title IV-D agency; contracts.The Department of Revenue, in its capacity as the state Title IV-D agency, may enter into contracts consistent with federal law for the provision of program services by for-profit corporations, governmental entities, not-for-profit corporations, and other entities capable of providing administrative services.
History.s. 1(6), ch. 94-124.
409.2673 Shared county and state health care program for low-income persons.
(1) It is the policy of the state that the state and local governments have a joint obligation, as provided in this section, to participate in the provision of health care services to low-income persons who do not meet the criteria for Medicaid or any other state-funded or federally funded program which includes hospital care.
(2) A shared county and state program is established to provide inpatient hospital services and, at the option of the county, outpatient hospital services and physician specialty services for hospital care, including out-of-county inpatient hospital services to single adults under the age of 65, childless couples, and parents in intact families with incomes up to 100 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines who do not meet the criteria for Medicaid or any other state-funded or federally funded inpatient health care program; who have insufficient third-party insurance coverage; who do not live in public institutions, as defined in the medical assistance program for the needy under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, as amended; and who are United States citizens or lawfully admitted aliens. This program is intended to serve as the payor of last resort.
(3)(a) County participation in this program is optional.
(b) Beginning October 1, 1991, county participation in this program shall be mandatory.
(4) The levels of financial participation by counties and the state for this program shall be determined as follows:
(a) If on July 1, 1988, a county funded inpatient hospital services for those who would have been eligible for the program, the county shall fund 35 percent of the cost of this program and the state shall provide the remaining 65 percent of the funding required for this program. A county participating at this level shall use that portion of its budget that previously would have funded these inpatient hospital services and that, under this program, has been offset by state funding for funding other health programs.
(b) If a county has not reached its maximum ad valorem millage rate as authorized by law and certified to the Department of Revenue and the county does not currently fund inpatient hospital services for those who would be eligible for this program, the county:
1. Shall provide 35 percent of the cost for this program from within the county’s existing budget, and the state shall provide the remaining 65 percent of the funding required for this program; however, under no circumstances will county funding which had been used for funding the county health department under chapter 154 be utilized for funding the county’s portion of this program; or
2. Shall levy an additional ad valorem millage to fund the county’s portion of this program. The state shall provide the remaining portion of program funding if:
a. A county levies additional ad valorem millage up to the maximum authorized by law and certified to the Department of Revenue and still does not have sufficient funds to meet its 35 percent of the funding of this program; and
b. A county has exhausted all revenue sources which can statutorily be used as possible funding sources for this program.
(c) A county will be eligible for 100-percent state funding of this program if:
1. On July 1, 1988, the county did not fund inpatient hospital services for those who would have been eligible for this program;
2. The county has reached its maximum ad valorem millage as authorized by law and certified to the Department of Revenue; and
3. The county has exhausted all revenue sources which can statutorily be used as possible funding sources for this program.

Reporting forms specifically designed to capture the information necessary to determine the above levels of participation will be developed as part of the joint rulemaking required for the shared county and state program. For purposes of this program, the counties will be required to report necessary information to the Department of Financial Services.

(5) Under no circumstances shall any county receive more than 15 percent of the total state appropriation during any fiscal year from the state for the state’s share of the funding for the shared county and state program.
(6)(a) If, during the course of any fiscal year the state’s specific appropriation for this program is depleted, the program will cease to operate for the remainder of that fiscal year. When state dollars are depleted, county obligations cease. A county is not liable for funding without appropriate state matching funds.
(b) If, during the course of any fiscal year the county’s specific appropriation for this program is depleted, the program will cease to operate in that county for the remainder of that fiscal year. When county dollars are depleted, state obligations cease. The state is not liable for funding without appropriate county matching funds.
(c) The state’s portion of the funding shall be made available from the Public Medical Assistance Trust Fund.
(7) A county that participates in the program at any level may not reduce its total per capita expenditures being devoted to health care if any of these funds were previously utilized for the provision of inpatient hospital services to those persons made eligible for the shared county and state program. It is the intent of the Legislature that, as a result of the shared county and state program, local funds which were previously used for the provision of inpatient hospital services to persons made eligible by the program be used by counties for funding other health care programs which, for purposes of this section, are health expenditures as reported annually to the Department of Financial Services pursuant to s. 218.32, provided that this subsection does not apply to reductions in county funding resulting from the expiration of special sales taxes levied pursuant to chapter 84-373, Laws of Florida.
(8)(a) For those counties contributing funding to the shared county and state program, the county has the first right of refusal in deciding if it will be responsible for making eligibility determinations required as part of the shared county and state program if the state is contributing 80 percent or less of program funding. If a county declines the eligibility determination function, such determinations shall be made by the department.
(b) In those counties where the shared county and state program is 80 percent or more funded by the state, the department shall be responsible for making eligibility determinations required as part of the program.
(c) When eligibility is determined by the county, the county must determine whether the individual is receiving services under the primary care program operated by the county’s health department. If the individual is receiving such services, the county shall accept any verification of residency or indigency in the primary care case record that meets the criteria described in the administrative rules governing the shared county and state health care program.
(9) Each county shall designate a lead agency under the shared county and state program. The lead agency:
(a) May be any agency of the county, the county health department, or any other public or private nonprofit agency designated by the board of county commissioners.
(b) Shall serve as the overall coordinator of the program and establish a coordinated system to identify clients in this program, other county programs, private programs, and the primary care program established in s. 154.011.
(c) Shall establish working relationships with appropriate hospitals for the acceptance of individuals determined eligible under the program.
(d) Shall negotiate reimbursement rates and, at the option of the county, negotiate with appropriate hospitals the number of days of care provided under the program.
(e) Shall negotiate, at the option of the county, prepaid reimbursement plans with appropriate hospitals.
(f) Shall coordinate and develop, to the extent possible, health care programs for indigent county residents.
(10) Under the shared county and state program, reimbursement to a hospital for services for an eligible person must:
(a) Be at a reimbursement rate which is negotiated by the lead agency but which does not exceed the hospital’s per diem reimbursement rate in effect at the time of service delivery for the hospital under the medical assistance program for the needy under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, as amended;
(b) Be limited to payment for 12 days of service per admission, not to exceed 45 days of service per county fiscal year;
(c) Be conditioned on participation of the eligible person prior to hospitalization in a case-managed program of primary care and health care services which is coordinated by the lead agency or referral of the eligible person immediately subsequent to discharge from the hospital to the lead agency’s case-managed services. For purposes of this program, case-managed programs of primary care and other health care services are those operated by:
1. A state-funded county health department, a county health department primary care program, or a contractor whose primary care program is funded through a county health department;
2. A county-operated primary care program or a contractor whose primary care program is funded by or through a county governing authority;
3. A federally funded community or migrant primary health care center; or
4. A private physician or group of physicians who agree to work with the lead agency and other providers of primary care within the county in providing services to individuals enrolled in a countywide program of primary care;
(d) Be conditioned, for public hospitals and hospital districts that deliver services as part of this program, on a commitment not to reduce the percentage of the hospital’s ad valorem tax dollars being devoted to health care for low-income persons if any of these funds were previously utilized for the provision of health care services to those persons made eligible for the shared county and state program. It is the intent of the Legislature that, as a result of the shared county and state program, funds that were previously utilized for the provision of health care services to persons made eligible by the program be used by public hospitals and hospital districts to expand their health care program capabilities for low-income persons; and
(e) Be conditioned, for tax district hospitals that deliver services as part of this program, on the delivery of charity care, as defined in the rules of the Agency for Health Care Administration, which equals a minimum of 2.5 percent of the tax district hospital’s net revenues; however, those tax district hospitals which by virtue of the population within the geographic boundaries of the tax district cannot feasibly provide this level of charity care shall assure an “open door” policy to those residents of the geographic boundaries of the tax district who would otherwise be considered charity cases.
(11) For each person determined eligible for the shared county and state program, every effort must be made as part of the eligibility determination process to determine if any applicable third-party insurance coverage is available. A requirement for participation by the applicant in the shared county and state program shall be complete cooperation of each applicant in the eligibility review process. Failure of a potential program participant to provide necessary documentation and followup will result in program rejection.
(12) There is created the Shared County and State Program Trust Fund in the Treasury to be used by the Agency for Health Care Administration for the purpose of funding the state’s portion of the shared county and state program created pursuant to this section.
(13) There is created in each county the Shared County and State Program Trust Fund to be used by the county for reimbursing participating hospitals for the provision of services to those eligible for coverage by the shared county and state program created pursuant to this section. There shall be deposited into the trust fund county funds for the shared county and state program and the county’s share of state funds allocated for the shared county and state program. Any balance in the trust fund at the end of any fiscal year shall remain therein and shall be available for carrying out the provisions of this section.
(14) Any dispute among a county, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the department, or a participating hospital shall be resolved by order as provided in chapter 120. Hearings held under this subsection shall be conducted in the same manner as provided in ss. 120.569 and 120.57, except that the administrative law judge’s or hearing officer’s order constitutes final agency action. Cases filed under chapter 120 may combine all relevant disputes between parties.
History.ss. 26, 28, 29, ch. 88-294; s. 19, ch. 90-295; s. 61, ch. 91-282; s. 193, ch. 96-410; s. 198, ch. 97-101; s. 17, ch. 98-89; s. 55, ch. 2000-153; s. 445, ch. 2003-261.
409.26731 Certification of local funds as state match for federally funded services.The department is authorized to certify local funds as state match for eligible Title IV-E expenditures in excess of the amount of state general revenue matching funds appropriated for such services by the General Appropriations Act. Title IV-E funds provided to the state as federal financial participation consequent to certified local matching funds shall automatically be passed through to the local entity that provided the certified local match. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 215.425, all such federal Title IV-E funds earned for the current fiscal year as a result of using certified local match, except for up to 5 percent of such earnings that the department is authorized to retain for administrative purposes, shall be distributed as set forth in this section and this process shall not impact the department’s allocation to any district. All of the provisions of this section are based upon federal approval of the provisions as specifically limited in this section and shall not become effective if any further modifications are required of the state, unless and until federal approval has been obtained. The department shall annually prepare a report to be submitted to the Legislature no later than January 1 documenting the specific activities undertaken during the previous fiscal year pursuant to this section.
History.s. 6, ch. 97-260; s. 55, ch. 99-193.
409.2675 Rules.
(1) The Department of Children and Family Services shall adopt rules governing the shared county and state program under s. 409.2673. Topics to be addressed by rule include, but are not limited to:
(a) The transfer of funds from the state to the counties;
(b) Maintenance of services during the period of time a county begins participating in the optional phase of the program and in the mandatory phase of the program;
(c) Determination of program eligibility, including income and asset tests and intent-to-reside criteria;
(d) Subrogation of the right to receive payment for services provided under the program;
(e) Criteria for the out-of-county hospitalization of program participants;
(f) Data elements and forms required for each county to report to the Department of Revenue;
(g) The allocation of program funds;
(h) The duties of the lead agency within each county; and
(i) Coordination among primary care agencies participating in the program.
(2) The rules required by this section shall be developed by a nine-member work group consisting of equal representation by the Department of Children and Family Services, the counties, and the hospital industry. County representatives to this work group shall be appointed by the Florida Association of Counties.
History.s. 20, ch. 90-295; ss. 38, 39, ch. 91-201; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 119, ch. 97-101.
409.285 Opportunity for hearing and appeal.
(1) If an application for public assistance is not acted upon within a reasonable time after the filing of the application, or is denied in whole or in part, or if an assistance payment is modified or canceled, the applicant or recipient may appeal the decision to the Department of Children and Family Services in the manner and form prescribed by the department.
(2) The hearing authority may be the Secretary of Children and Family Services, a panel of department officials, or a hearing officer appointed for that purpose. The hearing authority is responsible for a final administrative decision in the name of the department on all issues that have been the subject of a hearing. With regard to the department, the decision of the hearing authority is final and binding. The department is responsible for seeing that the decision is carried out promptly.
(3) The department may adopt rules to administer this section. Rules for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant programs must be similar to the federal requirements for Medicaid programs.
History.s. 1, ch. 69-268; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-255; s. 283, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 19, ch. 78-95; s. 120, ch. 97-101; s. 9, ch. 98-152.
409.352 Licensing requirements for physicians, osteopathic physicians, and chiropractic physicians employed by the department.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that physicians providing services in state institutions meet the professional standards of their respective licensing boards and that such institutions make every reasonable effort to assure that all physicians employed are licensed, or will become licensed, in this state. When state-licensed physicians cannot be obtained in sufficient numbers to provide quality services, the licensing requirements in chapters 458, 459, and 460 to the contrary notwithstanding, persons employed as physicians, osteopathic physicians, or chiropractic physicians in a state institution, except those under the control of the Department of Corrections on June 28, 1977, may be exempted from licensure in accordance with the following provisions:
(a) No more than 10 percent of such persons shall be exempted from licensure during their continued employment in a state institution. Those persons who shall be so exempted shall be selected by the State Surgeon General. In making the selection, the State Surgeon General shall submit his or her recommendations to the appropriate licensing board for a determination by the board, without written examination, of whether or not the person recommended meets the professional standards required of such person in the performance of his or her duties or functions. The criteria to be used by the respective board in making its determination shall include, but not be limited to, the person’s professional educational background, formal specialty training, and professional experience within the 10 years immediately preceding employment by the state institution.
(b) Those persons not exempted pursuant to paragraph (a) shall not be required to obtain a license from the applicable licensing board in accordance with the provisions of chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 460 prior to October 1, 1981, as a prerequisite to their continued employment as a physician, osteopathic physician, or chiropractic physician in a state institution. Each such exempted physician shall have been certified to the department by the appropriate licensing board as eligible for admission for examination in this state. A licensing board shall not certify to the department as eligible for admission for examination any person who has been adjudged unqualified or guilty of any of the acts enumerated in the disciplinary provisions of the applicable licensing law.
(c) Each unlicensed physician employed by the department shall work under the direct supervision of a licensed physician.
(2) No person subject to the provisions of this section shall, by virtue of continued employment in accordance with such provisions, be in violation of the unauthorized practice provisions of chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 460 during such period of employment.
History.s. 3, ch. 79-302; ss. 2, 3, ch. 80-352; s. 1, ch. 80-354; s. 47, ch. 97-103; s. 182, ch. 99-8; s. 57, ch. 2008-6.
1409.401 Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is hereby enacted into law and entered into with all other jurisdictions legally joining therein in form substantially as follows:

INTERSTATE COMPACT ON THE
PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN

ARTICLE I. Purpose and Policy

It is the purpose and policy of the party states to cooperate with each other in the interstate placement of children to the end that:

(a) Each child requiring placement shall receive the maximum opportunity to be placed in a suitable environment and with persons or institutions having appropriate qualifications and facilities to provide a necessary and desirable degree and type of care.

(b) The appropriate authorities in a state where a child is to be placed may have full opportunity to ascertain the circumstances of the proposed placement, thereby promoting full compliance with applicable requirements for the protection of the child.

(c) The proper authorities of the state from which the placement is made may obtain the most complete information on the basis on which to evaluate a projected placement before it is made.

(d) Appropriate jurisdictional arrangements for the care of children will be promoted.

ARTICLE II. Definitions

As used in this compact:

(a) “Child” means a person who, by reason of minority, is legally subject to parental, guardianship or similar control.

(b) “Sending agency” means a party state, officer or employee thereof; a subdivision of a party state, or officer or employee thereof; a court of a party state; a person, corporation, association, charitable agency or other entity which sends, brings, or causes to be sent or brought any child to another party state.

(c) “Receiving state” means the state to which a child is sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought, whether by public authorities or private persons or agencies, and whether for placement with state or local public authorities or for placement with private agencies or persons.

(d) “Placement” means the arrangement for the care of a child in a family free or boarding home or in a child-caring agency or institution but does not include any institution caring for the mentally ill, mentally defective or epileptic or any institution primarily educational in character, and any hospital or other medical facility.

ARTICLE III. Conditions for Placement

(a) No sending agency shall send, bring, or cause to be sent or brought into any other party state any child for placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption unless the sending agency shall comply with each and every requirement set forth in this article and with the applicable laws of the receiving state governing the placement of children therein.

(b) Prior to sending, bringing, or causing any child to be sent or brought into a receiving state for placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption, the sending agency shall furnish the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state written notice of the intention to send, bring, or place the child in the receiving state. The notice shall contain:

(1) The name, date and place of birth of the child.

(2) The identity and address or addresses of the parents or legal guardian.

(3) The name and address of the person, agency or institution to or with which the sending agency proposes to send, bring, or place the child.

(4) A full statement of the reasons for such proposed action and evidence of the authority pursuant to which the placement is proposed to be made.

(c) Any public officer or agency in a receiving state which is in receipt of a notice pursuant to paragraph (b) of this article may request of the sending agency, or any other appropriate officer or agency of or in the sending agency’s state, and shall be entitled to receive therefrom, such supporting or additional information as it may deem necessary under the circumstances to carry out the purpose and policy of this compact.

(d) The child shall not be sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought into the receiving state until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state shall notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

ARTICLE IV. Penalty for Illegal Placement

The sending, bringing, or causing to be sent or brought into any receiving state of a child in violation of the terms of this compact shall constitute a violation of the laws respecting the placement of children of both the state in which the sending agency is located or from which it sends or brings the child and of the receiving state. Such violation may be punished or subjected to penalty in either jurisdiction in accordance with its laws. In addition to liability for any such punishment or penalty, any such violation shall constitute full and sufficient grounds for the suspension or revocation of any license, permit, or other legal authorization held by the sending agency which empowers or allows it to place, or care for children.

ARTICLE V. Retention of Jurisdiction

(a) The sending agency shall retain jurisdiction over the child sufficient to determine all matters in relation to the custody, supervision, care, treatment and disposition of the child which it would have had if the child had remained in the sending agency’s state, until the child is adopted, reaches majority, becomes self-supporting or is discharged with the concurrence of the appropriate authority in the receiving state. Such jurisdiction shall also include the power to effect or cause the return of the child or its transfer to another location and custody pursuant to law. The sending agency shall continue to have financial responsibility for support and maintenance of the child during the period of the placement. Nothing contained herein shall defeat a claim of jurisdiction by a receiving state sufficient to deal with an act of delinquency or crime committed therein.

(b) When the sending agency is a public agency, it may enter into an agreement with an authorized public or private agency in the receiving state providing for the performance of one or more services in respect of such case by the latter as agent for the sending agency.

(c) Nothing in this compact shall be construed to prevent a private charitable agency authorized to place children in the receiving state from performing services or acting as agent in that state for a private charitable agency of the sending state; nor to prevent the agency in the receiving state from discharging financial responsibility for the support and maintenance of a child who has been placed on behalf of the sending agency without relieving the responsibility set forth in paragraph (a) hereof.

ARTICLE VI. Institutional Care of

Delinquent Children

A child adjudicated delinquent may be placed in an institution in another party jurisdiction pursuant to this compact but no such placement shall be made unless the child is given a court hearing on notice to the parent or guardian with opportunity to be heard, prior to being sent to such other party jurisdiction for institutional care and the court finds that:

1. Equivalent facilities for the child are not available in the sending agency’s jurisdiction; and

2. Institutional care in the other jurisdiction is in the best interest of the child and will not produce undue hardship.

ARTICLE VII. Compact Administrator

The executive head of each jurisdiction party to this compact shall designate an officer who shall be general coordinator of activities under this compact in his or her jurisdiction and who, acting jointly with like officers of other party jurisdictions, shall have power to promulgate rules and regulations to carry out more effectively the terms and provisions of this compact.

ARTICLE VIII. Limitations

This compact shall not apply to:

(a) The sending or bringing of a child into a receiving state by a parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, or a guardian and leaving the child with any such relative or nonagency guardian in the receiving state.

(b) Any placement, sending or bringing of a child into a receiving state pursuant to any other interstate compact to which both the state from which the child is sent or brought and the receiving state are party, or to any other agreement between said states which has the force of law.

ARTICLE IX. Enactment and Withdrawal

This compact shall be open to joinder by any state, territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and, with the consent of Congress, the Government of Canada or any province thereof. It shall become effective with respect to any such jurisdiction when such jurisdiction has enacted the same into law. Withdrawal from this compact shall be by the enactment of a statute repealing the same, but shall not take effect until 2 years after the effective date of such statute and until written notice of the withdrawal has been given by the withdrawing state to the Governor of each other party jurisdiction. Withdrawal of a party state shall not affect the rights, duties and obligations under this compact of any sending agency therein with respect to a placement made prior to the effective date of withdrawal.

ARTICLE X. Construction and Severability

The provisions of this compact shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes thereof. The provisions of this compact shall be severable and if any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of any party state or of the United States or the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this compact and the applicability thereof to any government, agency, person or circumstance shall not be affected thereby. If this compact shall be held contrary to the constitution of any state party thereto, the compact shall remain in full force and effect as to the remaining states and in full force and effect as to the state affected as to all severable matters.

History.s. 1, ch. 74-317; s. 48, ch. 97-103; s. 2, ch. 2009-148.
1Note.Section 409.409, created by s. 2, ch. 2009-148, provides that the existing compact in s. 409.401 will remain in effect until entry into the replacement compact created in s. 409.408. Section 409.408 provides for execution of the new compact by the Governor “[e]ffective July 1, 2009, or upon the enactment of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children into law by the 35th compacting state, whichever date occurs later.” The contingency has not occurred as of publication of the 2009 Florida Statutes.
409.402 Financial responsibility for child.Financial responsibility for any child placed pursuant to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Article V thereof in the first instance. However, in the event of partial or complete default of performance thereunder, the provisions of state laws fixing responsibility for the support of children also may be invoked.
History.s. 2, ch. 74-317.
409.403 Definitions; Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
(1) The “appropriate public authorities” as used in Article III of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children shall, with reference to this state, mean the Department of Children and Family Services, and said department shall receive and act with reference to notices required by said Article III.
(2) As used in paragraph (a) of Article V of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, the phrase “appropriate authority in the receiving state” with reference to this state shall mean the Department of Children and Family Services.
(3) As used in Article VII of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, the term “executive head” means the Governor. The Governor is hereby authorized to appoint a compact administrator in accordance with the terms of said Article VII.
History.ss. 3, 4, 8, ch. 74-317; s. 288, ch. 77-147; s. 121, ch. 97-101.
409.404 Agreements between party state officers and agencies.
(1) The officers and agencies of this state and its subdivisions having authority to place children are hereby empowered to enter into agreements with appropriate officers or agencies of or in other party states pursuant to paragraph (b) of Article V of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, s. 409.401. Any such agreement which contains a financial commitment or imposes a financial obligation on this state or subdivision or agency thereof shall not be binding unless it has the approval in writing of the secretary of Children and Family Services in the case of the state.
(2) Any requirements for visitation, inspection, or supervision of children, homes, institutions, or other agencies in another party state which may apply under the provisions of chapter 63 and this chapter shall be deemed to be met if performed pursuant to an agreement entered into by appropriate agencies of this state or a subdivision thereof as contemplated by paragraph (b) of Article V of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, s. 409.401.
History.ss. 5, 6, ch. 74-317; s. 122, ch. 97-101.
409.405 Court placement of delinquent children.Any court having jurisdiction to place delinquent children may place such a child in an institution in another state pursuant to Article VI of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, s. 409.401, and shall retain jurisdiction as provided in Article V thereof.
History.s. 7, ch. 74-317.
409.406 Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance.The Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance is enacted into law and entered into with all other jurisdictions legally joining therein in form substantially as follows:

INTERSTATE COMPACT ON
ADOPTION AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

ARTICLE I. Findings

The Legislature finds that:

(a) Special measures are required to find adoptive families for children for whom state assistance is desirable pursuant to s. 409.166 and to assure the protection of the interest of the children affected during the entire assistance period when the adoptive parents move to another state or are residents of another state.

(b) The providers of medical and other necessary services for children who benefit from state assistance encounter special difficulties when the provision of services takes place in other states.

ARTICLE II. Purposes

The purposes of the act are to:

(a) Authorize the Department of Children and Family Services to enter into interstate agreements with agencies of other states to protect children for whom it provides adoption assistance.

(b) Provide procedures for interstate children’s adoption-assistance payments, including medical payments.

ARTICLE III. Definitions

As used in this compact, the term:

(a) “Agency” means the Agency for Health Care Administration.

(b) “Department” means the Florida Department of Children and Family Services.

(c) “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or a territory or possession of or administered by the United States.

(d) “Adoption-assistance state” means the state that is signatory to an adoption-assistance agreement in a particular case.

(e) “Residence state” means the state where the child resides.

(f) “Medical assistance” means the medical-assistance program authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act.

ARTICLE IV. Compacts Authorized

The Department of Children and Family Services, by and through its secretary, may participate in the development of and negotiate and enter into interstate compacts on behalf of this state with other states to implement the purposes of this act. Such a compact has the force and effect of law.

ARTICLE V. Contents of Compacts

A compact entered into under this act must have the following content:

(a) A provision making it available for joinder by all states;

(b) A provision for withdrawal from the compact upon written notice to the parties, but with a period of 1 year between the date of the notice and the effective date of the withdrawal;

(c) A requirement that the protections afforded under the compact continue in force for the duration of the adoption assistance and are applicable to all children and their adoptive parents who, on the effective date of the withdrawal, are receiving adoption assistance from a party state other than the one in which they are residents and have their principal place of abode;

(d) A requirement that each instance of adoption assistance to which the compact applies be covered by an adoption-assistance agreement in writing between the adoptive parents and the state child welfare agency of the state which undertakes to provide the adoption assistance and, further, that any such agreement be expressly for the benefit of the adopted child and enforceable by the adoptive parents and the state agency providing the adoption assistance; and

(e) Such other provisions as are appropriate to the proper administration of the compact.

ARTICLE VI. Optional Contents
of Compacts

A compact entered into under this section may contain provisions in addition to those required by Article V, as follows:

(a) Provisions establishing procedures and entitlement to medical and other necessary social services for the child in accordance with applicable laws, even though the child and the adoptive parents are in a state other than the one responsible for or providing the services, or the funds to defray part or all of the costs thereof; and

(b) Such other provisions as are appropriate or incidental to the proper administration of the compact.

ARTICLE VII. Medical Assistance

(a) A child with special needs who is a resident of this state and who is the subject of an adoption-assistance agreement with another state is entitled to receive a medical-assistance identification from this state upon the filing with the agency of a certified copy of the adoption-assistance agreement obtained from the adoption-assistance state. Pursuant to rules of the agency, the adoptive parents shall at least annually show that the agreement is still in force or has been renewed.

(b) The terms of the compact entered into by the department apply to children who are the subject of federal adoption-assistance agreements. The state will provide the benefits under this section to children who are the subject of a state adoption-assistance agreement, upon the determination by the department and the agency that the adoption-assistance state is a party to the compact and has reciprocity in provision of medical assistance to state adoption-assistance children.

(c) The agency shall consider the holder of a medical-assistance identification pursuant to this section as any other holder of a medical-assistance identification under the laws of this state and shall process and make payment on claims on behalf of such holder in the same manner and under the same conditions and procedures established for other recipients of medical assistance.

(d) The provisions of this article apply only to medical assistance for children under adoption-assistance agreements from a state that has entered into a compact with this state under which the other state provided medical assistance to children with special needs under adoption-assistance agreements made by this state. All other children entitled to medical assistance pursuant to an adoption-assistance agreement entered into by this state are eligible to receive such assistance under the laws and procedures applicable thereto.

(e) The department shall adopt rules necessary for administering this section.

ARTICLE VIII. Federal Participation

Consistent with federal law, the department and the agency, in administering this act and any compact pursuant to this act, must include in any state plan made pursuant to the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (Pub. L. No. 96-272), Titles IV(E) and XIX of the Social Security Act, and any other applicable federal laws, the provision of adoption assistance and medical assistance for which the Federal Government pays some or all of the cost. The department and the agency shall apply for and administer all relevant federal aid in accordance with law.

History.s. 1, ch. 2002-16.
409.407 Interstate agreements between the Department of Children and Family Services and agencies of other states.The Department of Children and Family Services, which is authorized to enter into interstate agreements with agencies of other states for the implementation of the purposes of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance pursuant to s. 409.406, may not expand the financial commitment of the state beyond the financial obligation of the adoption-assistance agreements and Medicaid.
History.s. 2, ch. 2002-16.
409.408 Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.Effective July 1, 2009, or upon the enactment of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children into law by the 35th compacting state, whichever date occurs later, the Governor is authorized and directed to execute a compact on behalf of this state with any other state or states legally joining therein in the form substantially as follows:

INTERSTATE COMPACT
FOR THE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN

ARTICLE I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children is to:

A. Provide a process through which children subject to this compact are placed in safe and suitable homes in a timely manner.

B. Facilitate ongoing supervision of a placement, the delivery of services, and communication between the states.

C. Provide operating procedures that will ensure that children are placed in safe and suitable homes in a timely manner.

D. Provide for the promulgation and enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact and regulating the covered activities of the member states.

E. Provide for uniform data collection and information sharing between member states under this compact.

F. Promote coordination between this compact, the Interstate Compact for Juveniles, the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance, and other compacts affecting the placement of and which provide services to children otherwise subject to this compact.

G. Provide for a state’s continuing legal jurisdiction and responsibility for placement and care of a child that it would have had if the placement were intrastate.

H. Provide for the promulgation of guidelines, in collaboration with Indian tribes, for interstate cases involving Indian children as is or may be permitted by federal law.

ARTICLE II. DEFINITIONS

As used in this compact:

A. “Approved placement” means the public child-placing agency in the receiving state has determined that the placement is both safe and suitable for the child.

B. “Assessment” means an evaluation of a prospective placement by a public child-placing agency in the receiving state to determine if the placement meets the individualized needs of the child, including, but not limited to, the child’s safety and stability, health and well-being, and mental, emotional, and physical development. An assessment is only applicable to a placement by a public child-placing agency.

C. “Child” means an individual who has not attained the age of 18.

D. “Certification” means to attest, declare, or swear to before a judge or notary public.

E. “Default” means the failure of a member state to perform the obligations or responsibilities imposed upon it by this compact or the bylaws or rules of the Interstate Commission.

F. “Home study” means an evaluation of a home environment conducted in accordance with the applicable requirements of the state in which the home is located and that documents the preparation and the suitability of the placement resource for placement of a child in accordance with the laws and requirements of the state in which the home is located.

G. “Indian tribe” means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians recognized as eligible for services provided to Indians by the Secretary of the Interior because of their status as Indians, including any Alaskan native village as defined in section 3(c) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 43 U.S.C. s. 1602(c).

H. “Interstate Commission for the Placement of Children” means the commission that is created under Article VIII of this compact and which is generally referred to as the “Interstate Commission.”

I. “Jurisdiction” means the power and authority of a court to hear and decide matters.

J. “Legal risk placement” or “legal risk adoption” means a placement made preliminary to an adoption where the prospective adoptive parents acknowledge in writing that a child can be ordered returned to the sending state or the birth mother’s state of residence, if different from the sending state, and a final decree of adoption shall not be entered in any jurisdiction until all required consents are obtained or are dispensed with in accordance with applicable law.

K. “Member state” means a state that has enacted this compact.

L. “Noncustodial parent” means a person who, at the time of the commencement of court proceedings in the sending state, does not have sole legal custody of the child or has joint legal custody of a child, and who is not the subject of allegations or findings of child abuse or neglect.

M. “Nonmember state” means a state which has not enacted this compact.

N. “Notice of residential placement” means information regarding a placement into a residential facility provided to the receiving state, including, but not limited to, the name, date, and place of birth of the child, the identity and address of the parent or legal guardian, evidence of authority to make the placement, and the name and address of the facility in which the child will be placed. Notice of residential placement shall also include information regarding a discharge and any unauthorized absence from the facility.

O. “Placement” means the act by a public or private child-placing agency intended to arrange for the care or custody of a child in another state.

P. “Private child-placing agency” means any private corporation, agency, foundation, institution, or charitable organization, or any private person or attorney, that facilitates, causes, or is involved in the placement of a child from one state to another and that is not an instrumentality of the state or acting under color of state law.

Q. “Provisional placement” means a determination made by the public child-placing agency in the receiving state that the proposed placement is safe and suitable, and, to the extent allowable, the receiving state has temporarily waived its standards or requirements otherwise applicable to prospective foster or adoptive parents so as to not delay the placement. Completion of the receiving state requirements regarding training for prospective foster or adoptive parents shall not delay an otherwise safe and suitable placement.

R. “Public child-placing agency” means any government child welfare agency or child protection agency or a private entity under contract with such an agency, regardless of whether the entity acts on behalf of a state, a county, a municipality, or another governmental unit, and which facilitates, causes, or is involved in the placement of a child from one state to another.

S. “Receiving state” means the state to which a child is sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought.

T. “Relative” means someone who is related to the child as a parent, stepparent, sibling by half or whole blood or by adoption, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or first cousin or a nonrelative with such significant ties to the child that the nonrelative may be regarded as a relative as determined by the court in the sending state.

U. “Residential facility” means a facility providing a level of care that is sufficient to substitute for parental responsibility or foster care and that is beyond what is needed for assessment or treatment of an acute condition. For purposes of the compact, the term “residential facility” does not include institutions primarily educational in character, hospitals, or other medical facilities.

V. “Rule” means a written directive, mandate, standard, or principle issued by the Interstate Commission promulgated pursuant to Article XI of this compact that is of general applicability and that implements, interprets, or prescribes a policy or provision of the compact. A rule has the force and effect of an administrative rule in a member state and includes the amendment, repeal, or suspension of an existing rule.

W. “Sending state” means the state from which the placement of a child is initiated.

X. “Service member’s permanent duty station” means the military installation where an active duty United States Armed Services member is currently assigned and is physically located under competent orders that do not specify the duty as temporary.

Y. “Service member’s state of legal residence” means the state in which the active duty United States Armed Services member is considered a resident for tax and voting purposes.

Z. “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other territory of the United States.

AA. “State court” means a judicial body of a state that is vested by law with responsibility for adjudicating cases involving abuse, neglect, deprivation, delinquency, or status offenses of individuals who have not attained the age of 18.

BB. “Supervision” means monitoring provided by the receiving state once a child has been placed in a receiving state pursuant to this compact.

ARTICLE III. APPLICABILITY

A. Except as otherwise provided in Article III, Section B, this compact shall apply to:

1. The interstate placement of a child subject to ongoing court jurisdiction in the sending state, due to allegations or findings that the child has been abused, neglected, or deprived as defined by the laws of the sending state; provided, however, that the placement of such a child into a residential facility shall only require notice of residential placement to the receiving state prior to placement.

2. The interstate placement of a child adjudicated delinquent or unmanageable based on the laws of the sending state and subject to ongoing court jurisdiction of the sending state if:

a. The child is being placed in a residential facility in another member state and is not covered under another compact; or

b. The child is being placed in another member state and the determination of safety and suitability of the placement and services required is not provided through another compact.

3. The interstate placement of any child by a public child-placing agency or private child-placing agency as a preliminary step to a possible adoption.

B. The provisions of this compact shall not apply to:

1. The interstate placement of a child in a custody proceeding in which a public child-placing agency is not a party; provided, however, that the placement is not intended to effectuate an adoption.

2. The interstate placement of a child with a nonrelative in a receiving state by a parent with the legal authority to make such a placement; provided, however, that the placement is not intended to effectuate an adoption.

3. The interstate placement of a child by one relative with the lawful authority to make such a placement directly with a relative in a receiving state.

4. The placement of a child, not subject to Article III, Section A, into a residential facility by his or her parent.

5. The placement of a child with a noncustodial parent, provided that:

a. The noncustodial parent proves to the satisfaction of a court in the sending state a substantial relationship with the child;

b. The court in the sending state makes a written finding that placement with the noncustodial parent is in the best interests of the child; and

c. The court in the sending state dismisses its jurisdiction in interstate placements in which the public child-placing agency is a party to the proceeding.

6. A child entering the United States from a foreign country for the purpose of adoption or leaving the United States to go to a foreign country for the purpose of adoption in that country.

7. Cases in which a child who is a United States citizen living overseas with his or her family, at least one of whom is in the United States Armed Services and stationed overseas, is removed and placed in a state.

8. The sending of a child by a public child-placing agency or a private child-placing agency for a visit as defined by the rules of the Interstate Commission.

C. For purposes of determining the applicability of this compact to the placement of a child with a family member in the United States Armed Services, the public child-placing agency or private child-placing agency may choose the state of the service member’s permanent duty station or the service member’s declared legal residence.

D. Nothing in this compact shall be construed to prohibit the concurrent application of the provisions of this compact with other applicable interstate compacts, including the Interstate Compact for Juveniles and the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance. The Interstate Commission may, in cooperation with other interstate compact commissions having responsibility for the interstate movement, placement, or transfer of children, promulgate similar rules to ensure the coordination of services, timely placement of children, and reduction of unnecessary or duplicative administrative or procedural requirements.

ARTICLE IV. JURISDICTION

A. Except as provided in Article IV, Section H, and Article V, Section B, paragraphs 2. and 3., concerning private and independent adoptions, and in interstate placements in which the public child-placing agency is not a party to a custody proceeding, the sending state shall retain jurisdiction over a child with respect to all matters of custody and disposition of the child which it would have had if the child had remained in the sending state. Such jurisdiction shall also include the power to order the return of the child to the sending state.

B. When an issue of child protection or custody is brought before a court in the receiving state, such court shall confer with the court of the sending state to determine the most appropriate forum for adjudication.

C. In cases that are before courts and subject to this compact, the taking of testimony for hearings before any judicial officer may occur in person or by telephone, audio-video conference, or such other means as approved by the rules of the Interstate Commission, and judicial officers may communicate with other judicial officers and persons involved in the interstate process as may be permitted by their Code of Judicial Conduct and any rules promulgated by the Interstate Commission.

D. In accordance with its own laws, the court in the sending state shall have authority to terminate its jurisdiction if:

1. The child is reunified with the parent in the receiving state who is the subject of allegations or findings of abuse or neglect, only with the concurrence of the public child-placing agency in the receiving state;

2. The child is adopted;

3. The child reaches the age of majority under the laws of the sending state;

4. The child achieves legal independence pursuant to the laws of the sending state;

5. A guardianship is created by a court in the receiving state with the concurrence of the court in the sending state;

6. An Indian tribe has petitioned for and received jurisdiction from the court in the sending state; or

7. The public child-placing agency of the sending state requests termination and has obtained the concurrence of the public child-placing agency in the receiving state.

E. When a sending state court terminates its jurisdiction, the receiving state child-placing agency shall be notified.

F. Nothing in this article shall defeat a claim of jurisdiction by a receiving state court sufficient to deal with an act of truancy, delinquency, crime, or behavior involving a child as defined by the laws of the receiving state committed by the child in the receiving state which would be a violation of its laws.

G. Nothing in this article shall limit the receiving state’s ability to take emergency jurisdiction for the protection of the child.

H. The substantive laws of the state in which an adoption will be finalized shall solely govern all issues relating to the adoption of the child, and the court in which the adoption proceeding is filed shall have subject matter jurisdiction regarding all substantive issues relating to the adoption, except:

1. When the child is a ward of another court that established jurisdiction over the child prior to the placement;

2. When the child is in the legal custody of a public agency in the sending state; or

3. When a court in the sending state has otherwise appropriately assumed jurisdiction over the child prior to the submission of the request for approval of placement.

I. A final decree of adoption shall not be entered in any jurisdiction until the placement is authorized as an “approved placement” by the public child-placing agency in the receiving state.

ARTICLE V. PLACEMENT EVALUATION

A. Prior to sending, bringing, or causing a child to be sent or brought into a receiving state, the public child-placing agency shall provide a written request for assessment to the receiving state.

B. For placements by a private child-placing agency, a child may be sent or brought, or caused to be sent or brought, into a receiving state upon receipt and immediate review of the required content in a request for approval of a placement in both the sending and receiving state public child-placing agencies. The required content to accompany a request for approval shall include all of the following:

1. A request for approval identifying the child, the birth parents, the prospective adoptive parents, and the supervising agency, signed by the person requesting approval.

2. The appropriate consents or relinquishments signed by the birth parents in accordance with the laws of the sending state or, where permitted, the laws of the state where the adoption will be finalized.

3. Certification by a licensed attorney or authorized agent of a private adoption agency that the consent or relinquishment is in compliance with the applicable laws of the sending state or, where permitted, the laws of the state where finalization of the adoption will occur.

4. A home study.

5. An acknowledgment of legal risk signed by the prospective adoptive parents.

C. The sending state and the receiving state may request additional information or documents prior to finalization of an approved placement, but they may not delay travel by the prospective adoptive parents with the child if the required content for approval has been submitted, received, and reviewed by the public child-placing agency in both the sending state and the receiving state.

D. Approval from the public child-placing agency in the receiving state for a provisional or approved placement is required as provided for in the rules of the Interstate Commission.

E. The procedures for making the request for an assessment shall contain all information and be in such form as provided for in the rules of the Interstate Commission.

F. Upon receipt of a request from the public child-placing agency of the sending state, the receiving state shall initiate an assessment of the proposed placement to determine its safety and suitability. If the proposed placement is a placement with a relative, the public child-placing agency of the sending state may request a determination for a provisional placement.

G. The public child-placing agency in the receiving state may request from the public child-placing agency or the private child-placing agency in the sending state, and shall be entitled to receive, supporting or additional information necessary to complete the assessment or approve the placement.

H. The public child-placing agency in the receiving state shall approve a provisional placement and complete or arrange for the completion of the assessment within the timeframes established by the rules of the Interstate Commission.

I. For a placement by a private child-placing agency, the sending state shall not impose any additional requirements to complete the home study that are not required by the receiving state, unless the adoption is finalized in the sending state.

J. The Interstate Commission may develop uniform standards for the assessment of the safety and suitability of interstate placements.

ARTICLE VI. PLACEMENT AUTHORITY

A. Except as otherwise provided in this compact, no child subject to this compact shall be placed in a receiving state until approval for such placement is obtained.

B. If the public child-placing agency in the receiving state does not approve the proposed placement, then the child shall not be placed. The receiving state shall provide written documentation of any such determination in accordance with the rules promulgated by the Interstate Commission. Such determination is not subject to judicial review in the sending state.

C. If the proposed placement is not approved, any interested party shall have standing to seek an administrative review of the receiving state’s determination.

1. The administrative review and any further judicial review associated with the determination shall be conducted in the receiving state pursuant to its applicable Administrative Procedures Act.

2. If a determination not to approve the placement of the child in the receiving state is overturned upon review, the placement shall be deemed approved; provided, however, that all administrative or judicial remedies have been exhausted or the time for such remedies has passed.

ARTICLE VII. PLACING AGENCY RESPONSIBILITY

A. For the interstate placement of a child made by a public child-placing agency or state court:

1. The public child-placing agency in the sending state shall have financial responsibility for:

a. The ongoing support and maintenance for the child during the period of the placement, unless otherwise provided for in the receiving state; and

b. As determined by the public child-placing agency in the sending state, services for the child beyond the public services for which the child is eligible in the receiving state.

2. The receiving state shall only have financial responsibility for:

a. Any assessment conducted by the receiving state; and

b. Supervision conducted by the receiving state at the level necessary to support the placement as agreed upon by the public child-placing agencies of the receiving and sending states.

3. Nothing in this section shall prohibit public child-placing agencies in the sending state from entering into agreements with licensed agencies or persons in the receiving state to conduct assessments and provide supervision.

B. For the placement of a child by a private child-placing agency preliminary to a possible adoption, the private child-placing agency shall be:

1. Legally responsible for the child during the period of placement as provided for in the law of the sending state until the finalization of the adoption.

2. Financially responsible for the child absent a contractual agreement to the contrary.

C. The public child-placing agency in the receiving state shall provide timely assessments, as provided for in the rules of the Interstate Commission.

D. The public child-placing agency in the receiving state shall provide, or arrange for the provision of, supervision and services for the child, including timely reports, during the period of the placement.

E. Nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit the authority of the public child-placing agency in the receiving state from contracting with a licensed agency or person in the receiving state for an assessment or the provision of supervision or services for the child or otherwise authorizing the provision of supervision or services by a licensed agency during the period of placement.

F. Each member state shall provide for coordination among its branches of government concerning the state’s participation in and compliance with the compact and Interstate Commission activities through the creation of an advisory council or use of an existing body or board.

G. Each member state shall establish a central state compact office which shall be responsible for state compliance with the compact and the rules of the Interstate Commission.

H. The public child-placing agency in the sending state shall oversee compliance with the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. ss. 1901 et seq., for placements subject to the provisions of this compact, prior to placement.

I. With the consent of the Interstate Commission, states may enter into limited agreements that facilitate the timely assessment and provision of services and supervision of placements under this compact.

ARTICLE VIII. INTERSTATE COMMISSION FOR
THE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN

The member states hereby establish, by way of this compact, a commission known as the “Interstate Commission for the Placement of Children.” The activities of the Interstate Commission are the formation of public policy and are a discretionary state function. The Interstate Commission shall:

A. Be a joint commission of the member states and shall have the responsibilities, powers, and duties set forth herein and such additional powers as may be conferred upon it by subsequent concurrent action of the respective legislatures of the member states.

B. Consist of one commissioner from each member state who shall be appointed by the executive head of the state human services administration with ultimate responsibility for the child welfare program. The appointed commissioner shall have the legal authority to vote on policy-related matters governed by this compact binding the state.

1. Each member state represented at a meeting of the Interstate Commission is entitled to one vote.

2. A majority of the member states shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, unless a larger quorum is required by the bylaws of the Interstate Commission.

3. A representative shall not delegate a vote to another member state.

4. A representative may delegate voting authority to another person from that state for a specified meeting.

C. Include, in addition to the commissioners of each member state, persons who are members of interested organizations as defined in the bylaws or rules of the Interstate Commission. Such members shall be ex officio and shall not be entitled to vote on any matter before the Interstate Commission.

D. Establish an executive committee which shall have the authority to administer the day-to-day operations and administration of the Interstate Commission. The executive committee shall not have the power to engage in rulemaking.

ARTICLE IX. POWERS AND DUTIES OF
THE INTERSTATE COMMISSION

The Interstate Commission shall have the following powers:

A. To promulgate rules and take all necessary actions to effect the goals, purposes, and obligations as enumerated in this compact.

B. To provide for dispute resolution among member states.

C. To issue, upon request of a member state, advisory opinions concerning the meaning or interpretation of the interstate compact, its bylaws, rules, or actions.

D. To enforce compliance with this compact or the bylaws or rules of the Interstate Commission pursuant to Article XII.

E. Collect standardized data concerning the interstate placement of children subject to this compact as directed through its rules, which shall specify the data to be collected, the means of collection and data exchange, and reporting requirements.

F. To establish and maintain offices as may be necessary for the transacting of its business.

G. To purchase and maintain insurance and bonds.

H. To hire or contract for services of personnel or consultants as necessary to carry out its functions under the compact and establish personnel qualification policies and rates of compensation.

I. To establish and appoint committees and officers, including, but not limited to, an executive committee as required by Article X.

J. To accept any and all donations and grants of money, equipment, supplies, materials, and services, and to receive, utilize, and dispose thereof.

K. To lease, purchase, accept contributions or donations of, or otherwise to own, hold, improve, or use any property, real, personal, or mixed.

L. To sell, convey, mortgage, pledge, lease, exchange, abandon, or otherwise dispose of any property, real, personal, or mixed.

M. To establish a budget and make expenditures.

N. To adopt a seal and bylaws governing the management and operation of the Interstate Commission.

O. To report annually to the legislatures, the governors, the judiciary, and the state advisory councils of the member states concerning the activities of the Interstate Commission during the preceding year. Such reports shall also include any recommendations that may have been adopted by the Interstate Commission.

P. To coordinate and provide education, training, and public awareness regarding the interstate movement of children for officials involved in such activity.

Q. To maintain books and records in accordance with the bylaws of the Interstate Commission.

R. To perform such functions as may be necessary or appropriate to achieve the purposes of this compact.

ARTICLE X. ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION
OF THE INTERSTATE COMMISSION

A. Organization.

1. Within 12 months after the first Interstate Commission meeting, the Interstate Commission shall adopt rules to govern its conduct as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of the compact.

2. The Interstate Commission’s rules shall establish conditions and procedures under which the Interstate Commission shall make its information and official records available to the public for inspection or copying.

B. Meetings.

1. The Interstate Commission shall meet at least once each calendar year. The chairperson may call additional meetings and, upon the request of a simple majority of the member states, shall call additional meetings.

2. Public notice shall be given by the Interstate Commission of all meetings, and all meetings shall be open to the public.

3. The bylaws may provide for meetings of the Interstate Commission to be conducted by telecommunication or other electronic communication.

C. Officers and staff.

1. The Interstate Commission may, through its executive committee, appoint or retain a staff director for such period, upon such terms and conditions, and for such compensation as the Interstate Commission may deem appropriate. The staff director shall serve as secretary to the Interstate Commission but shall not have a vote. The staff director may hire and supervise such other staff as may be authorized by the Interstate Commission.

2. The Interstate Commission shall elect, from among its members, a chairperson and a vice chairperson of the executive committee, and other necessary officers, each of whom shall have such authority and duties as may be specified in the bylaws.

D. Qualified immunity, defense, and indemnification.

1. The Interstate Commission’s staff director and its employees shall be immune from suit and liability, either personally or in their official capacity, for a claim for damage to or loss of property or personal injury or other civil liability caused or arising out of or relating to an actual or alleged act, error, or omission that occurred or that such person had a reasonable basis for believing occurred within the scope of Interstate Commission employment, duties, or responsibilities; provided, however, that such person shall not be protected from suit or liability for damage, loss, injury, or liability caused by a criminal act or the intentional or willful and wanton misconduct of such person.

a. The liability of the Interstate Commission’s staff director and employees or Interstate Commission representatives, acting within the scope of such person’s employment or duties, for acts, errors, or omissions occurring within such person’s state may not exceed the limits of liability set forth under the Constitution and laws of that state for state officials, employees, and agents. The Interstate Commission is considered to be an instrumentality of the states for the purposes of any such action. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to protect such person from suit or liability for damage, loss, injury, or liability caused by a criminal act or the intentional or willful and wanton misconduct of such person.

b. The Interstate Commission shall defend the staff director and its employees and, subject to the approval of the Attorney General or other appropriate legal counsel of the member state, shall defend the commissioner of a member state in a civil action seeking to impose liability arising out of an actual or alleged act, error, or omission that occurred within the scope of Interstate Commission employment, duties, or responsibilities, or that the defendant had a reasonable basis for believing occurred within the scope of Interstate Commission employment, duties, or responsibilities; provided, however, that the actual or alleged act, error, or omission did not result from intentional or willful and wanton misconduct on the part of such person.

c. To the extent not covered by the state involved, a member state, or the Interstate Commission, the representatives or employees of the Interstate Commission shall be held harmless in the amount of a settlement or judgment, including attorney’s fees and costs, obtained against such persons arising out of an actual or alleged act, error, or omission that occurred within the scope of Interstate Commission employment, duties, or responsibilities, or that such persons had a reasonable basis for believing occurred within the scope of Interstate Commission employment, duties, or responsibilities; provided, however, that the actual or alleged act, error, or omission did not result from intentional or willful and wanton misconduct on the part of such persons.

ARTICLE XI. RULEMAKING FUNCTIONS
OF THE INTERSTATE COMMISSION

A. The Interstate Commission shall promulgate and publish rules in order to effectively and efficiently achieve the purposes of the compact.

B. Rulemaking shall occur pursuant to the criteria set forth in this article and the bylaws and rules adopted pursuant thereto. Such rulemaking shall substantially conform to the principles of the “Model State Administrative Procedures Act,” 1981 Act, Uniform Laws Annotated, Vol. 15, p. 1 (2000), or such other administrative procedure acts as the Interstate Commission deems appropriate, consistent with due process requirements under the United States Constitution as now or hereafter interpreted by the United States Supreme Court. All rules and amendments shall become binding as of the date specified, as published with the final version of the rule as approved by the Interstate Commission.

C. When promulgating a rule, the Interstate Commission shall, at a minimum:

1. Publish the proposed rule’s entire text stating the reasons for that proposed rule;

2. Allow and invite any and all persons to submit written data, facts, opinions, and arguments, which information shall be added to the record and made publicly available; and

3. Promulgate a final rule and its effective date, if appropriate, based on input from state or local officials or interested parties.

D. Rules promulgated by the Interstate Commission shall have the force and effect of administrative rules and shall be binding in the compacting states to the extent and in the manner provided for in this compact.

E. Not later than 60 days after a rule is promulgated, an interested person may file a petition in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or in the Federal District Court where the Interstate Commission’s principal office is located for judicial review of such rule. If the court finds that the Interstate Commission’s action is not supported by substantial evidence in the rulemaking record, the court shall hold the rule unlawful and set it aside.

F. If a majority of the legislatures of the member states rejects a rule, those states may by enactment of a statute or resolution in the same manner used to adopt the compact cause that such rule shall have no further force and effect in any member state.

G. The existing rules governing the operation of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children superseded by this act shall be null and void no less than 12 months but no more than 24 months after the first meeting of the Interstate Commission created hereunder, as determined by the members during the first meeting.

H. Within the first 12 months of operation, the Interstate Commission shall promulgate rules addressing the following:

1. Transition rules.

2. Forms and procedures.

3. Timelines.

4. Data collection and reporting.

5. Rulemaking.

6. Visitation.

7. Progress reports and supervision.

8. Sharing of information and confidentiality.

9. Financing of the Interstate Commission.

10. Mediation, arbitration, and dispute resolution.

11. Education, training, and technical assistance.

12. Enforcement.

13. Coordination with other interstate compacts.

I. Upon determination by a majority of the members of the Interstate Commission that an emergency exists:

1. The Interstate Commission may promulgate an emergency rule only if it is required to:

a. Protect the children covered by this compact from an imminent threat to their health, safety, and well-being;

b. Prevent loss of federal or state funds; or

c. Meet a deadline for the promulgation of an administrative rule required by federal law.

2. An emergency rule shall become effective immediately upon adoption, provided that the usual rulemaking procedures provided hereunder shall be retroactively applied to the emergency rule as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than 90 days after the effective date of the emergency rule.

3. An emergency rule shall be promulgated as provided for in the rules of the Interstate Commission.

ARTICLE XII. OVERSIGHT, DISPUTE
RESOLUTION, AND ENFORCEMENT

A. Oversight.

1. The Interstate Commission shall oversee the administration and operation of the compact.

2. The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government in each member state shall enforce this compact and the rules of the Interstate Commission and shall take all actions necessary and appropriate to effectuate the compact’s purposes and intent. The compact and its rules shall be binding in the compacting states to the extent and in the manner provided for in this compact.

3. All courts shall take judicial notice of the compact and the rules in any judicial or administrative proceeding in a member state pertaining to the subject matter of this compact.

4. The Interstate Commission shall be entitled to receive service of process in any action in which the validity of a compact provision or rule is the issue for which a judicial determination has been sought and shall have standing to intervene in any proceedings. Failure to provide service of process to the Interstate Commission shall render any judgment, order, or other determination, however so captioned or classified, void as to this compact, its bylaws, or rules of the Interstate Commission.

B. Dispute resolution.

1. The Interstate Commission shall attempt, upon the request of a member state, to resolve disputes which are subject to the compact and which may arise among member states and between member and nonmember states.

2. The Interstate Commission shall promulgate a rule providing for both mediation and binding dispute resolution for disputes among compacting states. The costs of such mediation or dispute resolution shall be the responsibility of the parties to the dispute.

C. Enforcement.

1. If the Interstate Commission determines that a member state has defaulted in the performance of its obligations or responsibilities under this compact, its bylaws, or rules of the Interstate Commission, the Interstate Commission may:

a. Provide remedial training and specific technical assistance;

b. Provide written notice to the defaulting state and other member states of the nature of the default and the means of curing the default. The Interstate Commission shall specify the conditions by which the defaulting state must cure its default;

c. By majority vote of the members, initiate against a defaulting member state legal action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or, at the discretion of the Interstate Commission, in the federal district where the Interstate Commission has its principal office, to enforce compliance with the provisions of the compact, its bylaws, or rules of the Interstate Commission. The relief sought may include both injunctive relief and damages. In the event judicial enforcement is necessary, the prevailing party shall be awarded all costs of such litigation, including reasonable attorney’s fees; or

d. Avail itself of any other remedies available under state law or the regulation of official or professional conduct.

ARTICLE XIII. FINANCING OF THE COMMISSION

A. The Interstate Commission shall pay, or provide for the payment of, the reasonable expenses of its establishment, organization, and ongoing activities.

B. The Interstate Commission may levy on and collect an annual assessment from each member state to cover the cost of the operations and activities of the Interstate Commission and its staff, which must be in a total amount sufficient to cover the Interstate Commission’s annual budget as approved by its members each year. The aggregate annual assessment amount shall be allocated based upon a formula to be determined by the Interstate Commission, which shall promulgate a rule binding upon all member states.

C. The Interstate Commission shall not incur obligations of any kind prior to securing the funds adequate to meet those obligations, nor shall the Interstate Commission pledge the credit of any of the member states, except by and with the authority of the member state.

D. The Interstate Commission shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements. The receipts and disbursements of the Interstate Commission shall be subject to the audit and accounting procedures established under its bylaws. However, all receipts and disbursements of funds handled by the Interstate Commission shall be audited yearly by a certified or licensed public accountant, and the report of the audit shall be included in and become part of the annual report of the Interstate Commission.

ARTICLE XIV. MEMBER STATES, EFFECTIVE
DATE, AND AMENDMENT

A. Any state is eligible to become a member state.

B. The compact shall become effective and binding upon legislative enactment of the compact into law by no less than 35 states. The effective date shall be the later of July 1, 2007, or upon enactment of the compact into law by the 35th state. Thereafter, it shall become effective and binding as to any other member state upon enactment of the compact into law by that state. The executive heads of the state human services administration with ultimate responsibility for the child welfare program of nonmember states or their designees shall be invited to participate in the activities of the Interstate Commission on a nonvoting basis prior to adoption of the compact by all states.

C. The Interstate Commission may propose amendments to the compact for enactment by the member states. No amendment shall become effective and binding on the member states unless and until it is enacted into law by unanimous consent of the member states.

ARTICLE XV. WITHDRAWAL AND DISSOLUTION

A. Withdrawal.

1. Once effective, the compact shall continue in force and remain binding upon each and every member state, provided that a member state may withdraw from the compact by specifically repealing the statute which enacted the compact into law.

2. Withdrawal from this compact shall be by the enactment of a statute repealing the compact. The effective date of withdrawal shall be the effective date of the repeal of the statute.

3. The withdrawing state shall immediately notify the president of the Interstate Commission in writing upon the introduction of legislation repealing this compact in the withdrawing state. The Interstate Commission shall then notify the other member states of the withdrawing state’s intent to withdraw.

4. The withdrawing state is responsible for all assessments, obligations, and liabilities incurred through the effective date of withdrawal.

5. Reinstatement following withdrawal of a member state shall occur upon the withdrawing state reenacting the compact or upon such later date as determined by the members of the Interstate Commission.

B. Dissolution of compact.

1. This compact shall dissolve effective upon the date of the withdrawal or default of the member state which reduces the membership in the compact to one member state.

2. Upon the dissolution of this compact, the compact becomes null and void and shall be of no further force or effect, and the business and affairs of the Interstate Commission shall be concluded and surplus funds shall be distributed in accordance with the bylaws.

ARTICLE XVI. SEVERABILITY
AND CONSTRUCTION

A. The provisions of this compact shall be severable, and, if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision is deemed unenforceable, the remaining provisions of the compact shall be enforceable.

B. The provisions of this compact shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purposes.

C. Nothing in this compact shall be construed to prohibit the concurrent applicability of other interstate compacts to which the states are members.

ARTICLE XVII. BINDING EFFECT OF COMPACT
AND OTHER LAWS

A. Other laws.

1. Nothing in this compact prevents the enforcement of any other law of a member state that is not inconsistent with this compact.

B. Binding effect of the compact.

1. All lawful actions of the Interstate Commission are binding upon the member states.

2. All agreements between the Interstate Commission and the member states are binding in accordance with their terms.

3. In the event any provision of this compact exceeds the constitutional limits imposed on the legislature or executive branch of any member state, such provision shall be ineffective to the extent of the conflict with the constitutional provision in question in that member state.

ARTICLE XVIII. INDIAN TRIBES

Notwithstanding any other provision in this compact, the Interstate Commission may promulgate guidelines to permit Indian tribes to utilize the compact to achieve any or all of the purposes of the compact as specified in Article I. The Interstate Commission shall make reasonable efforts to consult with Indian tribes in promulgating guidelines to reflect the diverse circumstances of the various Indian tribes.

History.s. 1, ch. 2009-148.
409.409 Effect of existing compact provisions.The provisions of the existing Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, as created under s. 409.401, shall remain in effect until repealed by entry into the new Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, as created under s. 409.408, by the Governor as authorized by ss. 409.408-409.4101.
History.s. 2, ch. 2009-148.
409.4101 Rulemaking authority.Following entry into the new Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children by this state pursuant to ss. 409.408 and 409.409, any rules adopted by the Interstate Commission shall not be binding unless also adopted by this state through the rulemaking process. The Department of Children and Family Services shall have rulemaking authority pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children created under s. 409.408.
History.s. 3, ch. 2009-148.
409.441 Runaway youth programs and centers.
(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.The purpose of this act is to assist runaway youths and their families through a program of prevention, early intervention, community outreach, short-term residential care, aftercare, and counseling. The Legislature intends that a continuum of services be required so that runaway youths and their families are assured the least restrictive alternatives suitable to their needs and so that the family unit is strengthened through the development, expansion, and coordination of various community-based services. The development of innovative approaches specifically designed for runaway youths, which approaches have an impact on cost-avoidance, cost-effectiveness, and program efficiency, shall be encouraged.
(2) DEFINITIONS.
(a) “Department” means the Department of Children and Family Services.
(b) “Runaway youth centers” means those community-based programs providing a range of services to troubled youths and runaway youths and their families, including prevention, community outreach, early intervention and crisis intervention, temporary residential shelter, counseling services, and aftercare followup.
(3) CRITERIA FOR LICENSING OF CENTERS; STANDARD SERVICES.
(a) No later than September 1, 1984, the department shall adopt rules pertaining to uniform licensing criteria for runaway youth centers.
(b) The department shall establish standard services for runaway youth centers which can be monitored and evaluated, and the establishment of these services shall be a prerequisite to receiving state funds. Such services shall include, but are not limited to:
1. Programs for outreach and prevention for troubled youths and runaway youths and their families.
2. Early intervention counseling services for troubled youths and runaway youths and their families, with 24-hour access geared toward crisis or time-of-need intervention.
3. Temporary or short-term shelter, food, and clothing.
4. Uniform and confidential intake and records systems.
5. Provision for aftercare including individual and family counseling services.
6. Programs for advocacy for client population and community support.
7. Provisions for case management and referral from service to service.
(4) RECORDS CONFIDENTIAL.All information about clients which is part of a center’s intake and client records system is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1).
History.ss. 2, 3, 5, 6, ch. 83-162; s. 8, ch. 91-71; s. 258, ch. 96-406; s. 199, ch. 97-101; s. 125, ch. 2010-102.
409.508 Low-income home energy assistance program.
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Eligible household” means a household eligible for funds from the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, 42 U.S.C. ss. 8621 et seq.
(b) “Home energy” means a source of heating or cooling in residential dwellings.
(c) “Utility” means any person, corporation, partnership, municipality, cooperative, association, or other legal entity and its lessees, trustees, or receivers now or hereafter owning, operating, managing, or controlling any plant or other facility supplying electricity or natural gas to or for the public within this state, directly or indirectly, for compensation.
(2) The Department of Community Affairs is designated as the state agency to administer the Low-income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, 42 U.S.C. ss. 8621 et seq. The Department of Community Affairs is authorized to provide home energy assistance benefits to eligible households which may be in the form of cash, vouchers, certificates, or direct payments to electric or natural gas utilities or other energy suppliers and operators of low-rent, subsidized housing in behalf of eligible households. Priority shall be given to eligible households having at least one elderly or handicapped individual and to eligible households with the lowest incomes.
(3) Agreements may be established between electric or natural gas utility companies, other energy suppliers, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Community Affairs for the purpose of providing payments to energy suppliers in the form of a credit against sales and use taxes due or direct payments to energy suppliers for services rendered to low-income, eligible households.
(4) The Department of Community Affairs shall adopt rules to carry out the provisions of this act.
History.ss. 3, 4, 6, ch. 80-167; s. 7, ch. 82-100; s. 70, ch. 83-218; s. 20, ch. 93-181.
409.509 Definitions; weatherization of low-income residences.As used in this act, the term:
(1) “Community action agency” means a private corporation or public agency established pursuant to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Pub. L. No. 88-452, which is authorized to administer funds from federal, state, local, or private funding entities to assess, design, operate, finance, and oversee antipoverty programs.
(2) “Department” means the Department of Community Affairs.
(3) “Energy assessment” means an analysis of a dwelling unit to determine the need for cost-effective energy conservation measures as determined by the department.
(4) “Household” means an individual or group of individuals living in a dwelling unit as defined by the department.
(5) “Low income” means household income that is at or below 125 percent of the federally established poverty level.
(6) “Residence” means a dwelling unit as defined by the department.
(7) “Weatherization” means materials or measures and their installation as defined in the federal Energy Conservation and Production Act, Pub. L. No. 94-385, which are used to improve the thermal efficiency of a residence.
(8) “Weatherizing agency” means any approved department grantee that bears the responsibility for ensuring the performance of weatherization of residences under this act and has been approved by the department, that was performing weatherization services as of July 1, 1988, unless such agency has withdrawn or lost its designation as a result of failure to perform under acceptable contract conditions as determined by the department.
History.s. 2, ch. 91-287.
409.5091 Department responsible for weatherizing agencies; energy assessment.
(1) The department is responsible for ensuring that weatherizing agencies comply with state laws and department rules.
(2) Before a residence is weatherized, the department shall require that an energy assessment be conducted.
History.s. 3, ch. 91-287.
409.5092 Permission for weatherization; rules.Before a leased or rented residence is weatherized, written permission for the weatherization shall be obtained from the owner of the residence. The department shall adopt rules to ensure that:
(1) The benefits of weatherization assistance in connection with a leased or rented residence accrue primarily to low-income tenants.
(2) As a result of weatherization, the rent on the residence is not increased and the tenant is not evicted for a time period set by the department.
History.s. 4, ch. 91-287.
409.5093 Replacement agency.If any area of the state has no designated weatherization agency as a result of withdrawal or loss of designation by departmental action, a replacement agency or agencies may be selected following a process delineated by federal and state law, regulations, and rules.
History.s. 5, ch. 91-287.
409.801 Goal of Legislature; creation of Family Policy Act.The primary goal of the Legislature is to protect, preserve, and enhance the stability and quality of Florida’s families through the funding of programs and services and the enforcement of laws and policies to prevent family dysfunction and the loss of family independence. In furtherance of this goal, there is created the “Family Policy Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 88-337.
409.802 Provisions of Family Policy Act.In order to accomplish the goal of the Family Policy Act, the Legislature shall seek to provide to all families of this state the following:
(1) Access to safe, affordable housing.
(2) A safe and nurturing environment which will preserve a sense of personal and family dignity.
(3) Adequate nutrition, shelter, and clothing.
(4) Effective treatment to address physical, social, and emotional needs, regardless of geographical location.
(5) Protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
(6) Equal opportunity and access to quality and effective education which will meet the individual needs of each family member and which will mobilize family strengths into effective educational action through a comprehensive partnership of the family, school, and community that reinforces and enhances family skills and parental responsibility, reinforces a caring environment, and, where feasible, utilizes the school facility as a center for community activity.
(7) Equal opportunity and access to recreation and other community resources to develop individual abilities and to enhance family unity.
(8) Opportunity for full-time employment for those family members able to work, at a wage sufficient to maintain family independence.
(9) Opportunity for economic independence both for adult family members who are disabled and unable to work and for elderly family members.
History.s. 2, ch. 88-337; s. 124, ch. 94-209.
409.803 Shelter and foster care services to dependent children; pilot programs.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to:
(a) Facilitate the reunification of families or the permanent placement of a child pursuant to 1part II of chapter 39 and chapter 984.
(b) Provide an environment that enhances the physical, social, and emotional development of children in shelter and foster care.
(c) Provide the necessary services and treatment resources to meet the needs of children in shelter and foster care.
(d) Provide incentives and procedures that facilitate the recruitment and retention of quality shelter and foster homes.
(e) Allow assistance to shelter and foster care homes so that they may adequately provide for the proper care and well-being of children without placing an unnecessary economic burden on these homes.
(2) The Department of Children and Family Services shall establish a 2-year pilot program in one rural and one urban county to provide the funding incentives and resources to fully provide assistance and services to shelter and foster homes and children in their care. The pilot program shall:
(a) Make available for each child in shelter and foster care discretionary financial resources of at least $500 annually to meet his or her special needs, including, but not limited to, the following:
1. Medical services.
2. Dental care.
3. Mental health services.
4. Accelerated family reunification services or other permanency planning.
5. Specialized educational or vocational skills services.
6. Social and recreational services.
7. Respite care services.
8. Advocacy services.
(b) Arrange for and provide specialized training for foster and shelter parents to help care for the children already in their home and to prepare them for the individual needs of children pending placement. The goal of this training is to provide quality care for the children in placement and may include, but is not limited to, the following subject areas:
1. Supervision of specified illnesses, medical conditions, and injuries that can be provided by trained caregivers.
2. Behavior management and discipline.
3. Child care decisions.
4. Legal protections for abuse victims.
5. Foster parent participation in reunification or other permanency planning efforts.
6. Understanding and caring for the sexually abused child.
7. Handling the adolescent in temporary care.
(c) Provide to all shelter and foster care homes in the pilot program:
1. Liability insurance coverage for damages and injuries caused by children in their care pursuant to the provisions of the State Institutions Claims Program, s. 402.181.
2. Regularly scheduled respite care or temporary relief care by joint-selected and trained homemakers.
3. Assistance by direct service aides for transporting children to medical and other appointments scheduled for the children in their care.
(d) Make available to the shelter and foster care units in the pilot program the following additional staff resources:
1. Foster care staffing at 100 percent of need as determined by the department’s Workload Standards Study.
2. Intensive training on child growth and development, abuse treatment needs, and permanency planning.
3. Other support assistance to pilot program staff as needed to accelerate reunification or other permanency planning decisions.
(3) The department shall develop a request for proposal to include procedures and criteria for the competitive acceptance of proposals from participating districts. Each district seeking a pilot program pursuant to this section shall submit to the department a proposal, as specified in the request for proposal, which shall include, but not be limited to, documentation of cooperative agreements or support from local public or private agencies and organizations for the pilot program. Upon approval of the proposals, the department shall provide each pilot program district the sufficient funds within appropriations made available to establish the pilot program.
(4) The department is authorized to establish other policy provisions which are necessary to achieve the objectives specific to the pilot program.
(5) The department’s inspector general shall conduct or contract for a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot program. The evaluation report shall address the impact on the child, the population served, the effect on family reunification and other permanency planning, the effect on recruitment and retention of shelter homes and foster family homes, cost, the impact of the provision of services to at-risk families and children on the number of children entering shelter care or foster care, the achievement of objectives, and recommendations for the expansion or modification of the pilot programs to other districts.
History.s. 3, ch. 88-337; s. 69, ch. 96-418; s. 200, ch. 97-101; s. 40, ch. 98-280.
1Note.Provisions comprising part II of chapter 39, relating to dependency cases, have, in many cases, been repealed or transferred to other locations by ch. 98-403.
409.810 Short title.Sections 409.810-409.821 may be cited as the “Florida Kidcare Act.”
History.ss. 32, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 1, ch. 2009-113.
409.811 Definitions relating to Florida Kidcare Act.As used in ss. 409.810-409.821, the term:
(1) “Actuarially equivalent” means that:
(a) The aggregate value of the benefits included in health benefits coverage is equal to the value of the benefits in the benchmark benefit plan; and
(b) The benefits included in health benefits coverage are substantially similar to the benefits included in the benchmark benefit plan, except that preventive health services must be the same as in the benchmark benefit plan.
(2) “Agency” means the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(3) “Applicant” means a parent or guardian of a child or a child whose disability of nonage has been removed under chapter 743, who applies for determination of eligibility for health benefits coverage under ss. 409.810-409.821.
(4) “Benchmark benefit plan” means the form and level of health benefits coverage established in s. 409.815.
(5) “Child” means any person under 19 years of age.
(6) “Child with special health care needs” means a child whose serious or chronic physical or developmental condition requires extensive preventive and maintenance care beyond that required by typically healthy children. Health care utilization by such a child exceeds the statistically expected usage of the normal child adjusted for chronological age, and such a child often needs complex care requiring multiple providers, rehabilitation services, and specialized equipment in a number of different settings.
(7) “Children’s Medical Services Network” or “network” means a statewide managed care service system as defined in s. 391.021(1).
(8) “Community rate” means a method used to develop premiums for a health insurance plan that spreads financial risk across a large population and allows adjustments only for age, gender, family composition, and geographic area.
(9) “Department” means the Department of Health.
(10) “Enrollee” means a child who has been determined eligible for and is receiving coverage under ss. 409.810-409.821.
(11) “Family” means the group or the individuals whose income is considered in determining eligibility for the Florida Kidcare program. The family includes a child with a parent or caretaker relative who resides in the same house or living unit or, in the case of a child whose disability of nonage has been removed under chapter 743, the child. The family may also include other individuals whose income and resources are considered in whole or in part in determining eligibility of the child.
(12) “Family income” means cash received at periodic intervals from any source, such as wages, benefits, contributions, or rental property. Income also may include any money that would have been counted as income under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) state plan in effect prior to August 22, 1996.
(13) “Florida Kidcare program,” “Kidcare program,” or “program” means the health benefits program administered through ss. 409.810-409.821.
(14) “Guarantee issue” means that health benefits coverage must be offered to an individual regardless of the individual’s health status, preexisting condition, or claims history.
(15) “Health benefits coverage” means protection that provides payment of benefits for covered health care services or that otherwise provides, either directly or through arrangements with other persons, covered health care services on a prepaid per capita basis or on a prepaid aggregate fixed-sum basis.
(16) “Health insurance plan” means health benefits coverage under the following:
(a) A health plan offered by any certified health maintenance organization or authorized health insurer, except a plan that is limited to the following: a limited benefit, specified disease, or specified accident; hospital indemnity; accident only; limited benefit convalescent care; Medicare supplement; credit disability; dental; vision; long-term care; disability income; coverage issued as a supplement to another health plan; workers’ compensation liability or other insurance; or motor vehicle medical payment only; or
(b) An employee welfare benefit plan that includes health benefits established under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended.
(17) “Medicaid” means the medical assistance program authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, and regulations thereunder, and ss. 409.901-409.920, as administered in this state by the agency.
(18) “Medically necessary” means the use of any medical treatment, service, equipment, or supply necessary to palliate the effects of a terminal condition, or to prevent, diagnose, correct, cure, alleviate, or preclude deterioration of a condition that threatens life, causes pain or suffering, or results in illness or infirmity and which is:
(a) Consistent with the symptom, diagnosis, and treatment of the enrollee’s condition;
(b) Provided in accordance with generally accepted standards of medical practice;
(c) Not primarily intended for the convenience of the enrollee, the enrollee’s family, or the health care provider;
(d) The most appropriate level of supply or service for the diagnosis and treatment of the enrollee’s condition; and
(e) Approved by the appropriate medical body or health care specialty involved as effective, appropriate, and essential for the care and treatment of the enrollee’s condition.
(19) “Medikids” means a component of the Florida Kidcare program of medical assistance authorized by Title XXI of the Social Security Act, and regulations thereunder, and s. 409.8132, as administered in the state by the agency.
(20) “Preexisting condition exclusion” means, with respect to coverage, a limitation or exclusion of benefits relating to a condition based on the fact that the condition was present before the date of enrollment for such coverage, whether or not any medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment was recommended or received before such date.
(21) “Premium” means the entire cost of a health insurance plan, including the administration fee or the risk assumption charge.
(22) “Premium assistance payment” means the monthly consideration paid by the agency per enrollee in the Florida Kidcare program towards health insurance premiums.
(23) “Qualified alien” means an alien as defined in s. 431 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as amended, Pub. L. No. 104-193.
(24) “Resident” means a United States citizen, or qualified alien, who is domiciled in this state.
(25) “Rural county” means a county having a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile, or a county defined by the most recent United States Census as rural, in which there is no prepaid health plan participating in the Medicaid program as of July 1, 1998.
(26) “Substantially similar” means that, with respect to additional services as defined in s. 2103(c)(2) of Title XXI of the Social Security Act, these services must have an actuarial value equal to at least 75 percent of the actuarial value of the coverage for that service in the benchmark benefit plan and, with respect to the basic services as defined in s. 2103(c)(1) of Title XXI of the Social Security Act, these services must be the same as the services in the benchmark benefit plan.
History.ss. 33, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 1, ch. 2004-1; s. 5, ch. 2006-28; s. 27, ch. 2008-61; s. 2, ch. 2009-113.
409.812 Program created; purpose.The Florida Kidcare program is created to provide a defined set of health benefits to uninsured, low-income children through the establishment of a variety of affordable health benefits coverage options from which families may select coverage and through which families may contribute financially to the health care of their children.
History.ss. 34, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 3, ch. 2009-113.
409.813 Health benefits coverage; program components; entitlement and nonentitlement.
(1) The Florida Kidcare program includes health benefits coverage provided to children through the following program components, which shall be marketed as the Florida Kidcare program:
(a) Medicaid;
(b) Medikids as created in s. 409.8132;
(c) The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation as created in s. 624.91;
(d) Employer-sponsored group health insurance plans approved under ss. 409.810-409.821; and
(e) The Children’s Medical Services network established in chapter 391.
(2) Except for Title XIX-funded Florida Kidcare program coverage under the Medicaid program, coverage under the Florida Kidcare program is not an entitlement. No cause of action shall arise against the state, the department, the Department of Children and Family Services, or the agency for failure to make health services available to any person under ss. 409.810-409.821.
History.ss. 35, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 4, ch. 2009-113.
409.8132 Medikids program component.
(1) PROGRAM COMPONENT CREATED; PURPOSE.The Medikids program component is created in the Agency for Health Care Administration to provide health care services under the Florida Kidcare program to eligible children using the administrative structure and provider network of the Medicaid program.
(2) ADMINISTRATION.The secretary of the agency shall appoint an administrator of the Medikids program component. The Agency for Health Care Administration is designated as the state agency authorized to make payments for medical assistance and related services for the Medikids program component of the Florida Kidcare program. Payments shall be made, subject to any limitations or directions in the General Appropriations Act, only for covered services provided to eligible children by qualified health care providers under the Florida Kidcare program.
(3) INSURANCE LICENSURE NOT REQUIRED.The Medikids program component shall not be subject to the licensing requirements of the Florida Insurance Code or rules adopted thereunder.
(4) APPLICABILITY OF LAWS RELATING TO MEDICAID.The provisions of ss. 409.902, 409.905, 409.906, 409.907, 409.908, 409.912, 409.9121, 409.9122, 409.9123, 409.9124, 409.9127, 409.9128, 409.913, 409.916, 409.919, 409.920, and 409.9205 apply to the administration of the Medikids program component of the Florida Kidcare program, except that s. 409.9122 applies to Medikids as modified by the provisions of subsection (7).
(5) BENEFITS.Benefits provided under the Medikids program component shall be the same benefits provided to children as specified in ss. 409.905 and 409.906.
(6) ELIGIBILITY.
(a) A child who has attained the age of 1 year but who is under the age of 5 years is eligible to enroll in the Medikids program component of the Florida Kidcare program, if the child is a member of a family that has a family income which exceeds the Medicaid applicable income level as specified in s. 409.903, but which is equal to or below 200 percent of the current federal poverty level. In determining the eligibility of such a child, an assets test is not required. A child who is eligible for Medikids may elect to enroll in Florida Healthy Kids coverage or employer-sponsored group coverage. However, a child who is eligible for Medikids may participate in the Florida Healthy Kids program only if the child has a sibling participating in the Florida Healthy Kids program and the child’s county of residence permits such enrollment.
(b) The provisions of s. 409.814(3), (4), (5), and (6) shall be applicable to the Medikids program.
(7) ENROLLMENT.Enrollment in the Medikids program component may occur at any time throughout the year. A child may not receive services under the Medikids program until the child is enrolled in a managed care plan or MediPass. Once determined eligible, an applicant may receive choice counseling and select a managed care plan or MediPass. The agency may initiate mandatory assignment for a Medikids applicant who has not chosen a managed care plan or MediPass provider after the applicant’s voluntary choice period ends. An applicant may select MediPass under the Medikids program component only in counties that have fewer than two managed care plans available to serve Medicaid recipients and only if the federal Health Care Financing Administration determines that MediPass constitutes “health insurance coverage” as defined in Title XXI of the Social Security Act.
(8) PENALTIES FOR VOLUNTARY CANCELLATION.The agency shall establish enrollment criteria that include penalties or waiting periods of 30 days for reinstatement of coverage upon voluntary cancellation for nonpayment of premiums.
History.ss. 36, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 2, ch. 2000-253; s. 18, ch. 2000-305; s. 13, ch. 2002-400; s. 446, ch. 2003-261; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 2, ch. 2004-1; s. 1, ch. 2005-123; s. 5, ch. 2009-113.
409.8134 Program expenditure ceiling; enrollment.
(1) Except for the Medicaid program, a ceiling shall be placed on annual federal and state expenditures for the Florida Kidcare program as provided each year in the General Appropriations Act.
(2) The Florida Kidcare program may conduct enrollment continuously throughout the year. Children eligible for coverage under the Title XXI-funded Florida Kidcare program shall be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis using the date the enrollment application is received. Enrollment shall immediately cease when the expenditure ceiling is reached. Year-round enrollment shall only be held if the Social Services Estimating Conference determines that sufficient federal and state funds will be available to finance the increased enrollment. The application for the Florida Kidcare program is valid for a period of 120 days after the date it was received. At the end of the 120-day period, if the applicant has not been enrolled in the program, the application is invalid and the applicant shall be notified of the action. The applicant may reactivate the application after notification of the action taken by the program. Except for the Medicaid program, whenever the Social Services Estimating Conference determines that there are presently, or will be by the end of the current fiscal year, insufficient funds to finance the current or projected enrollment in the Florida Kidcare program, all additional enrollment must cease and additional enrollment may not resume until sufficient funds are available to finance such enrollment.
(3) Upon determination by the Social Services Estimating Conference that there are insufficient funds to finance the current enrollment in the Florida Kidcare program within current appropriations, the program shall initiate disenrollment procedures to remove enrollees, except those children enrolled in the Children’s Medical Services Network, on a last-in, first-out basis until the expenditure and appropriation levels are balanced.
(4) The agencies that administer the Florida Kidcare program components shall collect and analyze the data needed to project program enrollment costs, including price level adjustments, participation and attrition rates, current and projected caseloads, utilization, and current and projected expenditures for the next 3 years. The agencies shall report caseload and expenditure trends to the Social Services Estimating Conference in accordance with chapter 216.
History.ss. 37, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 3, ch. 2000-253; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 3, ch. 2004-1; s. 3, ch. 2004-270; s. 2, ch. 2005-123; s. 6, ch. 2006-28; s. 6, ch. 2009-113.
409.8135 Behavioral health services.In order to ensure a high level of integration of physical and behavioral health care and to meet the more intensive treatment needs of enrollees with the most serious emotional disturbances or substance abuse problems, the Department of Health shall contract with the Department of Children and Family Services to provide behavioral health services to non-Medicaid-eligible children with special health care needs. The Department of Children and Family Services, in consultation with the Department of Health and the agency, is authorized to establish the following:
(1) The scope of behavioral health services, including duration and frequency.
(2) Clinical guidelines for referral to behavioral health services.
(3) Behavioral health services standards.
(4) Performance-based measures and outcomes for behavioral health services.
(5) Practice guidelines for behavioral health services to ensure cost-effective treatment and to prevent unnecessary expenditures.
(6) Rules to implement this section.
History.ss. 38, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405.
409.814 Eligibility.A child who has not reached 19 years of age whose family income is equal to or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible for the Florida Kidcare program as provided in this section. For enrollment in the Children’s Medical Services Network, a complete application includes the medical or behavioral health screening. If, subsequently, an individual is determined to be ineligible for coverage, he or she must immediately be disenrolled from the respective Florida Kidcare program component.
(1) A child who is eligible for Medicaid coverage under s. 409.903 or s. 409.904 must be enrolled in Medicaid and is not eligible to receive health benefits under any other health benefits coverage authorized under the Florida Kidcare program.
(2) A child who is not eligible for Medicaid, but who is eligible for the Florida Kidcare program, may obtain health benefits coverage under any of the other components listed in s. 409.813 if such coverage is approved and available in the county in which the child resides.
(3) A Title XXI-funded child who is eligible for the Florida Kidcare program who is a child with special health care needs, as determined through a medical or behavioral screening instrument, is eligible for health benefits coverage from and shall be assigned to and may opt out of the Children’s Medical Services Network.
(4) The following children are not eligible to receive Title XXI-funded premium assistance for health benefits coverage under the Florida Kidcare program, except under Medicaid if the child would have been eligible for Medicaid under s. 409.903 or s. 409.904 as of June 1, 1997:
(a) A child who is eligible for coverage under a state health benefit plan on the basis of a family member’s employment with a public agency in the state.
(b) A child who is covered under a family member’s group health benefit plan or under other private or employer health insurance coverage, if the cost of the child’s participation is not greater than 5 percent of the family’s income. If a child is otherwise eligible for a subsidy under the Florida Kidcare program and the cost of the child’s participation in the family member’s health insurance benefit plan is greater than 5 percent of the family’s income, the child may enroll in the appropriate subsidized Kidcare program.
(c) A child who is seeking premium assistance for the Florida Kidcare program through employer-sponsored group coverage, if the child has been covered by the same employer’s group coverage during the 60 days prior to the family’s submitting an application for determination of eligibility under the program.
(d) A child who is an alien, but who does not meet the definition of qualified alien, in the United States.
(e) A child who is an inmate of a public institution or a patient in an institution for mental diseases.
(f) A child who is otherwise eligible for premium assistance for the Florida Kidcare program and has had his or her coverage in an employer-sponsored or private health benefit plan voluntarily canceled in the last 60 days, except those children whose coverage was voluntarily canceled for good cause, including, but not limited to, the following circumstances:
1. The cost of participation in an employer-sponsored health benefit plan is greater than 5 percent of the family’s income;
2. The parent lost a job that provided an employer-sponsored health benefit plan for children;
3. The parent who had health benefits coverage for the child is deceased;
4. The child has a medical condition that, without medical care, would cause serious disability, loss of function, or death;
5. The employer of the parent canceled health benefits coverage for children;
6. The child’s health benefits coverage ended because the child reached the maximum lifetime coverage amount;
7. The child has exhausted coverage under a COBRA continuation provision;
8. The health benefits coverage does not cover the child’s health care needs; or
9. Domestic violence led to loss of coverage.
(5) A child who is otherwise eligible for the Florida Kidcare program and who has a preexisting condition that prevents coverage under another insurance plan as described in paragraph (4)(b) which would have disqualified the child for the Florida Kidcare program if the child were able to enroll in the plan shall be eligible for Florida Kidcare coverage when enrollment is possible.
(6) A child whose family income is above 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a child who is excluded under the provisions of subsection (4) may participate in the Florida Kidcare program as provided in s. 409.8132 or, if the child is ineligible for Medikids by reason of age, in the Florida Healthy Kids program, subject to the following provisions:
(a) The family is not eligible for premium assistance payments and must pay the full cost of the premium, including any administrative costs.
(b) The board of directors of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation may offer a reduced benefit package to these children in order to limit program costs for such families.
(7) Once a child is enrolled in the Florida Kidcare program, the child is eligible for coverage under the program for 12 months without a redetermination or reverification of eligibility, if the family continues to pay the applicable premium. Eligibility for program components funded through Title XXI of the Social Security Act shall terminate when a child attains the age of 19. A child who has not attained the age of 5 and who has been determined eligible for the Medicaid program is eligible for coverage for 12 months without a redetermination or reverification of eligibility.
(8) When determining or reviewing a child’s eligibility under the Florida Kidcare program, the applicant shall be provided with reasonable notice of changes in eligibility which may affect enrollment in one or more of the program components. When a transition from one program component to another is authorized, there shall be cooperation between the program components and the affected family which promotes continuity of health care coverage. Any authorized transfers must be managed within the program’s overall appropriated or authorized levels of funding. Each component of the program shall establish a reserve to ensure that transfers between components will be accomplished within current year appropriations. These reserves shall be reviewed by each convening of the Social Services Estimating Conference to determine the adequacy of such reserves to meet actual experience.
(9) In determining the eligibility of a child, an assets test is not required. Each applicant shall provide documentation during the application process and the redetermination process, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Each applicant’s proof of family income shall be verified electronically to determine financial eligibility for the Florida Kidcare program. Written documentation, which may include wages and earnings statements or pay stubs, W-2 forms, or a copy of the applicant’s most recent federal income tax return, shall be required only if the electronic verification is not available or does not substantiate the applicant’s income.
(b) Each applicant shall provide a statement from all applicable, employed family members that:
1. Their employers do not sponsor health benefit plans for employees;
2. The potential enrollee is not covered by an employer-sponsored health benefit plan; or
3. The potential enrollee is covered by an employer-sponsored health benefit plan and the cost of the employer-sponsored health benefit plan is more than 5 percent of the family’s income.
(10) Subject to paragraph (4)(b), the Florida Kidcare program shall withhold benefits from an enrollee if the program obtains evidence that the enrollee is no longer eligible, submitted incorrect or fraudulent information in order to establish eligibility, or failed to provide verification of eligibility. The applicant or enrollee shall be notified that because of such evidence program benefits will be withheld unless the applicant or enrollee contacts a designated representative of the program by a specified date, which must be within 10 working days after the date of notice, to discuss and resolve the matter. The program shall make every effort to resolve the matter within a timeframe that will not cause benefits to be withheld from an eligible enrollee.
(11) The following individuals may be subject to prosecution in accordance with s. 414.39:
(a) An applicant obtaining or attempting to obtain benefits for a potential enrollee under the Florida Kidcare program when the applicant knows or should have known the potential enrollee does not qualify for the Florida Kidcare program.
(b) An individual who assists an applicant in obtaining or attempting to obtain benefits for a potential enrollee under the Florida Kidcare program when the individual knows or should have known the potential enrollee does not qualify for the Florida Kidcare program.
History.ss. 39, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 4, ch. 2000-253; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 4, ch. 2004-1; ss. 4, 5, ch. 2004-270; s. 1, ch. 2004-478; s. 50, ch. 2006-1; s. 7, ch. 2006-28; s. 1, ch. 2006-248; s. 5, ch. 2008-32; s. 7, ch. 2009-113.
409.815 Health benefits coverage; limitations.
(1) MEDICAID BENEFITS.For purposes of the Florida Kidcare program, benefits available under Medicaid and Medikids include those goods and services provided under the medical assistance program authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, and regulations thereunder, as administered in this state by the agency. This includes those mandatory Medicaid services authorized under s. 409.905 and optional Medicaid services authorized under s. 409.906, rendered on behalf of eligible individuals by qualified providers, in accordance with federal requirements for Title XIX, subject to any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act or chapter 216, and according to methodologies and limitations set forth in agency rules and policy manuals and handbooks incorporated by reference thereto.
(2) BENCHMARK BENEFITS.In order for health benefits coverage to qualify for premium assistance payments for an eligible child under ss. 409.810-409.821, the health benefits coverage, except for coverage under Medicaid and Medikids, must include the following minimum benefits, as medically necessary.
(a) Preventive health services.Covered services include:
1. Well-child care, including services recommended in the Guidelines for Health Supervision of Children and Youth as developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics;
2. Immunizations and injections;
3. Health education counseling and clinical services;
4. Vision screening; and
5. Hearing screening.
(b) Inpatient hospital services.All covered services provided for the medical care and treatment of an enrollee who is admitted as an inpatient to a hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395, with the following exceptions:
1. All admissions must be authorized by the enrollee’s health benefits coverage provider.
2. The length of the patient stay shall be determined based on the medical condition of the enrollee in relation to the necessary and appropriate level of care.
3. Room and board may be limited to semiprivate accommodations, unless a private room is considered medically necessary or semiprivate accommodations are not available.
4. Admissions for rehabilitation and physical therapy are limited to 15 days per contract year.
(c) Emergency services.Covered services include visits to an emergency room or other licensed facility if needed immediately due to an injury or illness and delay means risk of permanent damage to the enrollee’s health. Health maintenance organizations shall comply with the provisions of s. 641.513.
(d) Maternity services.Covered services include maternity and newborn care, including prenatal and postnatal care, with the following limitations:
1. Coverage may be limited to the fee for vaginal deliveries; and
2. Initial inpatient care for newborn infants of enrolled adolescents shall be covered, including normal newborn care, nursery charges, and the initial pediatric or neonatal examination, and the infant may be covered for up to 3 days following birth.
(e) Organ transplantation services.Covered services include pretransplant, transplant, and postdischarge services and treatment of complications after transplantation for transplants deemed necessary and appropriate within the guidelines set by the Organ Transplant Advisory Council under s. 765.53 or the Bone Marrow Transplant Advisory Panel under s. 627.4236.
(f) Outpatient services.Covered services include preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, palliative care, and other services provided to an enrollee in the outpatient portion of a health facility licensed under chapter 395, except for the following limitations:
1. Services must be authorized by the enrollee’s health benefits coverage provider; and
2. Treatment for temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ) is specifically excluded.
(g) Behavioral health services.
1. Mental health benefits include:
a. Inpatient services, limited to 30 inpatient days per contract year for psychiatric admissions, or residential services in facilities licensed under s. 394.875(6) or s. 395.003 in lieu of inpatient psychiatric admissions; however, a minimum of 10 of the 30 days shall be available only for inpatient psychiatric services if authorized by a physician; and
b. Outpatient services, including outpatient visits for psychological or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment by a licensed mental health professional, limited to 40 outpatient visits each contract year.
2. Substance abuse services include:
a. Inpatient services, limited to 7 inpatient days per contract year for medical detoxification only and 30 days of residential services; and
b. Outpatient services, including evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment by a licensed practitioner, limited to 40 outpatient visits per contract year.

Effective October 1, 2009, covered services include inpatient and outpatient services for mental and nervous disorders as defined in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. Such benefits include psychological or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment by a licensed mental health professional and inpatient, outpatient, and residential treatment of substance abuse disorders. Any benefit limitations, including duration of services, number of visits, or number of days for hospitalization or residential services, shall not be any less favorable than those for physical illnesses generally. The program may also implement appropriate financial incentives, peer review, utilization requirements, and other methods used for the management of benefits provided for other medical conditions in order to reduce service costs and utilization without compromising quality of care.

(h) Durable medical equipment.Covered services include equipment and devices that are medically indicated to assist in the treatment of a medical condition and specifically prescribed as medically necessary, with the following limitations:
1. Low-vision and telescopic aides are not included.
2. Corrective lenses and frames may be limited to one pair every 2 years, unless the prescription or head size of the enrollee changes.
3. Hearing aids shall be covered only when medically indicated to assist in the treatment of a medical condition.
4. Covered prosthetic devices include artificial eyes and limbs, braces, and other artificial aids.
(i) Health practitioner services.Covered services include services and procedures rendered to an enrollee when performed to diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, or other conditions, including care rendered by health practitioners acting within the scope of their practice, with the following exceptions:
1. Chiropractic services shall be provided in the same manner as in the Florida Medicaid program.
2. Podiatric services may be limited to one visit per day totaling two visits per month for specific foot disorders.
(j) Home health services.Covered services include prescribed home visits by both registered and licensed practical nurses to provide skilled nursing services on a part-time intermittent basis, subject to the following limitations:
1. Coverage may be limited to include skilled nursing services only;
2. Meals, housekeeping, and personal comfort items may be excluded; and
3. Private duty nursing is limited to circumstances where such care is medically necessary.
(k) Hospice services.Covered services include reasonable and necessary services for palliation or management of an enrollee’s terminal illness, with the following exceptions:
1. Once a family elects to receive hospice care for an enrollee, other services that treat the terminal condition will not be covered; and
2. Services required for conditions totally unrelated to the terminal condition are covered to the extent that the services are included in this section.
(l) Laboratory and X-ray services.Covered services include diagnostic testing, including clinical radiologic, laboratory, and other diagnostic tests.
(m) Nursing facility services.Covered services include regular nursing services, rehabilitation services, drugs and biologicals, medical supplies, and the use of appliances and equipment furnished by the facility, with the following limitations:
1. All admissions must be authorized by the health benefits coverage provider.
2. The length of the patient stay shall be determined based on the medical condition of the enrollee in relation to the necessary and appropriate level of care, but is limited to not more than 100 days per contract year.
3. Room and board may be limited to semiprivate accommodations, unless a private room is considered medically necessary or semiprivate accommodations are not available.
4. Specialized treatment centers and independent kidney disease treatment centers are excluded.
5. Private duty nurses, television, and custodial care are excluded.
6. Admissions for rehabilitation and physical therapy are limited to 15 days per contract year.
(n) Prescribed drugs.
1. Coverage shall include drugs prescribed for the treatment of illness or injury when prescribed by a licensed health practitioner acting within the scope of his or her practice.
2. Prescribed drugs may be limited to generics if available and brand name products if a generic substitution is not available, unless the prescribing licensed health practitioner indicates that a brand name is medically necessary.
3. Prescribed drugs covered under this section shall include all prescribed drugs covered under the Florida Medicaid program.
(o) Therapy services.Covered services include rehabilitative services, including occupational, physical, respiratory, and speech therapies, with the following limitations:
1. Services must be for short-term rehabilitation where significant improvement in the enrollee’s condition will result; and
2. Services shall be limited to not more than 24 treatment sessions within a 60-day period per episode or injury, with the 60-day period beginning with the first treatment.
(p) Transportation services.Covered services include emergency transportation required in response to an emergency situation.
(q) Dental services.Effective October 1, 2009, dental services shall be covered as required under federal law and may also include those dental benefits provided to children by the Florida Medicaid program under s. 409.906(6).
(r) Lifetime maximum.Health benefits coverage obtained under ss. 409.810-409.820 shall pay an enrollee’s covered expenses at a lifetime maximum of $1 million per covered child.
(s) Cost-sharing.Cost-sharing provisions must comply with s. 409.816.
(t) Exclusions.
1. Experimental or investigational procedures that have not been clinically proven by reliable evidence are excluded;
2. Services performed for cosmetic purposes only or for the convenience of the enrollee are excluded; and
3. Abortion may be covered only if necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.
(u) Enhancements to minimum requirements.
1. This section sets the minimum benefits that must be included in any health benefits coverage, other than Medicaid or Medikids coverage, offered under ss. 409.810-409.821. Health benefits coverage may include additional benefits not included under this subsection, but may not include benefits excluded under paragraph (s).
2. Health benefits coverage may extend any limitations beyond the minimum benefits described in this section.

Except for the Children’s Medical Services Network, the agency may not increase the premium assistance payment for either additional benefits provided beyond the minimum benefits described in this section or the imposition of less restrictive service limitations.

(v) Applicability of other state laws.Health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and their agents are subject to the provisions of the Florida Insurance Code, except for any such provisions waived in this section.
1. Except as expressly provided in this section, a law requiring coverage for a specific health care service or benefit, or a law requiring reimbursement, utilization, or consideration of a specific category of licensed health care practitioner, does not apply to a health insurance plan policy or contract offered or delivered under ss. 409.810-409.821 unless that law is made expressly applicable to such policies or contracts.
2. Notwithstanding chapter 641, a health maintenance organization may issue contracts providing benefits equal to, exceeding, or actuarially equivalent to the benchmark benefit plan authorized by this section and may pay providers located in a rural county negotiated fees or Medicaid reimbursement rates for services provided to enrollees who are residents of the rural county.
(w) Reimbursement of federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.Effective October 1, 2009, payments for services provided to enrollees by federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics under this section shall be reimbursed using the Medicaid Prospective Payment System as provided for under s. 2107(e)(1)(D) of the Social Security Act. If such services are paid for by health insurers or health care providers under contract with the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, such entities are responsible for this payment. The agency may seek any available federal grants to assist with this transition.
History.ss. 40, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 5, ch. 2000-253; s. 19, ch. 2001-377; s. 45, ch. 2003-1; ss. 6, 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 5, ch. 2004-1; s. 135, ch. 2007-230; s. 2, ch. 2009-55; s. 8, ch. 2009-113.
409.816 Limitations on premiums and cost-sharing.The following limitations on premiums and cost-sharing are established for the program.
(1) Enrollees who receive coverage under the Medicaid program may not be required to pay:
(a) Enrollment fees, premiums, or similar charges; or
(b) Copayments, deductibles, coinsurance, or similar charges.
(2) Enrollees in families with a family income equal to or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, who are not receiving coverage under the Medicaid program, may not be required to pay:
(a) Enrollment fees, premiums, or similar charges that exceed the maximum monthly charge permitted under s. 1916(b)(1) of the Social Security Act; or
(b) Copayments, deductibles, coinsurance, or similar charges that exceed a nominal amount, as determined consistent with regulations referred to in s. 1916(a)(3) of the Social Security Act. However, such charges may not be imposed for preventive services, including well-baby and well-child care, age-appropriate immunizations, and routine hearing and vision screenings.
(3) Enrollees in families with a family income above 150 percent of the federal poverty level who are not receiving coverage under the Medicaid program or who are not eligible under s. 409.814(6) may be required to pay enrollment fees, premiums, copayments, deductibles, coinsurance, or similar charges on a sliding scale related to income, except that the total annual aggregate cost-sharing with respect to all children in a family may not exceed 5 percent of the family’s income. However, copayments, deductibles, coinsurance, or similar charges may not be imposed for preventive services, including well-baby and well-child care, age-appropriate immunizations, and routine hearing and vision screenings.
History.ss. 41, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 9, ch. 2009-113; s. 91, ch. 2010-5.
409.817 Approval of health benefits coverage; financial assistance.In order for health insurance coverage to qualify for premium assistance payments for an eligible child under ss. 409.810-409.821, the health benefits coverage must:
(1) Be certified by the Office of Insurance Regulation of the Financial Services Commission under s. 409.818 as meeting, exceeding, or being actuarially equivalent to the benchmark benefit plan;
(2) Be guarantee issued;
(3) Be community rated;
(4) Not impose any preexisting condition exclusion for covered benefits; however, group health insurance plans may permit the imposition of a preexisting condition exclusion, but only insofar as it is permitted under s. 627.6561;
(5) Comply with the applicable limitations on premiums and cost-sharing in s. 409.816;
(6) Comply with the quality assurance and access standards developed under s. 409.820; and
(7) Establish periodic open enrollment periods, which may not occur more frequently than quarterly.
History.ss. 42, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 447, ch. 2003-261; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 10, ch. 2009-113.
409.8175 Delivery of services in rural counties.A health maintenance organization or a health insurer may reimburse providers located in a rural county according to the Medicaid fee schedule for services provided to enrollees in rural counties if the provider agrees to accept such fee schedule.
History.ss. 43, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405.
409.8177 Program evaluation.
(1) The agency, in consultation with the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Family Services, and the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, shall contract for an evaluation of the Florida Kidcare program and shall by January 1 of each year submit to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a report of the program. In addition to the items specified under s. 2108 of Title XXI of the Social Security Act, the report shall include an assessment of crowd-out and access to health care, as well as the following:
(a) An assessment of the operation of the program, including the progress made in reducing the number of uncovered low-income children.
(b) An assessment of the effectiveness in increasing the number of children with creditable health coverage, including an assessment of the impact of outreach.
(c) The characteristics of the children and families assisted under the program, including ages of the children, family income, and access to or coverage by other health insurance prior to the program and after disenrollment from the program.
(d) The quality of health coverage provided, including the types of benefits provided.
(e) The amount and level, including payment of part or all of any premium, of assistance provided.
(f) The average length of coverage of a child under the program.
(g) The program’s choice of health benefits coverage and other methods used for providing child health assistance.
(h) The sources of nonfederal funding used in the program.
(i) An assessment of the effectiveness of the Florida Kidcare program, including Medicaid, the Florida Healthy Kids program, Medikids, and the Children’s Medical Services network, and other public and private programs in the state in increasing the availability of affordable quality health insurance and health care for children.
(j) A review and assessment of state activities to coordinate the program with other public and private programs.
(k) An analysis of changes and trends in the state that affect the provision of health insurance and health care to children.
(l) A description of any plans the state has for improving the availability of health insurance and health care for children.
(m) Recommendations for improving the program.
(n) Other studies as necessary.
(2) The agency shall submit each month to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a report of enrollment for each program component of the Florida Kidcare program.
History.ss. 44, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 6, ch. 2000-253; s. 14, ch. 2002-400; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 11, ch. 2009-113.
409.818 Administration.In order to implement ss. 409.810-409.821, the following agencies shall have the following duties:
(1) The Department of Children and Family Services shall:
(a) Develop a simplified eligibility application mail-in form to be used for determining the eligibility of children for coverage under the Florida Kidcare program, in consultation with the agency, the Department of Health, and the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. The simplified eligibility application form must include an item that provides an opportunity for the applicant to indicate whether coverage is being sought for a child with special health care needs. Families applying for children’s Medicaid coverage must also be able to use the simplified application form without having to pay a premium.
(b) Establish and maintain the eligibility determination process under the program except as specified in subsection (5). The department shall directly, or through the services of a contracted third-party administrator, establish and maintain a process for determining eligibility of children for coverage under the program. The eligibility determination process must be used solely for determining eligibility of applicants for health benefits coverage under the program. The eligibility determination process must include an initial determination of eligibility for any coverage offered under the program, as well as a redetermination or reverification of eligibility each subsequent 6 months. Effective January 1, 1999, a child who has not attained the age of 5 and who has been determined eligible for the Medicaid program is eligible for coverage for 12 months without a redetermination or reverification of eligibility. In conducting an eligibility determination, the department shall determine if the child has special health care needs. The department, in consultation with the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, shall develop procedures for redetermining eligibility which enable a family to easily update any change in circumstances which could affect eligibility. The department may accept changes in a family’s status as reported to the department by the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation without requiring a new application from the family. Redetermination of a child’s eligibility for Medicaid may not be linked to a child’s eligibility determination for other programs.
(c) Inform program applicants about eligibility determinations and provide information about eligibility of applicants to the Florida Kidcare program and to insurers and their agents, through a centralized coordinating office.
(d) Adopt rules necessary for conducting program eligibility functions.
(2) The Department of Health shall:
(a) Design an eligibility intake process for the program, in coordination with the Department of Children and Family Services, the agency, and the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. The eligibility intake process may include local intake points that are determined by the Department of Health in coordination with the Department of Children and Family Services.
(b) Chair a state-level Florida Kidcare coordinating council to review and make recommendations concerning the implementation and operation of the program. The coordinating council shall include representatives from the department, the Department of Children and Family Services, the agency, the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, the Office of Insurance Regulation of the Financial Services Commission, local government, health insurers, health maintenance organizations, health care providers, families participating in the program, and organizations representing low-income families.
(c) In consultation with the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation and the Department of Children and Family Services, establish a toll-free telephone line to assist families with questions about the program.
(d) Adopt rules necessary to implement outreach activities.
(3) The Agency for Health Care Administration, under the authority granted in s. 409.914(1), shall:
(a) Calculate the premium assistance payment necessary to comply with the premium and cost-sharing limitations specified in s. 409.816. The premium assistance payment for each enrollee in a health insurance plan participating in the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation shall equal the premium approved by the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation and the Office of Insurance Regulation of the Financial Services Commission pursuant to ss. 627.410 and 641.31, less any enrollee’s share of the premium established within the limitations specified in s. 409.816. The premium assistance payment for each enrollee in an employer-sponsored health insurance plan approved under ss. 409.810-409.821 shall equal the premium for the plan adjusted for any benchmark benefit plan actuarial equivalent benefit rider approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation pursuant to ss. 627.410 and 641.31, less any enrollee’s share of the premium established within the limitations specified in s. 409.816. In calculating the premium assistance payment levels for children with family coverage, the agency shall set the premium assistance payment levels for each child proportionately to the total cost of family coverage.
(b) Make premium assistance payments to health insurance plans on a periodic basis. The agency may use its Medicaid fiscal agent or a contracted third-party administrator in making these payments. The agency may require health insurance plans that participate in the Medikids program or employer-sponsored group health insurance to collect premium payments from an enrollee’s family. Participating health insurance plans shall report premium payments collected on behalf of enrollees in the program to the agency in accordance with a schedule established by the agency.
(c) Monitor compliance with quality assurance and access standards developed under s. 409.820 and in accordance with s. 2103(f) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 1397cc(f).
(d) Establish a mechanism for investigating and resolving complaints and grievances from program applicants, enrollees, and health benefits coverage providers, and maintain a record of complaints and confirmed problems. In the case of a child who is enrolled in a health maintenance organization, the agency must use the provisions of s. 641.511 to address grievance reporting and resolution requirements.
(e) Approve health benefits coverage for participation in the program, following certification by the Office of Insurance Regulation under subsection (4).
(f) Adopt rules necessary for calculating premium assistance payment levels, making premium assistance payments, monitoring access and quality assurance standards, investigating and resolving complaints and grievances, administering the Medikids program, and approving health benefits coverage.

The agency is designated the lead state agency for Title XXI of the Social Security Act for purposes of receipt of federal funds, for reporting purposes, and for ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations and rules.

(4) The Office of Insurance Regulation shall certify that health benefits coverage plans that seek to provide services under the Florida Kidcare program, except those offered through the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation or the Children’s Medical Services Network, meet, exceed, or are actuarially equivalent to the benchmark benefit plan and that health insurance plans will be offered at an approved rate. In determining actuarial equivalence of benefits coverage, the Office of Insurance Regulation and health insurance plans must comply with the requirements of s. 2103 of Title XXI of the Social Security Act. The department shall adopt rules necessary for certifying health benefits coverage plans.
(5) The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation shall retain its functions as authorized in s. 624.91, including eligibility determination for participation in the Healthy Kids program.
(6) The agency, the Department of Health, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, and the Office of Insurance Regulation, after consultation with and approval of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, are authorized to make program modifications that are necessary to overcome any objections of the United States Department of Health and Human Services to obtain approval of the state’s child health insurance plan under Title XXI of the Social Security Act.
History.ss. 45, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 7, ch. 2000-253; s. 448, ch. 2003-261; s. 22, ch. 2003-405; s. 11, ch. 2004-1; s. 8, ch. 2006-28; s. 3, ch. 2009-55; s. 12, ch. 2009-113.
409.820 Quality assurance and access standards.Except for Medicaid, the Department of Health, in consultation with the agency and the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, shall develop a minimum set of quality assurance and access standards for all program components. The standards must include a process for granting exceptions to specific requirements for quality assurance and access. Compliance with the standards shall be a condition of program participation by health benefits coverage providers. These standards shall comply with the provisions of this chapter and chapter 641 and Title XXI of the Social Security Act.
History.ss. 47, 57, ch. 98-288; s. 22, ch. 2003-405.
409.821 Florida Kidcare program public records exemption.
(1) Personal identifying information of a Florida Kidcare program applicant or enrollee, as defined in s. 409.811, held by the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, or the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(2)(a) Upon request, such information shall be disclosed to:
1. Another governmental entity in the performance of its official duties and responsibilities;
2. The Department of Revenue for purposes of administering the state Title IV-D program; or
3. Any person who has the written consent of the program applicant.
(b) This section does not prohibit an enrollee’s legal guardian from obtaining confirmation of coverage, dates of coverage, the name of the enrollee’s health plan, and the amount of premium being paid.
(3) This exemption applies to any information identifying a Florida Kidcare program applicant or enrollee held by the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, or the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption.
(4) A knowing and willful violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 1, ch. 98-119; s. 56, ch. 2000-153; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2003-104; s. 35, ch. 2005-39; s. 11, ch. 2005-82; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2008-146.
409.901 Definitions; ss. 409.901-409.920.As used in ss. 409.901-409.920, except as otherwise specifically provided, the term:
(1) “Affiliate” or “affiliated person” means any person who directly or indirectly manages, controls, or oversees the operation of a corporation or other business entity that is a Medicaid provider, regardless of whether such person is a partner, shareholder, owner, officer, director, agent, or employee of the entity.
(2) “Agency” means the Agency for Health Care Administration. The agency is the Medicaid agency for the state, as provided under federal law.
(3) “Applicant” means an individual whose written application for medical assistance provided by Medicaid under ss. 409.903-409.906 has been submitted to the Department of Children and Family Services, or to the Social Security Administration if the application is for Supplemental Security Income, but has not received final action. This term includes an individual, who need not be alive at the time of application, whose application is submitted through a representative or a person acting for the individual.
(4) “Benefit” means any benefit, assistance, aid, obligation, promise, debt, liability, or the like, related to any covered injury, illness, or necessary medical care, goods, or services.
(5) “Change of ownership” means:
(a) An event in which the provider ownership changes to a different individual entity as evidenced by a change in federal employer identification number or taxpayer identification number;
(b) An event in which 51 percent or more of the ownership, shares, membership, or controlling interest of a provider is in any manner transferred or otherwise assigned. This paragraph does not apply to a licensee that is publicly traded on a recognized stock exchange; or
(c) When the provider is licensed or registered by the agency, an event considered a change of ownership for licensure as defined in s. 408.803.

A change solely in the management company or board of directors is not a change of ownership.

(6) “Claim” means any communication, whether written or electronic (electronic impulse or magnetic), which is used by any person to apply for payment from the Medicaid program or its fiscal agent for each item or service purported by any person to have been provided by a person to any Medicaid recipient.
(7) “Collateral” means:
(a) Any and all causes of action, suits, claims, counterclaims, and demands that accrue to the recipient or to the recipient’s legal representative, related to any covered injury, illness, or necessary medical care, goods, or services that necessitated that Medicaid provide medical assistance.
(b) All judgments, settlements, and settlement agreements rendered or entered into and related to such causes of action, suits, claims, counterclaims, demands, or judgments.
(c) Proceeds, as defined in this section.
(8) “Convicted” or “conviction” means a finding of guilt, with or without an adjudication of guilt, in any federal or state trial court of record relating to charges brought by indictment or information, as a result of a jury verdict, nonjury trial, or entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, regardless of whether an appeal from judgment is pending.
(9) “Covered injury or illness” means any sickness, injury, disease, disability, deformity, abnormality disease, necessary medical care, pregnancy, or death for which a third party is, may be, could be, should be, or has been liable, and for which Medicaid is, or may be, obligated to provide, or has provided, medical assistance.
(10) “Emergency medical condition” means:
(a) A medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain or other acute symptoms, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:
1. Serious jeopardy to the health of a patient, including a pregnant woman or a fetus.
2. Serious impairment to bodily functions.
3. Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.
(b) With respect to a pregnant woman:
1. That there is inadequate time to effect safe transfer to another hospital prior to delivery.
2. That a transfer may pose a threat to the health and safety of the patient or fetus.
3. That there is evidence of the onset and persistence of uterine contractions or rupture of the membranes.
(11) “Emergency services and care” means medical screening, examination, and evaluation by a physician, or, to the extent permitted by applicable laws, by other appropriate personnel under the supervision of a physician, to determine whether an emergency medical condition exists and, if it does, the care, treatment, or surgery for a covered service by a physician which is necessary to relieve or eliminate the emergency medical condition, within the service capability of a hospital.
(12) “Legal representative” means a guardian, conservator, survivor, or personal representative of a recipient or applicant, or of the property or estate of a recipient or applicant.
(13) “Managed care plan” means a health maintenance organization authorized pursuant to chapter 641 or a prepaid health plan authorized pursuant to s. 409.912.
(14) “Medicaid” means the medical assistance program authorized by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. s. 1396 et seq., and regulations thereunder, as administered in this state by the agency.
(15) “Medicaid agency” or “agency” means the single state agency that administers or supervises the administration of the state Medicaid plan under federal law.
(16) “Medicaid program” means the program authorized under Title XIX of the federal Social Security Act which provides for payments for medical items or services, or both, on behalf of any person who is determined by the Department of Children and Family Services, or, for Supplemental Security Income, by the Social Security Administration, to be eligible on the date of service for Medicaid assistance.
(17) “Medicaid provider” or “provider” means a person or entity that has a Medicaid provider agreement in effect with the agency and is in good standing with the agency.
(18) “Medicaid provider agreement” or “provider agreement” means a contract between the agency and a provider for the provision of services or goods, or both, to Medicaid recipients pursuant to Medicaid.
(19) “Medicaid recipient” or “recipient” means an individual whom the Department of Children and Family Services, or, for Supplemental Security Income, by the Social Security Administration, determines is eligible, pursuant to federal and state law, to receive medical assistance and related services for which the agency may make payments under the Medicaid program. For the purposes of determining third-party liability, the term includes an individual formerly determined to be eligible for Medicaid, an individual who has received medical assistance under the Medicaid program, or an individual on whose behalf Medicaid has become obligated.
(20) “Medicaid-related records” means records that relate to the provider’s business or profession and to a Medicaid recipient. Medicaid-related records include records related to non-Medicaid customers, clients, or patients but only to the extent that the documentation is shown by the agency to be necessary to determine a provider’s entitlement to payments under the Medicaid program.
(21) “Medical assistance” means any provision of, payment for, or liability for medical services by Medicaid to, or on behalf of, any recipient.
(22) “Medical services” or “medical care” means medical or medically related institutional or noninstitutional care, goods, or services covered by the Medicaid program. The term includes any services authorized and funded in the General Appropriations Act.
(23) “MediPass” means a primary care case management program operated by the agency.
(24) “Minority physician network” means a network of primary care physicians with experience managing Medicaid or Medicare recipients that is predominantly owned by minorities as defined in s. 288.703, which may have a collaborative partnership with a public college or university and a tax-exempt charitable corporation.
(25) “Payment,” as it relates to third-party benefits, means performance of a duty, promise, or obligation, or discharge of a debt or liability, by the delivery, provision, or transfer of third-party benefits for medical services. To “pay” means to do any of the acts set forth in this subsection.
(26) “Proceeds” means whatever is received upon the sale, exchange, collection, or other disposition of the collateral or proceeds thereon and includes insurance payable by reason of loss or damage to the collateral or proceeds. Money, checks, deposit accounts, and the like are “cash proceeds.” All other proceeds are “noncash proceeds.”
(27) “Third party” means an individual, entity, or program, excluding Medicaid, that is, may be, could be, should be, or has been liable for all or part of the cost of medical services related to any medical assistance covered by Medicaid. A third party includes a third-party administrator or a pharmacy benefits manager.
(28) “Third-party benefit” means any benefit that is or may be available at any time through contract, court award, judgment, settlement, agreement, or any arrangement between a third party and any person or entity, including, without limitation, a Medicaid recipient, a provider, another third party, an insurer, or the agency, for any Medicaid-covered injury, illness, goods, or services, including costs of medical services related thereto, for personal injury or for death of the recipient, but specifically excluding policies of life insurance on the recipient, unless available under terms of the policy to pay medical expenses prior to death. The term includes, without limitation, collateral, as defined in this section, health insurance, any benefit under a health maintenance organization, a preferred provider arrangement, a prepaid health clinic, liability insurance, uninsured motorist insurance or personal injury protection coverage, medical benefits under workers’ compensation, and any obligation under law or equity to provide medical support.
History.s. 30, ch. 91-282; s. 1, ch. 95-393; s. 4, ch. 96-199; s. 1, ch. 96-387; s. 1, ch. 96-417; s. 183, ch. 99-8; s. 11, ch. 2000-163; s. 48, ch. 2000-256; s. 7, ch. 2003-405; s. 2, ch. 2004-365; s. 11, ch. 2008-246; s. 58, ch. 2009-223.
409.902 Designated single state agency; payment requirements; program title; release of medical records.The Agency for Health Care Administration is designated as the single state agency authorized to make payments for medical assistance and related services under Title XIX of the Social Security Act. These payments shall be made, subject to any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act, only for services included in the program, shall be made only on behalf of eligible individuals, and shall be made only to qualified providers in accordance with federal requirements for Title XIX of the Social Security Act and the provisions of state law. This program of medical assistance is designated the “Medicaid program.” The Department of Children and Family Services is responsible for Medicaid eligibility determinations, including, but not limited to, policy, rules, and the agreement with the Social Security Administration for Medicaid eligibility determinations for Supplemental Security Income recipients, as well as the actual determination of eligibility. As a condition of Medicaid eligibility, subject to federal approval, the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Family Services shall ensure that each recipient of Medicaid consents to the release of her or his medical records to the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Department of Legal Affairs.
History.s. 31, ch. 91-282; s. 2, ch. 95-393; s. 12, ch. 2000-163; s. 49, ch. 2000-256; s. 15, ch. 2002-400.
409.9021 Forfeiture of eligibility agreement.As a condition of Medicaid eligibility, subject to federal approval, a Medicaid applicant shall agree in writing to forfeit all entitlements to any goods or services provided through the Medicaid program if he or she has been found to have committed fraud, through judicial or administrative determination, two times in a period of 5 years. This provision applies only to the Medicaid recipient found to have committed or participated in the fraud and does not apply to any family member of the recipient who was not involved in the fraud.
History.s. 4, ch. 2004-344.
409.9025 Eligibility while an inmate.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law other than s. 409.9021, in the event that a person who is an inmate in the state’s correctional system as defined in s. 944.02, in a county detention facility as defined in s. 951.23, or in a municipal detention facility as defined in s. 951.23 was in receipt of medical assistance under this chapter immediately prior to being admitted as an inmate, such person shall remain eligible for medical assistance while an inmate, except that no medical assistance shall be furnished under this chapter for any care, services, or supplies provided during such time as the person is an inmate; however, nothing in this section shall be deemed as preventing the provision of medical assistance for inpatient hospital services furnished to an inmate at a hospital outside of the premises of the inmate’s facility to the extent that federal financial participation is available for the costs of such services.
(2) Upon release from incarceration, such person shall continue to be eligible for receipt of medical assistance furnished under this chapter until such time as the person is otherwise determined to no longer be eligible for such assistance.
(3) To the extent permitted by federal law, the time during which such person is an inmate shall not be included in any calculation of when the person must recertify his or her eligibility for medical assistance in accordance with this chapter.
History.s. 1, ch. 2008-217.
409.903 Mandatory payments for eligible persons.The agency shall make payments for medical assistance and related services on behalf of the following persons who the department, or the Social Security Administration by contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, determines to be eligible, subject to the income, assets, and categorical eligibility tests set forth in federal and state law. Payment on behalf of these Medicaid eligible persons is subject to the availability of moneys and any limitations established by the General Appropriations Act or chapter 216.
(1) Low-income families with children are eligible for Medicaid provided they meet the following requirements:
(a) The family includes a dependent child who is living with a caretaker relative.
(b) The family’s income does not exceed the gross income test limit.
(c) The family’s countable income and resources do not exceed the applicable Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) income and resource standards under the AFDC state plan in effect in July 1996, except as amended in the Medicaid state plan to conform as closely as possible to the requirements of the welfare transition program, to the extent permitted by federal law.
(2) A person who receives payments from, who is determined eligible for, or who was eligible for but lost cash benefits from the federal program known as the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI). This category includes a low-income person age 65 or over and a low-income person under age 65 considered to be permanently and totally disabled.
(3) A child under age 21 living in a low-income, two-parent family, and a child under age 7 living with a nonrelative, if the income and assets of the family or child, as applicable, do not exceed the resource limits under the Temporary Cash Assistance Program.
(4) A child who is eligible under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act for subsidized board payments, foster care, or adoption subsidies, and a child for whom the state has assumed temporary or permanent responsibility and who does not qualify for Title IV-E assistance but is in foster care, shelter or emergency shelter care, or subsidized adoption. This category includes a young adult who is eligible to receive services under s. 409.1451(5), until the young adult reaches 21 years of age, without regard to any income, resource, or categorical eligibility test that is otherwise required. This category also includes a person who as a child was eligible under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act for foster care or the state-provided foster care and who is a participant in the Road-to-Independence Program.
(5) A pregnant woman for the duration of her pregnancy and for the postpartum period as defined in federal law and rule, or a child under age 1, if either is living in a family that has an income which is at or below 150 percent of the most current federal poverty level, or, effective January 1, 1992, that has an income which is at or below 185 percent of the most current federal poverty level. Such a person is not subject to an assets test. Further, a pregnant woman who applies for eligibility for the Medicaid program through a qualified Medicaid provider must be offered the opportunity, subject to federal rules, to be made presumptively eligible for the Medicaid program.
(6) A child born after September 30, 1983, living in a family that has an income which is at or below 100 percent of the current federal poverty level, who has attained the age of 6, but has not attained the age of 19. In determining the eligibility of such a child, an assets test is not required. A child who is eligible for Medicaid under this subsection must be offered the opportunity, subject to federal rules, to be made presumptively eligible. A child who has been deemed presumptively eligible for Medicaid shall not be enrolled in a managed care plan until the child’s full eligibility determination for Medicaid has been completed.
(7) A child living in a family that has an income which is at or below 133 percent of the current federal poverty level, who has attained the age of 1, but has not attained the age of 6. In determining the eligibility of such a child, an assets test is not required. A child who is eligible for Medicaid under this subsection must be offered the opportunity, subject to federal rules, to be made presumptively eligible. A child who has been deemed presumptively eligible for Medicaid shall not be enrolled in a managed care plan until the child’s full eligibility determination for Medicaid has been completed.
(8) A person who is age 65 or over or is determined by the agency to be disabled, whose income is at or below 100 percent of the most current federal poverty level and whose assets do not exceed limitations established by the agency. However, the agency may only pay for premiums, coinsurance, and deductibles, as required by federal law, unless additional coverage is provided for any or all members of this group by s. 409.904(1).
History.s. 32, ch. 91-282; s. 97, ch. 96-175; s. 27, ch. 98-191; s. 13, ch. 2000-163; s. 95, ch. 2000-165; s. 8, ch. 2000-253; s. 50, ch. 2000-256; s. 8, ch. 2002-19; s. 6, ch. 2004-270; s. 4, ch. 2005-60; s. 13, ch. 2006-194; s. 3, ch. 2007-147; s. 11, ch. 2010-209.
409.904 Optional payments for eligible persons.The agency may make payments for medical assistance and related services on behalf of the following persons who are determined to be eligible subject to the income, assets, and categorical eligibility tests set forth in federal and state law. Payment on behalf of these Medicaid eligible persons is subject to the availability of moneys and any limitations established by the General Appropriations Act or chapter 216.
(1) Effective January 1, 2006, and subject to federal waiver approval, a person who is age 65 or older or is determined to be disabled, whose income is at or below 88 percent of the federal poverty level, whose assets do not exceed established limitations, and who is not eligible for Medicare or, if eligible for Medicare, is also eligible for and receiving Medicaid-covered institutional care services, hospice services, or home and community-based services. The agency shall seek federal authorization through a waiver to provide this coverage. This subsection expires June 30, 2011.
(2)(a) A family, a pregnant woman, a child under age 21, a person age 65 or over, or a blind or disabled person, who would be eligible under any group listed in s. 409.903(1), (2), or (3), except that the income or assets of such family or person exceed established limitations. For a family or person in one of these coverage groups, medical expenses are deductible from income in accordance with federal requirements in order to make a determination of eligibility. A family or person eligible under the coverage known as the “medically needy,” is eligible to receive the same services as other Medicaid recipients, with the exception of services in skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled. This paragraph expires June 30, 2011.
(b) Effective July 1, 2011, a pregnant woman or a child younger than 21 years of age who would be eligible under any group listed in s. 409.903, except that the income or assets of such group exceed established limitations. For a person in one of these coverage groups, medical expenses are deductible from income in accordance with federal requirements in order to make a determination of eligibility. A person eligible under the coverage known as the “medically needy” is eligible to receive the same services as other Medicaid recipients, with the exception of services in skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled.
(3) A person who is in need of the services of a licensed nursing facility, a licensed intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled, or a state mental hospital, whose income does not exceed 300 percent of the SSI income standard, and who meets the assets standards established under federal and state law. In determining the person’s responsibility for the cost of care, the following amounts must be deducted from the person’s income:
(a) The monthly personal allowance for residents as set based on appropriations.
(b) The reasonable costs of medically necessary services and supplies that are not reimbursable by the Medicaid program.
(c) The cost of premiums, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for supplemental health insurance.
(4) A low-income person who meets all other requirements for Medicaid eligibility except citizenship and who is in need of emergency medical services. The eligibility of such a recipient is limited to the period of the emergency, in accordance with federal regulations.
(5) Subject to specific federal authorization, a woman living in a family that has an income that is at or below 185 percent of the most current federal poverty level is eligible for family planning services as specified in s. 409.905(3) for a period of up to 24 months following a loss of Medicaid benefits.
(6) A child who has not attained the age of 19 who has been determined eligible for the Medicaid program is deemed to be eligible for a total of 6 months, regardless of changes in circumstances other than attainment of the maximum age. Effective January 1, 1999, a child who has not attained the age of 5 and who has been determined eligible for the Medicaid program is deemed to be eligible for a total of 12 months regardless of changes in circumstances other than attainment of the maximum age.
(7) A child under 1 year of age who lives in a family that has an income above 185 percent of the most recently published federal poverty level, but which is at or below 200 percent of such poverty level. In determining the eligibility of such child, an assets test is not required. A child who is eligible for Medicaid under this subsection must be offered the opportunity, subject to federal rules, to be made presumptively eligible.
(8) A Medicaid-eligible individual for the individual’s health insurance premiums, if the agency determines that such payments are cost-effective.
(9) Eligible women with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level and under age 65, for cancer treatment pursuant to the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000, screened through the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program established under s. 381.93.
History.s. 33, ch. 91-282; s. 2, ch. 96-417; s. 11, ch. 97-263; s. 51, ch. 98-288; s. 9, ch. 2000-253; s. 2, ch. 2001-52; s. 1, ch. 2001-104; ss. 1, 2, ch. 2001-377; ss. 16, 17, ch. 2002-400; s. 1, ch. 2003-9; s. 8, ch. 2003-405; s. 51, ch. 2004-5; s. 7, ch. 2004-270; s. 5, ch. 2005-60; s. 9, ch. 2006-28; s. 3, ch. 2008-143; s. 4, ch. 2009-55; s. 4, ch. 2010-156.
409.905 Mandatory Medicaid services.The agency may make payments for the following services, which are required of the state by Title XIX of the Social Security Act, furnished by Medicaid providers to recipients who are determined to be eligible on the dates on which the services were provided. Any service under this section shall be provided only when medically necessary and in accordance with state and federal law. Mandatory services rendered by providers in mobile units to Medicaid recipients may be restricted by the agency. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent or limit the agency from adjusting fees, reimbursement rates, lengths of stay, number of visits, number of services, or any other adjustments necessary to comply with the availability of moneys and any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act or chapter 216.
(1) ADVANCED REGISTERED NURSE PRACTITIONER SERVICES.The agency shall pay for services provided to a recipient by a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner who has a valid collaboration agreement with a licensed physician on file with the Department of Health or who provides anesthesia services in accordance with established protocol required by state law and approved by the medical staff of the facility in which the anesthetic service is performed. Reimbursement for such services must be provided in an amount that equals not less than 80 percent of the reimbursement to a physician who provides the same services, unless otherwise provided for in the General Appropriations Act.
(2) EARLY AND PERIODIC SCREENING, DIAGNOSIS, AND TREATMENT SERVICES.The agency shall pay for early and periodic screening and diagnosis of a recipient under age 21 to ascertain physical and mental problems and conditions and provide treatment to correct or ameliorate these problems and conditions. These services include all services determined by the agency to be medically necessary for the treatment, correction, or amelioration of these problems, including personal care, private duty nursing, durable medical equipment, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, respiratory therapy, and immunizations.
(3) FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES.The agency shall pay for services necessary to enable a recipient voluntarily to plan family size or to space children. These services include information; education; counseling regarding the availability, benefits, and risks of each method of pregnancy prevention; drugs and supplies; and necessary medical care and followup. Each recipient participating in the family planning portion of the Medicaid program must be provided freedom to choose any alternative method of family planning, as required by federal law.
(4) HOME HEALTH CARE SERVICES.The agency shall pay for nursing and home health aide services, supplies, appliances, and durable medical equipment, necessary to assist a recipient living at home. An entity that provides services pursuant to this subsection shall be licensed under part III of chapter 400. These services, equipment, and supplies, or reimbursement therefor, may be limited as provided in the General Appropriations Act and do not include services, equipment, or supplies provided to a person residing in a hospital or nursing facility.
(a) In providing home health care services, the agency may require prior authorization of care based on diagnosis, utilization rates, or billing rates. The agency shall require prior authorization for visits for home health services that are not associated with a skilled nursing visit when the home health agency billing rates exceed the state average by 50 percent or more. The home health agency must submit the recipient’s plan of care and documentation that supports the recipient’s diagnosis to the agency when requesting prior authorization.
(b) The agency shall implement a comprehensive utilization management program that requires prior authorization of all private duty nursing services, an individualized treatment plan that includes information about medication and treatment orders, treatment goals, methods of care to be used, and plans for care coordination by nurses and other health professionals. The utilization management program shall also include a process for periodically reviewing the ongoing use of private duty nursing services. The assessment of need shall be based on a child’s condition, family support and care supplements, a family’s ability to provide care, and a family’s and child’s schedule regarding work, school, sleep, and care for other family dependents. When implemented, the private duty nursing utilization management program shall replace the current authorization program used by the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Children’s Medical Services program of the Department of Health. The agency may competitively bid on a contract to select a qualified organization to provide utilization management of private duty nursing services. The agency is authorized to seek federal waivers to implement this initiative.
(c) The agency may not pay for home health services unless the services are medically necessary and:
1. The services are ordered by a physician.
2. The written prescription for the services is signed and dated by the recipient’s physician before the development of a plan of care and before any request requiring prior authorization.
3. The physician ordering the services is not employed, under contract with, or otherwise affiliated with the home health agency rendering the services. However, this subparagraph does not apply to a home health agency affiliated with a retirement community, of which the parent corporation or a related legal entity owns a rural health clinic certified under 42 C.F.R. part 491, subpart A, ss. 1-11, a nursing home licensed under part II of chapter 400, or an apartment or single-family home for independent living. For purposes of this subparagraph, the agency may, on a case-by-case basis, provide an exception for medically fragile children who are younger than 21 years of age.
4. The physician ordering the services has examined the recipient within the 30 days preceding the initial request for the services and biannually thereafter.
5. The written prescription for the services includes the recipient’s acute or chronic medical condition or diagnosis, the home health service required, and, for skilled nursing services, the frequency and duration of the services.
6. The national provider identifier, Medicaid identification number, or medical practitioner license number of the physician ordering the services is listed on the written prescription for the services, the claim for home health reimbursement, and the prior authorization request.
(5) HOSPITAL INPATIENT SERVICES.The agency shall pay for all covered services provided for the medical care and treatment of a recipient who is admitted as an inpatient by a licensed physician or dentist to a hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395. However, the agency shall limit the payment for inpatient hospital services for a Medicaid recipient 21 years of age or older to 45 days or the number of days necessary to comply with the General Appropriations Act.
(a) The agency is authorized to implement reimbursement and utilization management reforms in order to comply with any limitations or directions in the General Appropriations Act, which may include, but are not limited to: prior authorization for inpatient psychiatric days; prior authorization for nonemergency hospital inpatient admissions for individuals 21 years of age and older; authorization of emergency and urgent-care admissions within 24 hours after admission; enhanced utilization and concurrent review programs for highly utilized services; reduction or elimination of covered days of service; adjusting reimbursement ceilings for variable costs; adjusting reimbursement ceilings for fixed and property costs; and implementing target rates of increase. The agency may limit prior authorization for hospital inpatient services to selected diagnosis-related groups, based on an analysis of the cost and potential for unnecessary hospitalizations represented by certain diagnoses. Admissions for normal delivery and newborns are exempt from requirements for prior authorization. In implementing the provisions of this section related to prior authorization, the agency shall ensure that the process for authorization is accessible 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and authorization is automatically granted when not denied within 4 hours after the request. Authorization procedures must include steps for review of denials. Upon implementing the prior authorization program for hospital inpatient services, the agency shall discontinue its hospital retrospective review program.
(b) A licensed hospital maintained primarily for the care and treatment of patients having mental disorders or mental diseases is not eligible to participate in the hospital inpatient portion of the Medicaid program except as provided in federal law. However, the department shall apply for a waiver, within 9 months after June 5, 1991, designed to provide hospitalization services for mental health reasons to children and adults in the most cost-effective and lowest cost setting possible. Such waiver shall include a request for the opportunity to pay for care in hospitals known under federal law as “institutions for mental disease” or “IMD’s.” The waiver proposal shall propose no additional aggregate cost to the state or Federal Government, and shall be conducted in Hillsborough County, Highlands County, Hardee County, Manatee County, and Polk County. The waiver proposal may incorporate competitive bidding for hospital services, comprehensive brokering, prepaid capitated arrangements, or other mechanisms deemed by the department to show promise in reducing the cost of acute care and increasing the effectiveness of preventive care. When developing the waiver proposal, the department shall take into account price, quality, accessibility, linkages of the hospital to community services and family support programs, plans of the hospital to ensure the earliest discharge possible, and the comprehensiveness of the mental health and other health care services offered by participating providers.
(c) The agency shall adjust a hospital’s current inpatient per diem rate to reflect the cost of serving the Medicaid population at that institution if:
1. The hospital experiences an increase in Medicaid caseload by more than 25 percent in any year, primarily resulting from the closure of a hospital in the same service area occurring after July 1, 1995;
2. The hospital’s Medicaid per diem rate is at least 25 percent below the Medicaid per patient cost for that year; or
3. The hospital is located in a county that has six or fewer general acute care hospitals, began offering obstetrical services on or after September 1999, and has submitted a request in writing to the agency for a rate adjustment after July 1, 2000, but before September 30, 2000, in which case such hospital’s Medicaid inpatient per diem rate shall be adjusted to cost, effective July 1, 2002.

By October 1 of each year, the agency must provide estimated costs for any adjustment in a hospital inpatient per diem rate to the Executive Office of the Governor, the House of Representatives General Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee. Before the agency implements a change in a hospital’s inpatient per diem rate pursuant to this paragraph, the Legislature must have specifically appropriated sufficient funds in the General Appropriations Act to support the increase in cost as estimated by the agency.

(d) The agency shall implement a hospitalist program in nonteaching hospitals, select counties, or statewide. The program shall require hospitalists to manage Medicaid recipients’ hospital admissions and lengths of stay. Individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid are exempted from this requirement. Medicaid participating physicians and other practitioners with hospital admitting privileges shall coordinate and review admissions of Medicaid recipients with the hospitalist. The agency may competitively bid a contract for selection of a single qualified organization to provide hospitalist services. The agency may procure hospitalist services by individual county or may combine counties in a single procurement. The qualified organization shall contract with or employ board-eligible physicians in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties. The agency is authorized to seek federal waivers to implement this program.
(e) The agency shall implement a comprehensive utilization management program for hospital neonatal intensive care stays in certain high-volume participating hospitals, select counties, or statewide, and shall replace existing hospital inpatient utilization management programs for neonatal intensive care admissions. The program shall be designed to manage the lengths of stay for children being treated in neonatal intensive care units and must seek the earliest medically appropriate discharge to the child’s home or other less costly treatment setting. The agency may competitively bid a contract for selection of a qualified organization to provide neonatal intensive care utilization management services. The agency is authorized to seek any federal waivers to implement this initiative.
(f) The agency may develop and implement a program to reduce the number of hospital readmissions among the non-Medicare population eligible in areas 9, 10, and 11.
(6) HOSPITAL OUTPATIENT SERVICES.The agency shall pay for preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, or palliative care and other services provided to a recipient in the outpatient portion of a hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395, and provided under the direction of a licensed physician or licensed dentist, except that payment for such care and services is limited to $1,500 per state fiscal year per recipient, unless an exception has been made by the agency, and with the exception of a Medicaid recipient under age 21, in which case the only limitation is medical necessity.
(7) INDEPENDENT LABORATORY SERVICES.The agency shall pay for medically necessary diagnostic laboratory procedures ordered by a licensed physician or other licensed practitioner of the healing arts which are provided for a recipient in a laboratory that meets the requirements for Medicare participation and is licensed under chapter 483, if required.
(8) NURSING FACILITY SERVICES.The agency shall pay for 24-hour-a-day nursing and rehabilitative services for a recipient in a nursing facility licensed under part II of chapter 400 or in a rural hospital, as defined in s. 395.602, or in a Medicare certified skilled nursing facility operated by a hospital, as defined by s. 395.002(10), that is licensed under part I of chapter 395, and in accordance with provisions set forth in s. 409.908(2)(a), which services are ordered by and provided under the direction of a licensed physician. However, if a nursing facility has been destroyed or otherwise made uninhabitable by natural disaster or other emergency and another nursing facility is not available, the agency must pay for similar services temporarily in a hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395 provided federal funding is approved and available. The agency shall pay only for bed-hold days if the facility has an occupancy rate of 95 percent or greater. The agency is authorized to seek any federal waivers to implement this policy.
(9) PHYSICIAN SERVICES.The agency shall pay for covered services and procedures rendered to a recipient by, or under the personal supervision of, a person licensed under state law to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine. These services may be furnished in the physician’s office, the Medicaid recipient’s home, a hospital, a nursing facility, or elsewhere, but shall be medically necessary for the treatment of an injury, illness, or disease within the scope of the practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine as defined by state law. The agency shall not pay for services that are clinically unproven, experimental, or for purely cosmetic purposes.
(10) PORTABLE X-RAY SERVICES.The agency shall pay for professional and technical portable radiological services ordered by a licensed physician or other licensed practitioner of the healing arts which are provided by a licensed professional in a setting other than a hospital, clinic, or office of a physician or practitioner of the healing arts, on behalf of a recipient.
(11) RURAL HEALTH CLINIC SERVICES.The agency shall pay for outpatient primary health care services for a recipient provided by a clinic certified by and participating in the Medicare program which is located in a federally designated, rural, medically underserved area and has on its staff one or more licensed primary care nurse practitioners or physician assistants, and a licensed staff supervising physician or a consulting supervising physician.
(12) TRANSPORTATION SERVICES.The agency shall ensure that appropriate transportation services are available for a Medicaid recipient in need of transport to a qualified Medicaid provider for medically necessary and Medicaid-compensable services, provided a client’s ability to choose a specific transportation provider shall be limited to those options resulting from policies established by the agency to meet the fiscal limitations of the General Appropriations Act. The agency may pay for transportation and other related travel expenses as necessary only if these services are not otherwise available.
History.s. 34, ch. 91-282; s. 32, ch. 93-129; s. 27, ch. 93-211; s. 56, ch. 94-218; s. 3, ch. 94-317; s. 3, ch. 95-393; s. 3, ch. 96-417; s. 64, ch. 97-237; s. 12, ch. 97-263; s. 40, ch. 97-264; s. 35, ch. 98-89; s. 57, ch. 2000-153; ss. 14, 29, ch. 2000-163; s. 22, ch. 2000-171; s. 51, ch. 2000-256; s. 3, ch. 2001-104; s. 1, ch. 2001-223; s. 66, ch. 2001-277; s. 18, ch. 2002-400; s. 8, ch. 2004-270; s. 1, ch. 2005-252; s. 10, ch. 2006-28; s. 80, ch. 2006-197; s. 3, ch. 2006-254; s. 136, ch. 2007-230; s. 5, ch. 2009-55; s. 11, ch. 2009-223; s. 92, ch. 2010-5; s. 5, ch. 2010-156.
409.906 Optional Medicaid services.Subject to specific appropriations, the agency may make payments for services which are optional to the state under Title XIX of the Social Security Act and are furnished by Medicaid providers to recipients who are determined to be eligible on the dates on which the services were provided. Any optional service that is provided shall be provided only when medically necessary and in accordance with state and federal law. Optional services rendered by providers in mobile units to Medicaid recipients may be restricted or prohibited by the agency. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent or limit the agency from adjusting fees, reimbursement rates, lengths of stay, number of visits, or number of services, or making any other adjustments necessary to comply with the availability of moneys and any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act or chapter 216. If necessary to safeguard the state’s systems of providing services to elderly and disabled persons and subject to the notice and review provisions of s. 216.177, the Governor may direct the Agency for Health Care Administration to amend the Medicaid state plan to delete the optional Medicaid service known as “Intermediate Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled.” Optional services may include:
(1) ADULT DENTAL SERVICES.
(a) The agency may pay for medically necessary, emergency dental procedures to alleviate pain or infection. Emergency dental care shall be limited to emergency oral examinations, necessary radiographs, extractions, and incision and drainage of abscess, for a recipient who is 21 years of age or older.
(b) Beginning July 1, 2006, the agency may pay for full or partial dentures, the procedures required to seat full or partial dentures, and the repair and reline of full or partial dentures, provided by or under the direction of a licensed dentist, for a recipient who is 21 years of age or older.
(c) However, Medicaid will not provide reimbursement for dental services provided in a mobile dental unit, except for a mobile dental unit:
1. Owned by, operated by, or having a contractual agreement with the Department of Health and complying with Medicaid’s county health department clinic services program specifications as a county health department clinic services provider.
2. Owned by, operated by, or having a contractual arrangement with a federally qualified health center and complying with Medicaid’s federally qualified health center specifications as a federally qualified health center provider.
3. Rendering dental services to Medicaid recipients, 21 years of age and older, at nursing facilities.
4. Owned by, operated by, or having a contractual agreement with a state-approved dental educational institution.
(2) ADULT HEALTH SCREENING SERVICES.The agency may pay for an annual routine physical examination, conducted by or under the direction of a licensed physician, for a recipient age 21 or older, without regard to medical necessity, in order to detect and prevent disease, disability, or other health condition or its progression.
(3) AMBULATORY SURGICAL CENTER SERVICES.The agency may pay for services provided to a recipient in an ambulatory surgical center licensed under part I of chapter 395, by or under the direction of a licensed physician or dentist.
(4) BIRTH CENTER SERVICES.The agency may pay for examinations and delivery, recovery, and newborn assessment, and related services, provided in a licensed birth center staffed with licensed physicians, certified nurse midwives, and midwives licensed in accordance with chapter 467, to a recipient expected to experience a low-risk pregnancy and delivery.
(5) CASE MANAGEMENT SERVICES.The agency may pay for primary care case management services rendered to a recipient pursuant to a federally approved waiver, and targeted case management services for specific groups of targeted recipients, for which funding has been provided and which are rendered pursuant to federal guidelines. The agency is authorized to limit reimbursement for targeted case management services in order to comply with any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act.
(6) CHILDREN’S DENTAL SERVICES.The agency may pay for diagnostic, preventive, or corrective procedures, including orthodontia in severe cases, provided to a recipient under age 21, by or under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Services provided under this program include treatment of the teeth and associated structures of the oral cavity, as well as treatment of disease, injury, or impairment that may affect the oral or general health of the individual. However, Medicaid will not provide reimbursement for dental services provided in a mobile dental unit, except for a mobile dental unit:
(a) Owned by, operated by, or having a contractual agreement with the Department of Health and complying with Medicaid’s county health department clinic services program specifications as a county health department clinic services provider.
(b) Owned by, operated by, or having a contractual arrangement with a federally qualified health center and complying with Medicaid’s federally qualified health center specifications as a federally qualified health center provider.
(c) Rendering dental services to Medicaid recipients, 21 years of age and older, at nursing facilities.
(d) Owned by, operated by, or having a contractual agreement with a state-approved dental educational institution.
(7) CHIROPRACTIC SERVICES.The agency may pay for manual manipulation of the spine and initial services, screening, and X rays provided to a recipient by a licensed chiropractic physician.
(8) COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES.
(a) The agency may pay for rehabilitative services provided to a recipient by a mental health or substance abuse provider under contract with the agency or the Department of Children and Family Services to provide such services. Those services which are psychiatric in nature shall be rendered or recommended by a psychiatrist, and those services which are medical in nature shall be rendered or recommended by a physician or psychiatrist. The agency must develop a provider enrollment process for community mental health providers which bases provider enrollment on an assessment of service need. The provider enrollment process shall be designed to control costs, prevent fraud and abuse, consider provider expertise and capacity, and assess provider success in managing utilization of care and measuring treatment outcomes. Providers will be selected through a competitive procurement or selective contracting process. In addition to other community mental health providers, the agency shall consider for enrollment mental health programs licensed under chapter 395 and group practices licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, chapter 490, or chapter 491. The agency is also authorized to continue operation of its behavioral health utilization management program and may develop new services if these actions are necessary to ensure savings from the implementation of the utilization management system. The agency shall coordinate the implementation of this enrollment process with the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Juvenile Justice. The agency is authorized to utilize diagnostic criteria in setting reimbursement rates, to preauthorize certain high-cost or highly utilized services, to limit or eliminate coverage for certain services, or to make any other adjustments necessary to comply with any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act.
(b) The agency is authorized to implement reimbursement and use management reforms in order to comply with any limitations or directions in the General Appropriations Act, which may include, but are not limited to: prior authorization of treatment and service plans; prior authorization of services; enhanced use review programs for highly used services; and limits on services for those determined to be abusing their benefit coverages.
(9) DIALYSIS FACILITY SERVICES.Subject to specific appropriations being provided for this purpose, the agency may pay a dialysis facility that is approved as a dialysis facility in accordance with Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, for dialysis services that are provided to a Medicaid recipient under the direction of a physician licensed to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine in this state, including dialysis services provided in the recipient’s home by a hospital-based or freestanding dialysis facility.
(10) DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT.The agency may authorize and pay for certain durable medical equipment and supplies provided to a Medicaid recipient as medically necessary.
(11) HEALTHY START SERVICES.The agency may pay for a continuum of risk-appropriate medical and psychosocial services for the Healthy Start program in accordance with a federal waiver. The agency may not implement the federal waiver unless the waiver permits the state to limit enrollment or the amount, duration, and scope of services to ensure that expenditures will not exceed funds appropriated by the Legislature or available from local sources. If the Health Care Financing Administration does not approve a federal waiver for Healthy Start services, the agency, in consultation with the Department of Health and the Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions, is authorized to establish a Medicaid certified-match program for Healthy Start services. Participation in the Healthy Start certified-match program shall be voluntary, and reimbursement shall be limited to the federal Medicaid share to Medicaid-enrolled Healthy Start coalitions for services provided to Medicaid recipients. The agency shall take no action to implement a certified-match program without ensuring that the amendment and review requirements of ss. 216.177 and 216.181 have been met.
(12) HEARING SERVICES.The agency may pay for hearing and related services, including hearing evaluations, hearing aid devices, dispensing of the hearing aid, and related repairs, if provided to a recipient by a licensed hearing aid specialist, otolaryngologist, otologist, audiologist, or physician.
(13) HOME AND COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES.
(a) The agency may pay for home-based or community-based services that are rendered to a recipient in accordance with a federally approved waiver program. The agency may limit or eliminate coverage for certain services, preauthorize high-cost or highly utilized services, or make any other adjustments necessary to comply with any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act.
(b) The agency may consolidate types of services offered in the Aged and Disabled Waiver, the Channeling Waiver, the Project AIDS Care Waiver, and the Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Waiver programs in order to group similar services under a single service, or continue a service upon evidence of the need for including a particular service type in a particular waiver. The agency is authorized to seek a Medicaid state plan amendment or federal waiver approval to implement this policy.
(c) The agency may implement a utilization management program designed to prior-authorize home and community-based service plans and includes, but is not limited to, assessing proposed quantity and duration of services and monitoring ongoing service use by participants in the program. The agency is authorized to competitively procure a qualified organization to provide utilization management of home and community-based services. The agency is authorized to seek any federal waivers to implement this initiative.
(14) HOSPICE CARE SERVICES.The agency may pay for all reasonable and necessary services for the palliation or management of a recipient’s terminal illness, if the services are provided by a hospice that is licensed under part IV of chapter 400 and meets Medicare certification requirements.
(15) INTERMEDIATE CARE FACILITY FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED SERVICES.The agency may pay for health-related care and services provided on a 24-hour-a-day basis by a facility licensed and certified as a Medicaid Intermediate Care Facility for the Developmentally Disabled, for a recipient who needs such care because of a developmental disability. Payment shall not include bed-hold days except in facilities with occupancy rates of 95 percent or greater. The agency is authorized to seek any federal waiver approvals to implement this policy.
(16) INTERMEDIATE CARE SERVICES.The agency may pay for 24-hour-a-day intermediate care nursing and rehabilitation services rendered to a recipient in a nursing facility licensed under part II of chapter 400, if the services are ordered by and provided under the direction of a physician.
(17) OPTOMETRIC SERVICES.The agency may pay for services provided to a recipient, including examination, diagnosis, treatment, and management, related to ocular pathology, if the services are provided by a licensed optometrist or physician.
(18) PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT SERVICES.The agency may pay for all services provided to a recipient by a physician assistant licensed under s. 458.347 or s. 459.022. Reimbursement for such services must be not less than 80 percent of the reimbursement that would be paid to a physician who provided the same services.
(19) PODIATRIC SERVICES.The agency may pay for services, including diagnosis and medical, surgical, palliative, and mechanical treatment, related to ailments of the human foot and lower leg, if provided to a recipient by a podiatric physician licensed under state law.
(20) PRESCRIBED DRUG SERVICES.The agency may pay for medications that are prescribed for a recipient by a physician or other licensed practitioner of the healing arts authorized to prescribe medications and that are dispensed to the recipient by a licensed pharmacist or physician in accordance with applicable state and federal law.
(21) REGISTERED NURSE FIRST ASSISTANT SERVICES.The agency may pay for all services provided to a recipient by a registered nurse first assistant as described in s. 464.027. Reimbursement for such services may not be less than 80 percent of the reimbursement that would be paid to a physician providing the same services.
(22) STATE HOSPITAL SERVICES.The agency may pay for all-inclusive psychiatric inpatient hospital care provided to a recipient age 65 or older in a state mental hospital.
(23) VISUAL SERVICES.The agency may pay for visual examinations, eyeglasses, and eyeglass repairs for a recipient if they are prescribed by a licensed physician specializing in diseases of the eye or by a licensed optometrist. Eyeglass frames for adult recipients shall be limited to one pair per recipient every 2 years, except a second pair may be provided during that period after prior authorization. Eyeglass lenses for adult recipients shall be limited to one pair per year except a second pair may be provided during that period after prior authorization.
(24) CHILD-WELFARE-TARGETED CASE MANAGEMENT.The Agency for Health Care Administration, in consultation with the Department of Children and Family Services, may establish a targeted case-management project in those counties identified by the Department of Children and Family Services and for all counties with a community-based child welfare project, as authorized under s. 409.1671, which have been specifically approved by the department. The covered group of individuals who are eligible to receive targeted case management include children who are eligible for Medicaid; who are between the ages of birth through 21; and who are under protective supervision or postplacement supervision, under foster-care supervision, or in shelter care or foster care. The number of individuals who are eligible to receive targeted case management is limited to the number for whom the Department of Children and Family Services has matching funds to cover the costs. The general revenue funds required to match the funds for services provided by the community-based child welfare projects are limited to funds available for services described under s. 409.1671. The Department of Children and Family Services may transfer the general revenue matching funds as billed by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(25) ASSISTIVE-CARE SERVICES.The agency may pay for assistive-care services provided to recipients with functional or cognitive impairments residing in assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, or residential treatment facilities. These services may include health support, assistance with the activities of daily living and the instrumental acts of daily living, assistance with medication administration, and arrangements for health care.
(26) HOME AND COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES FOR AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.The agency is authorized to seek federal approval through a Medicaid waiver or a state plan amendment for the provision of occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, behavior analysis, and behavior assistant services to individuals who are 5 years of age and under and have a diagnosed developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063, autism spectrum disorder as defined in s. 627.6686, or Down syndrome, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of extra chromosomal material on chromosome 21. Causes of the syndrome may include Trisomy 21, Mosaicism, Robertsonian Translocation, and other duplications of a portion of chromosome 21. Coverage for such services shall be limited to $36,000 annually and may not exceed $108,000 in total lifetime benefits. The agency shall submit an annual report beginning on January 1, 2009, to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the relevant committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives regarding progress on obtaining federal approval and recommendations for the implementation of these home and community-based services. The agency may not implement this subsection without prior legislative approval.
(27) ANESTHESIOLOGIST ASSISTANT SERVICES.The agency may pay for all services provided to a recipient by an anesthesiologist assistant licensed under s. 458.3475 or s. 459.023. Reimbursement for such services must be not less than 80 percent of the reimbursement that would be paid to a physician who provided the same services.
History.s. 35, ch. 91-282; s. 1, ch. 94-299; s. 1, ch. 95-291; s. 4, ch. 95-393; s. 4, ch. 96-417; s. 42, ch. 97-98; s. 12, ch. 97-260; s. 17, ch. 97-263; s. 185, ch. 98-166; s. 52, ch. 98-288; s. 7, ch. 99-144; s. 3, ch. 99-206; s. 66, ch. 99-397; s. 15, ch. 2000-163; s. 52, ch. 2000-256; s. 4, ch. 2001-104; s. 2, ch. 2001-223; s. 67, ch. 2001-277; ss. 3, 4, ch. 2001-377; s. 68, ch. 2002-1; s. 7, ch. 2002-219; s. 19, ch. 2002-400; s. 9, ch. 2003-405; s. 85, ch. 2004-267; s. 9, ch. 2004-270; s. 6, ch. 2005-60; s. 51, ch. 2005-152; s. 11, ch. 2006-28; s. 81, ch. 2006-197; s. 1, ch. 2008-30; s. 4, ch. 2008-143; s. 6, ch. 2009-55; s. 126, ch. 2010-102.
409.9062 Lung transplant services for Medicaid recipients.Subject to the availability of funds and subject to any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act or chapter 216, the Agency for Health Care Administration Medicaid program shall pay for medically necessary lung transplant services for Medicaid recipients. These payments must be used to reimburse approved lung transplant facilities a global fee for providing lung transplant services to Medicaid recipients.
History.s. 2, ch. 2002-35; s. 4, ch. 2005-133.
409.9066 Medicare prescription discount program.
(1) As a condition of participation in the Florida Medicaid program or the pharmaceutical expense assistance program, a pharmacy must agree to charge any individual who is a Medicare beneficiary and who is a Florida resident showing a Medicare card when he or she presents a prescription, a price no greater than the cost of ingredients equal to the average wholesale price minus 9 percent, and a dispensing fee of $4.50.
(2) In lieu of the provisions of subsection (1), and as a condition of participation in the Florida Medicaid program or the pharmaceutical expense assistance program, a pharmacy must agree to:
(a) Provide a private voluntary prescription discount program to state residents who are Medicare beneficiaries; or
(b) Accept a private voluntary discount prescription program from state residents who are Medicare beneficiaries.

Discounts under this subsection must be at least as great as discounts under subsection (1).

(3) The Agency for Health Care Administration shall publish, on a free website available to the public, the most recent average wholesale prices for the 200 drugs most frequently dispensed and shall provide a mechanism that consumers may use to calculate the retail price and the price that should be paid after the discount required in subsection (1) is applied. The agency shall provide retail information by geographic area and retail information by provider within geographical areas.
History.s. 3, ch. 2000-254; s. 1, ch. 2003-61; s. 12, ch. 2004-297.
409.907 Medicaid provider agreements.The agency may make payments for medical assistance and related services rendered to Medicaid recipients only to an individual or entity who has a provider agreement in effect with the agency, who is performing services or supplying goods in accordance with federal, state, and local law, and who agrees that no person shall, on the grounds of handicap, race, color, or national origin, or for any other reason, be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity for which the provider receives payment from the agency.
(1) Each provider agreement shall require the provider to comply fully with all state and federal laws pertaining to the Medicaid program, as well as all federal, state, and local laws pertaining to licensure, if required, and the practice of any of the healing arts, and shall require the provider to provide services or goods of not less than the scope and quality it provides to the general public.
(2) Each provider agreement shall be a voluntary contract between the agency and the provider, in which the provider agrees to comply with all laws and rules pertaining to the Medicaid program when furnishing a service or goods to a Medicaid recipient and the agency agrees to pay a sum, determined by fee schedule, payment methodology, or other manner, for the service or goods provided to the Medicaid recipient. Each provider agreement shall be effective for a stipulated period of time, shall be terminable by either party after reasonable notice, and shall be renewable by mutual agreement.
(3) The provider agreement developed by the agency, in addition to the requirements specified in subsections (1) and (2), shall require the provider to:
(a) Have in its possession at the time of signing the provider agreement, and maintain in good standing throughout the period of the agreement’s effectiveness, a valid professional or facility license pertinent to the services or goods being provided, as required by the state or locality in which the provider is located, and the Federal Government, if applicable.
(b) Maintain in a systematic and orderly manner all medical and Medicaid-related records that the agency requires and determines are relevant to the services or goods being provided.
(c) Retain all medical and Medicaid-related records for a period of 5 years to satisfy all necessary inquiries by the agency.
(d) Safeguard the use and disclosure of information pertaining to current or former Medicaid recipients and comply with all state and federal laws pertaining to confidentiality of patient information.
(e) Permit the agency, the Attorney General, the Federal Government, and the authorized agents of each of these entities access to all Medicaid-related information, which may be in the form of records, logs, documents, or computer files, and other information pertaining to services or goods billed to the Medicaid program, including access to all patient records and other provider information if the provider cannot easily separate records for Medicaid patients from other records.
(f) Bill other insurers and third parties, including the Medicare program, before billing the Medicaid program, if the recipient is eligible for payment for health care or related services from another insurer or person, and comply with all other state and federal requirements in this regard.
(g) Promptly report any moneys received in error or in excess of the amount to which the provider is entitled from the Medicaid program, and promptly refund such moneys to the agency.
(h) Be liable for and indemnify, defend, and hold the agency harmless from all claims, suits, judgments, or damages, including court costs and attorney’s fees, arising out of the negligence or omissions of the provider in the course of providing services to a recipient or a person believed to be a recipient.
(i) At the option of the agency, provide proof of liability insurance and maintain such insurance in effect for any period during which services or goods are furnished to Medicaid recipients.
(j) Accept Medicaid payment as payment in full, and prohibit the provider from billing or collecting from the recipient or the recipient’s responsible party any additional amount except, and only to the extent the agency permits or requires, copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles to be paid by the recipient for the services or goods provided. The Medicaid payment-in-full policy does not apply to services or goods provided to a recipient if the services or goods are not covered by the Medicaid program.
(4) A provider agreement shall provide that, if the provider sells or transfers a business interest or practice that substantially constitutes the entity named as the provider in the provider agreement, or sells or transfers a facility that is of substantial importance to the entity named as the provider in the provider agreement, the provider is required to maintain and make available to the agency Medicaid-related records that relate to the sale or transfer of the business interest, practice, or facility in the same manner as though the sale or transaction had not taken place, unless the provider enters into an agreement with the purchaser of the business interest, practice, or facility to fulfill this requirement.
(5) The agency:
(a) Is required to make timely payment at the established rate for services or goods furnished to a recipient by the provider upon receipt of a properly completed claim form. The claim form shall require certification that the services or goods have been completely furnished to the recipient and that, with the exception of those services or goods specified by the agency, the amount billed does not exceed the provider’s usual and customary charge for the same services or goods.
(b) Is prohibited from demanding repayment from the provider in any instance in which the Medicaid overpayment is attributable to 1error of the department in the determination of eligibility of a recipient.
(c) May adopt, and include in the provider agreement, such other requirements and stipulations on either party as the agency finds necessary to properly and efficiently administer the Medicaid program.
(d) May enroll entities as Medicare crossover-only providers for payment and claims processing purposes only. The provider agreement shall:
1. Require that the provider be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the agency that the provider is an eligible Medicare provider and has a current provider agreement in place with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
2. Require the provider to notify the agency immediately in writing upon being suspended or disenrolled as a Medicare provider. If the provider does not provide such notification within 5 business days after suspension or disenrollment, sanctions may be imposed pursuant to this chapter and the provider may be required to return funds paid to the provider during the period of time that the provider was suspended or disenrolled as a Medicare provider.
3. Require that all records pertaining to health care services provided to each of the provider’s recipients be kept for a minimum of 6 years. The agreement shall also require that records and any information relating to payments claimed by the provider for services under the agreement be delivered to the agency or the Office of the Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit when requested. If a provider does not provide such records and information when requested, sanctions may be imposed pursuant to this chapter.
4. Disclose that the agreement is for the purposes of paying and processing Medicare crossover claims only.

This paragraph pertains solely to Medicare crossover-only providers. In order to become a standard Medicaid provider, the requirements of this section and applicable rules must be met.

(e) Providers that are required to post a surety bond as part of the Medicaid enrollment process are excluded for enrollment under paragraph (d).
(6) A Medicaid provider agreement may be revoked, at the option of the agency, as the result of a change of ownership of any facility, association, partnership, or other entity named as the provider in the provider agreement.
(a) In the event of a change of ownership, the transferor remains liable for all outstanding overpayments, administrative fines, and any other moneys owed to the agency before the effective date of the change of ownership. In addition to the continuing liability of the transferor, the transferee is liable to the agency for all outstanding overpayments identified by the agency on or before the effective date of the change of ownership. For purposes of this subsection, the term “outstanding overpayment” includes any amount identified in a preliminary audit report issued to the transferor by the agency on or before the effective date of the change of ownership. In the event of a change of ownership for a skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility, the Medicaid provider agreement shall be assigned to the transferee if the transferee meets all other Medicaid provider qualifications. In the event of a change of ownership involving a skilled nursing facility licensed under part II of chapter 400, liability for all outstanding overpayments, administrative fines, and any moneys owed to the agency before the effective date of the change of ownership shall be determined in accordance with s. 400.179.
(b) At least 60 days before the anticipated date of the change of ownership, the transferor shall notify the agency of the intended change of ownership and the transferee shall submit to the agency a Medicaid provider enrollment application. If a change of ownership occurs without compliance with the notice requirements of this subsection, the transferor and transferee shall be jointly and severally liable for all overpayments, administrative fines, and other moneys due to the agency, regardless of whether the agency identified the overpayments, administrative fines, or other moneys before or after the effective date of the change of ownership. The agency may not approve a transferee’s Medicaid provider enrollment application if the transferee or transferor has not paid or agreed in writing to a payment plan for all outstanding overpayments, administrative fines, and other moneys due to the agency. This subsection does not preclude the agency from seeking any other legal or equitable remedies available to the agency for the recovery of moneys owed to the Medicaid program. In the event of a change of ownership involving a skilled nursing facility licensed under part II of chapter 400, liability for all outstanding overpayments, administrative fines, and any moneys owed to the agency before the effective date of the change of ownership shall be determined in accordance with s. 400.179 if the Medicaid provider enrollment application for change of ownership is submitted before the change of ownership.
(7) The agency may require, as a condition of participating in the Medicaid program and before entering into the provider agreement, that the provider submit information, in an initial and any required renewal applications, concerning the professional, business, and personal background of the provider and permit an onsite inspection of the provider’s service location by agency staff or other personnel designated by the agency to perform this function. The agency shall perform a random onsite inspection, within 60 days after receipt of a fully complete new provider’s application, of the provider’s service location prior to making its first payment to the provider for Medicaid services to determine the applicant’s ability to provide the services that the applicant is proposing to provide for Medicaid reimbursement. The agency is not required to perform an onsite inspection of a provider or program that is licensed by the agency, that provides services under waiver programs for home and community-based services, or that is licensed as a medical foster home by the Department of Children and Family Services. As a continuing condition of participation in the Medicaid program, a provider shall immediately notify the agency of any current or pending bankruptcy filing. Before entering into the provider agreement, or as a condition of continuing participation in the Medicaid program, the agency may also require that Medicaid providers reimbursed on a fee-for-services basis or fee schedule basis which is not cost-based, post a surety bond not to exceed $50,000 or the total amount billed by the provider to the program during the current or most recent calendar year, whichever is greater. For new providers, the amount of the surety bond shall be determined by the agency based on the provider’s estimate of its first year’s billing. If the provider’s billing during the first year exceeds the bond amount, the agency may require the provider to acquire an additional bond equal to the actual billing level of the provider. A provider’s bond shall not exceed $50,000 if a physician or group of physicians licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 460 has a 50 percent or greater ownership interest in the provider or if the provider is an assisted living facility licensed under chapter 429. The bonds permitted by this section are in addition to the bonds referenced in s. 400.179(2)(d). If the provider is a corporation, partnership, association, or other entity, the agency may require the provider to submit information concerning the background of that entity and of any principal of the entity, including any partner or shareholder having an ownership interest in the entity equal to 5 percent or greater, and any treating provider who participates in or intends to participate in Medicaid through the entity. The information must include:
(a) Proof of holding a valid license or operating certificate, as applicable, if required by the state or local jurisdiction in which the provider is located or if required by the Federal Government.
(b) Information concerning any prior violation, fine, suspension, termination, or other administrative action taken under the Medicaid laws, rules, or regulations of this state or of any other state or the Federal Government; any prior violation of the laws, rules, or regulations relating to the Medicare program; any prior violation of the rules or regulations of any other public or private insurer; and any prior violation of the laws, rules, or regulations of any regulatory body of this or any other state.
(c) Full and accurate disclosure of any financial or ownership interest that the provider, or any principal, partner, or major shareholder thereof, may hold in any other Medicaid provider or health care related entity or any other entity that is licensed by the state to provide health or residential care and treatment to persons.
(d) If a group provider, identification of all members of the group and attestation that all members of the group are enrolled in or have applied to enroll in the Medicaid program.
2(8)(a) Each provider, or each principal of the provider if the provider is a corporation, partnership, association, or other entity, seeking to participate in the Medicaid program must submit a complete set of his or her fingerprints to the agency for the purpose of conducting a criminal history record check. Principals of the provider include any officer, director, billing agent, managing employee, or affiliated person, or any partner or shareholder who has an ownership interest equal to 5 percent or more in the provider. However, a director of a not-for-profit corporation or organization is not a principal for purposes of a background investigation as required by this section if the director: serves solely in a voluntary capacity for the corporation or organization, does not regularly take part in the day-to-day operational decisions of the corporation or organization, receives no remuneration from the not-for-profit corporation or organization for his or her service on the board of directors, has no financial interest in the not-for-profit corporation or organization, and has no family members with a financial interest in the not-for-profit corporation or organization; and if the director submits an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, to this effect to the agency and the not-for-profit corporation or organization submits an affidavit, under penalty of perjury, to this effect to the agency as part of the corporation’s or organization’s Medicaid provider agreement application. Notwithstanding the above, the agency may require a background check for any person reasonably suspected by the agency to have been convicted of a crime. This subsection does not apply to:
1. A hospital licensed under chapter 395;
2. A nursing home licensed under chapter 400;
3. A hospice licensed under chapter 400;
4. An assisted living facility licensed under chapter 429;
5. A unit of local government, except that requirements of this subsection apply to nongovernmental providers and entities contracting with the local government to provide Medicaid services. The actual cost of the state and national criminal history record checks must be borne by the nongovernmental provider or entity; or
6. Any business that derives more than 50 percent of its revenue from the sale of goods to the final consumer, and the business or its controlling parent is required to file a form 10-K or other similar statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission or has a net worth of $50 million or more.
(b) Background screening shall be conducted in accordance with chapter 435 and s. 408.809. The cost of the state and national criminal record check shall be borne by the provider.
(c) Proof of compliance with the requirements of level 2 screening under chapter 435 conducted within 12 months before the date the Medicaid provider application is submitted to the agency fulfills the requirements of this subsection.
(9) Upon receipt of a completed, signed, and dated application, and completion of any necessary background investigation and criminal history record check, the agency must either:
(a) Enroll the applicant as a Medicaid provider upon approval of the provider application. The enrollment effective date shall be the date the agency receives the provider application. With respect to a provider that requires a Medicare certification survey, the enrollment effective date is the date the certification is awarded. With respect to a provider that completes a change of ownership, the effective date is the date the agency received the application, the date the change of ownership was complete, or the date the applicant became eligible to provide services under Medicaid, whichever date is later. With respect to a provider of emergency medical services transportation or emergency services and care, the effective date is the date the services were rendered. Payment for any claims for services provided to Medicaid recipients between the date of receipt of the application and the date of approval is contingent on applying any and all applicable audits and edits contained in the agency’s claims adjudication and payment processing systems. The agency may enroll a provider located outside the State of Florida if the provider’s location is no more than 50 miles from the Florida state line, or the agency determines a need for that provider type to ensure adequate access to care; or
(b) Deny the application if the agency finds that it is in the best interest of the Medicaid program to do so. The agency may consider the factors listed in subsection (10), as well as any other factor that could affect the effective and efficient administration of the program, including, but not limited to, the applicant’s demonstrated ability to provide services, conduct business, and operate a financially viable concern; the current availability of medical care, services, or supplies to recipients, taking into account geographic location and reasonable travel time; the number of providers of the same type already enrolled in the same geographic area; and the credentials, experience, success, and patient outcomes of the provider for the services that it is making application to provide in the Medicaid program. The agency shall deny the application if the agency finds that a provider; any officer, director, agent, managing employee, or affiliated person; or any partner or shareholder having an ownership interest equal to 5 percent or greater in the provider if the provider is a corporation, partnership, or other business entity, has failed to pay all outstanding fines or overpayments assessed by final order of the agency or final order of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, not subject to further appeal, unless the provider agrees to a repayment plan that includes withholding Medicaid reimbursement until the amount due is paid in full.
(10) The agency may consider whether the provider, or any officer, director, agent, managing employee, or affiliated person, or any partner or shareholder having an ownership interest equal to 5 percent or greater in the provider if the provider is a corporation, partnership, or other business entity, has:
(a) Made a false representation or omission of any material fact in making the application, including the submission of an application that conceals the controlling or ownership interest of any officer, director, agent, managing employee, affiliated person, or partner or shareholder who may not be eligible to participate;
(b) Been or is currently excluded, suspended, terminated from, or has involuntarily withdrawn from participation in, Florida’s Medicaid program or any other state’s Medicaid program, or from participation in any other governmental or private health care or health insurance program;
(c) Been convicted of a criminal offense relating to the delivery of any goods or services under Medicaid or Medicare or any other public or private health care or health insurance program including the performance of management or administrative services relating to the delivery of goods or services under any such program;
(d) Been convicted under federal or state law of a criminal offense related to the neglect or abuse of a patient in connection with the delivery of any health care goods or services;
(e) Been convicted under federal or state law of a criminal offense relating to the unlawful manufacture, distribution, prescription, or dispensing of a controlled substance;
(f) Been convicted of any criminal offense relating to fraud, theft, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary responsibility, or other financial misconduct;
(g) Been convicted under federal or state law of a crime punishable by imprisonment of a year or more which involves moral turpitude;
(h) Been convicted in connection with the interference or obstruction of any investigation into any criminal offense listed in this subsection;
(i) Been found to have violated federal or state laws, rules, or regulations governing Florida’s Medicaid program or any other state’s Medicaid program, the Medicare program, or any other publicly funded federal or state health care or health insurance program, and been sanctioned accordingly;
(j) Been previously found by a licensing, certifying, or professional standards board or agency to have violated the standards or conditions relating to licensure or certification or the quality of services provided; or
(k) Failed to pay any fine or overpayment properly assessed under the Medicaid program in which no appeal is pending or after resolution of the proceeding by stipulation or agreement, unless the agency has issued a specific letter of forgiveness or has approved a repayment schedule to which the provider agrees to adhere.
(11) Before signing a provider agreement and at the discretion of the agency, other provisions of this section notwithstanding, an entity may become eligible to receive payment from the Medicaid program at the time it first furnishes services or goods, if:
(a) The services or goods provided are otherwise compensable;
(b) The entity meets all other requirements of a Medicaid provider at the time the services or goods were provided; and
(c) The entity agrees to abide by the provisions of the provider agreement effective from the date the services or goods were provided.
(12) Licensed, certified, or otherwise qualified providers are not entitled to enrollment in a Medicaid provider network.
History.s. 36, ch. 91-282; s. 3, ch. 94-251; s. 2, ch. 96-387; s. 5, ch. 96-417; s. 1, ch. 97-290; s. 16, ch. 2000-163; s. 53, ch. 2000-256; s. 6, ch. 2001-377; s. 21, ch. 2002-400; s. 20, ch. 2004-267; s. 11, ch. 2004-270; s. 53, ch. 2004-350; s. 66, ch. 2005-2; s. 8, ch. 2005-60; s. 16, ch. 2005-133; s. 12, ch. 2006-28; s. 82, ch. 2006-197; s. 137, ch. 2007-230; s. 12, ch. 2008-246; s. 12, ch. 2009-223; s. 25, ch. 2010-114; s. 6, ch. 2010-156.
1Note.As amended by s. 5, ch. 96-417. The amendment by s. 2, ch. 96-387, uses the words “agency error” instead of the words “error of the department.”
2Note.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.”
409.9071 Medicaid provider agreements for school districts certifying state match.
(1) The agency shall reimburse school-based services as provided in former s. 236.0812 pursuant to the rehabilitative services option provided under 42 U.S.C. s. 1396d(a)(13). For purposes of this section, billing agent consulting services shall be considered billing agent services, as that term is used in s. 409.913(10), and, as such, payments to such persons shall not be based on amounts for which they bill nor based on the amount a provider receives from the Medicaid program. This provision shall not restrict privatization of Medicaid school-based services. Subject to any limitations provided for in the General Appropriations Act, the agency, in compliance with appropriate federal authorization, shall develop policies and procedures and shall allow for certification of state and local education funds which have been provided for school-based services as specified in s. 1011.70 and authorized by a physician’s order where required by federal Medicaid law. Any state or local funds certified pursuant to this section shall be for children with specified disabilities who are eligible for both Medicaid and part B or part H of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), or the exceptional student education program, or who have an individualized educational plan.
(2) School districts that wish to enroll as Medicaid providers and that certify state match in order to receive federal Medicaid reimbursements for services, pursuant to subsection (1), shall agree to:
(a) Verify Medicaid eligibility. The agency and the Department of Education shall work cooperatively to facilitate local school districts’ verification of Medicaid eligibility.
(b) Develop and maintain the financial and individual education plan records needed to document the appropriate use of state and federal Medicaid funds.
(c) Comply with all state and federal Medicaid laws, rules, regulations, and policies, including, but not limited to, those related to the confidentiality of records and freedom of choice of providers.
(d) Be responsible for reimbursing the cost of any state or federal disallowance that results from failure to comply with state or federal Medicaid laws, rules, or regulations.
(3) State and local education dollars certified as state Medicaid match may be capped based on the maximum amount of federal participation budgeted for this purpose. Unless otherwise specifically provided for in the General Appropriations Act, certification of such funds shall be reduced proportionately to other voluntary Medicaid programs if a cap is established by the federal Medicaid agency that reduces federal Medicaid funding.
(4) Within 90 days after a school district applies to enroll as a Medicaid provider under the certified match program, the agency may conduct a review to ensure that the school district has the capability to comply with the requirements in subsection (2). A finding by the agency that a school district has the capability to comply with the requirements in subsection (2) shall not relieve a school district of its responsibility for correcting any deficiencies or for reimbursing the cost of the state or federal disallowances identified pursuant to any subsequent state or federal audits.
(5) The agency shall develop a reimbursement schedule specific to school-based services which is based on the federal rehabilitative services option.
(6) Retroactive reimbursements for services as specified in former s. 236.0812 as of July 1, 1996, including reimbursement for the 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 school years, are subject to federal approval.
(7) The agency’s and school districts’ confidentiality is waived. They shall provide any information or documents relating to this section to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Department of Legal Affairs, upon request pursuant to its authority under s. 409.920.
History.s. 2, ch. 95-336; s. 5, ch. 96-199; s. 3, ch. 96-294; s. 2, ch. 97-168; ss. 13, 18, ch. 97-263; s. 5, ch. 2000-163; ss. 994, 995, ch. 2002-387; s. 20, ch. 2004-344; s. 67, ch. 2005-2.
409.908 Reimbursement of Medicaid providers.Subject to specific appropriations, the agency shall reimburse Medicaid providers, in accordance with state and federal law, according to methodologies set forth in the rules of the agency and in policy manuals and handbooks incorporated by reference therein. These methodologies may include fee schedules, reimbursement methods based on cost reporting, negotiated fees, competitive bidding pursuant to s. 287.057, and other mechanisms the agency considers efficient and effective for purchasing services or goods on behalf of recipients. If a provider is reimbursed based on cost reporting and submits a cost report late and that cost report would have been used to set a lower reimbursement rate for a rate semester, then the provider’s rate for that semester shall be retroactively calculated using the new cost report, and full payment at the recalculated rate shall be effected retroactively. Medicare-granted extensions for filing cost reports, if applicable, shall also apply to Medicaid cost reports. Payment for Medicaid compensable services made on behalf of Medicaid eligible persons is subject to the availability of moneys and any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act or chapter 216. Further, nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent or limit the agency from adjusting fees, reimbursement rates, lengths of stay, number of visits, or number of services, or making any other adjustments necessary to comply with the availability of moneys and any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act, provided the adjustment is consistent with legislative intent.
(1) Reimbursement to hospitals licensed under part I of chapter 395 must be made prospectively or on the basis of negotiation.
(a) Reimbursement for inpatient care is limited as provided for in s. 409.905(5), except for:
1. The raising of rate reimbursement caps, excluding rural hospitals.
2. Recognition of the costs of graduate medical education.
3. Other methodologies recognized in the General Appropriations Act.

During the years funds are transferred from the Department of Health, any reimbursement supported by such funds shall be subject to certification by the Department of Health that the hospital has complied with s. 381.0403. The agency is authorized to receive funds from state entities, including, but not limited to, the Department of Health, local governments, and other local political subdivisions, for the purpose of making special exception payments, including federal matching funds, through the Medicaid inpatient reimbursement methodologies. Funds received from state entities or local governments for this purpose shall be separately accounted for and shall not be commingled with other state or local funds in any manner. The agency may certify all local governmental funds used as state match under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, to the extent that the identified local health care provider that is otherwise entitled to and is contracted to receive such local funds is the benefactor under the state’s Medicaid program as determined under the General Appropriations Act and pursuant to an agreement between the Agency for Health Care Administration and the local governmental entity. The local governmental entity shall use a certification form prescribed by the agency. At a minimum, the certification form shall identify the amount being certified and describe the relationship between the certifying local governmental entity and the local health care provider. The agency shall prepare an annual statement of impact which documents the specific activities undertaken during the previous fiscal year pursuant to this paragraph, to be submitted to the Legislature no later than January 1, annually.

(b) Reimbursement for hospital outpatient care is limited to $1,500 per state fiscal year per recipient, except for:
1. Such care provided to a Medicaid recipient under age 21, in which case the only limitation is medical necessity.
2. Renal dialysis services.
3. Other exceptions made by the agency.

The agency is authorized to receive funds from state entities, including, but not limited to, the Department of Health, the Board of Governors of the State University System, local governments, and other local political subdivisions, for the purpose of making payments, including federal matching funds, through the Medicaid outpatient reimbursement methodologies. Funds received from state entities and local governments for this purpose shall be separately accounted for and shall not be commingled with other state or local funds in any manner.

(c) Hospitals that provide services to a disproportionate share of low-income Medicaid recipients, or that participate in the regional perinatal intensive care center program under chapter 383, or that participate in the statutory teaching hospital disproportionate share program may receive additional reimbursement. The total amount of payment for disproportionate share hospitals shall be fixed by the General Appropriations Act. The computation of these payments must be made in compliance with all federal regulations and the methodologies described in ss. 409.911, 409.9112, and 409.9113.
(d) The agency is authorized to limit inflationary increases for outpatient hospital services as directed by the General Appropriations Act.
(2)(a)1. Reimbursement to nursing homes licensed under part II of chapter 400 and state-owned-and-operated intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled licensed under part VIII of chapter 400 must be made prospectively.
2. Unless otherwise limited or directed in the General Appropriations Act, reimbursement to hospitals licensed under part I of chapter 395 for the provision of swing-bed nursing home services must be made on the basis of the average statewide nursing home payment, and reimbursement to a hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395 for the provision of skilled nursing services must be made on the basis of the average nursing home payment for those services in the county in which the hospital is located. When a hospital is located in a county that does not have any community nursing homes, reimbursement shall be determined by averaging the nursing home payments in counties that surround the county in which the hospital is located. Reimbursement to hospitals, including Medicaid payment of Medicare copayments, for skilled nursing services shall be limited to 30 days, unless a prior authorization has been obtained from the agency. Medicaid reimbursement may be extended by the agency beyond 30 days, and approval must be based upon verification by the patient’s physician that the patient requires short-term rehabilitative and recuperative services only, in which case an extension of no more than 15 days may be approved. Reimbursement to a hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395 for the temporary provision of skilled nursing services to nursing home residents who have been displaced as the result of a natural disaster or other emergency may not exceed the average county nursing home payment for those services in the county in which the hospital is located and is limited to the period of time which the agency considers necessary for continued placement of the nursing home residents in the hospital.
(b) Subject to any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act, the agency shall establish and implement a Florida Title XIX Long-Term Care Reimbursement Plan (Medicaid) for nursing home care in order to provide care and services in conformance with the applicable state and federal laws, rules, regulations, and quality and safety standards and to ensure that individuals eligible for medical assistance have reasonable geographic access to such care.
1. The agency shall amend the long-term care reimbursement plan and cost reporting system to create direct care and indirect care subcomponents of the patient care component of the per diem rate. These two subcomponents together shall equal the patient care component of the per diem rate. Separate cost-based ceilings shall be calculated for each patient care subcomponent. The direct care subcomponent of the per diem rate shall be limited by the cost-based class ceiling, and the indirect care subcomponent may be limited by the lower of the cost-based class ceiling, the target rate class ceiling, or the individual provider target.
2. The direct care subcomponent shall include salaries and benefits of direct care staff providing nursing services including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants who deliver care directly to residents in the nursing home facility. This excludes nursing administration, minimum data set, and care plan coordinators, staff development, and staffing coordinator.
3. All other patient care costs shall be included in the indirect care cost subcomponent of the patient care per diem rate. There shall be no costs directly or indirectly allocated to the direct care subcomponent from a home office or management company.
4. On July 1 of each year, the agency shall report to the Legislature direct and indirect care costs, including average direct and indirect care costs per resident per facility and direct care and indirect care salaries and benefits per category of staff member per facility.
5. In order to offset the cost of general and professional liability insurance, the agency shall amend the plan to allow for interim rate adjustments to reflect increases in the cost of general or professional liability insurance for nursing homes. This provision shall be implemented to the extent existing appropriations are available.

It is the intent of the Legislature that the reimbursement plan achieve the goal of providing access to health care for nursing home residents who require large amounts of care while encouraging diversion services as an alternative to nursing home care for residents who can be served within the community. The agency shall base the establishment of any maximum rate of payment, whether overall or component, on the available moneys as provided for in the General Appropriations Act. The agency may base the maximum rate of payment on the results of scientifically valid analysis and conclusions derived from objective statistical data pertinent to the particular maximum rate of payment.

(3) Subject to any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act, the following Medicaid services and goods may be reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis. For each allowable service or goods furnished in accordance with Medicaid rules, policy manuals, handbooks, and state and federal law, the payment shall be the amount billed by the provider, the provider’s usual and customary charge, or the maximum allowable fee established by the agency, whichever amount is less, with the exception of those services or goods for which the agency makes payment using a methodology based on capitation rates, average costs, or negotiated fees.
(a) Advanced registered nurse practitioner services.
(b) Birth center services.
(c) Chiropractic services.
(d) Community mental health services.
(e) Dental services, including oral and maxillofacial surgery.
(f) Durable medical equipment.
(g) Hearing services.
(h) Occupational therapy for Medicaid recipients under age 21.
(i) Optometric services.
(j) Orthodontic services.
(k) Personal care for Medicaid recipients under age 21.
(l) Physical therapy for Medicaid recipients under age 21.
(m) Physician assistant services.
(n) Podiatric services.
(o) Portable X-ray services.
(p) Private-duty nursing for Medicaid recipients under age 21.
(q) Registered nurse first assistant services.
(r) Respiratory therapy for Medicaid recipients under age 21.
(s) Speech therapy for Medicaid recipients under age 21.
(t) Visual services.
(4) Subject to any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act, alternative health plans, health maintenance organizations, and prepaid health plans shall be reimbursed a fixed, prepaid amount negotiated, or competitively bid pursuant to s. 287.057, by the agency and prospectively paid to the provider monthly for each Medicaid recipient enrolled. The amount may not exceed the average amount the agency determines it would have paid, based on claims experience, for recipients in the same or similar category of eligibility. The agency shall calculate capitation rates on a regional basis and, beginning September 1, 1995, shall include age-band differentials in such calculations.
(5) An ambulatory surgical center shall be reimbursed the lesser of the amount billed by the provider or the Medicare-established allowable amount for the facility.
(6) A provider of early and periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment services to Medicaid recipients who are children under age 21 shall be reimbursed using an all-inclusive rate stipulated in a fee schedule established by the agency. A provider of the visual, dental, and hearing components of such services shall be reimbursed the lesser of the amount billed by the provider or the Medicaid maximum allowable fee established by the agency.
(7) A provider of family planning services shall be reimbursed the lesser of the amount billed by the provider or an all-inclusive amount per type of visit for physicians and advanced registered nurse practitioners, as established by the agency in a fee schedule.
(8) A provider of home-based or community-based services rendered pursuant to a federally approved waiver shall be reimbursed based on an established or negotiated rate for each service. These rates shall be established according to an analysis of the expenditure history and prospective budget developed by each contract provider participating in the waiver program, or under any other methodology adopted by the agency and approved by the Federal Government in accordance with the waiver. Privately owned and operated community-based residential facilities which meet agency requirements and which formerly received Medicaid reimbursement for the optional intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded service may participate in the developmental services waiver as part of a home-and-community-based continuum of care for Medicaid recipients who receive waiver services.
(9) A provider of home health care services or of medical supplies and appliances shall be reimbursed on the basis of competitive bidding or for the lesser of the amount billed by the provider or the agency’s established maximum allowable amount, except that, in the case of the rental of durable medical equipment, the total rental payments may not exceed the purchase price of the equipment over its expected useful life or the agency’s established maximum allowable amount, whichever amount is less.
(10) A hospice shall be reimbursed through a prospective system for each Medicaid hospice patient at Medicaid rates using the methodology established for hospice reimbursement pursuant to Title XVIII of the federal Social Security Act.
(11) A provider of independent laboratory services shall be reimbursed on the basis of competitive bidding or for the least of the amount billed by the provider, the provider’s usual and customary charge, or the Medicaid maximum allowable fee established by the agency.
(12)(a) A physician shall be reimbursed the lesser of the amount billed by the provider or the Medicaid maximum allowable fee established by the agency.
(b) The agency shall adopt a fee schedule, subject to any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act, based on a resource-based relative value scale for pricing Medicaid physician services. Under this fee schedule, physicians shall be paid a dollar amount for each service based on the average resources required to provide the service, including, but not limited to, estimates of average physician time and effort, practice expense, and the costs of professional liability insurance. The fee schedule shall provide increased reimbursement for preventive and primary care services and lowered reimbursement for specialty services by using at least two conversion factors, one for cognitive services and another for procedural services. The fee schedule shall not increase total Medicaid physician expenditures unless moneys are available. The Agency for Health Care Administration shall seek the advice of a 16-member advisory panel in formulating and adopting the fee schedule. The panel shall consist of Medicaid physicians licensed under chapters 458 and 459 and shall be composed of 50 percent primary care physicians and 50 percent specialty care physicians.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), reimbursement fees to physicians for providing total obstetrical services to Medicaid recipients, which include prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care, shall be at least $1,500 per delivery for a pregnant woman with low medical risk and at least $2,000 per delivery for a pregnant woman with high medical risk. However, reimbursement to physicians working in Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Centers designated pursuant to chapter 383, for services to certain pregnant Medicaid recipients with a high medical risk, may be made according to obstetrical care and neonatal care groupings and rates established by the agency. Nurse midwives licensed under part I of chapter 464 or midwives licensed under chapter 467 shall be reimbursed at no less than 80 percent of the low medical risk fee. The agency shall by rule determine, for the purpose of this paragraph, what constitutes a high or low medical risk pregnant woman and shall not pay more based solely on the fact that a caesarean section was performed, rather than a vaginal delivery. The agency shall by rule determine a prorated payment for obstetrical services in cases where only part of the total prenatal, delivery, or postpartum care was performed. The Department of Health shall adopt rules for appropriate insurance coverage for midwives licensed under chapter 467. Prior to the issuance and renewal of an active license, or reactivation of an inactive license for midwives licensed under chapter 467, such licensees shall submit proof of coverage with each application.
(13) Medicare premiums for persons eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid coverage shall be paid at the rates established by Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. For Medicare services rendered to Medicaid-eligible persons, Medicaid shall pay Medicare deductibles and coinsurance as follows:
(a) Medicaid’s financial obligation for deductibles and coinsurance payments shall be based on Medicare allowable fees, not on a provider’s billed charges.
(b) Medicaid will pay no portion of Medicare deductibles and coinsurance when payment that Medicare has made for the service equals or exceeds what Medicaid would have paid if it had been the sole payor. The combined payment of Medicare and Medicaid shall not exceed the amount Medicaid would have paid had it been the sole payor. The Legislature finds that there has been confusion regarding the reimbursement for services rendered to dually eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Accordingly, the Legislature clarifies that it has always been the intent of the Legislature before and after 1991 that, in reimbursing in accordance with fees established by Title XVIII for premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance for Medicare services rendered by physicians to Medicaid eligible persons, physicians be reimbursed at the lesser of the amount billed by the physician or the Medicaid maximum allowable fee established by the Agency for Health Care Administration, as is permitted by federal law. It has never been the intent of the Legislature with regard to such services rendered by physicians that Medicaid be required to provide any payment for deductibles, coinsurance, or copayments for Medicare cost sharing, or any expenses incurred relating thereto, in excess of the payment amount provided for under the State Medicaid plan for such service. This payment methodology is applicable even in those situations in which the payment for Medicare cost sharing for a qualified Medicare beneficiary with respect to an item or service is reduced or eliminated. This expression of the Legislature is in clarification of existing law and shall apply to payment for, and with respect to provider agreements with respect to, items or services furnished on or after the effective date of this act. This paragraph applies to payment by Medicaid for items and services furnished before the effective date of this act if such payment is the subject of a lawsuit that is based on the provisions of this section, and that is pending as of, or is initiated after, the effective date of this act.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b):
1. Medicaid payments for Nursing Home Medicare part A coinsurance are limited to the Medicaid nursing home per diem rate less any amounts paid by Medicare, but only up to the amount of Medicare coinsurance. The Medicaid per diem rate shall be the rate in effect for the dates of service of the crossover claims and may not be subsequently adjusted due to subsequent per diem rate adjustments.
2. Medicaid shall pay all deductibles and coinsurance for Medicare-eligible recipients receiving freestanding end stage renal dialysis center services.
3. Medicaid payments for general and specialty hospital inpatient services are limited to the Medicare deductible and coinsurance per spell of illness. Medicaid payments for hospital Medicare Part A coinsurance shall be limited to the Medicaid hospital per diem rate less any amounts paid by Medicare, but only up to the amount of Medicare coinsurance. Medicaid payments for coinsurance shall be limited to the Medicaid per diem rate in effect for the dates of service of the crossover claims and may not be subsequently adjusted due to subsequent per diem adjustments.
4. Medicaid shall pay all deductibles and coinsurance for Medicare emergency transportation services provided by ambulances licensed pursuant to chapter 401.
5. Medicaid shall pay all deductibles and coinsurance for portable X-ray Medicare Part B services provided in a nursing home.
(14) A provider of prescribed drugs shall be reimbursed the least of the amount billed by the provider, the provider’s usual and customary charge, or the Medicaid maximum allowable fee established by the agency, plus a dispensing fee. The Medicaid maximum allowable fee for ingredient cost will be based on the lower of: average wholesale price (AWP) minus 16.4 percent, wholesaler acquisition cost (WAC) plus 4.75 percent, the federal upper limit (FUL), the state maximum allowable cost (SMAC), or the usual and customary (UAC) charge billed by the provider. Medicaid providers are required to dispense generic drugs if available at lower cost and the agency has not determined that the branded product is more cost-effective, unless the prescriber has requested and received approval to require the branded product. The agency is directed to implement a variable dispensing fee for payments for prescribed medicines while ensuring continued access for Medicaid recipients. The variable dispensing fee may be based upon, but not limited to, either or both the volume of prescriptions dispensed by a specific pharmacy provider, the volume of prescriptions dispensed to an individual recipient, and dispensing of preferred-drug-list products. The agency may increase the pharmacy dispensing fee authorized by statute and in the annual General Appropriations Act by $0.50 for the dispensing of a Medicaid preferred-drug-list product and reduce the pharmacy dispensing fee by $0.50 for the dispensing of a Medicaid product that is not included on the preferred drug list. The agency may establish a supplemental pharmaceutical dispensing fee to be paid to providers returning unused unit-dose packaged medications to stock and crediting the Medicaid program for the ingredient cost of those medications if the ingredient costs to be credited exceed the value of the supplemental dispensing fee. The agency is authorized to limit reimbursement for prescribed medicine in order to comply with any limitations or directions provided for in the General Appropriations Act, which may include implementing a prospective or concurrent utilization review program.
(15) A provider of primary care case management services rendered pursuant to a federally approved waiver shall be reimbursed by payment of a fixed, prepaid monthly sum for each Medicaid recipient enrolled with the provider.
(16) A provider of rural health clinic services and federally qualified health center services shall be reimbursed a rate per visit based on total reasonable costs of the clinic, as determined by the agency in accordance with federal regulations.
(17) A provider of targeted case management services shall be reimbursed pursuant to an established fee, except where the Federal Government requires a public provider be reimbursed on the basis of average actual costs.
(18) Unless otherwise provided for in the General Appropriations Act, a provider of transportation services shall be reimbursed the lesser of the amount billed by the provider or the Medicaid maximum allowable fee established by the agency, except when the agency has entered into a direct contract with the provider, or with a community transportation coordinator, for the provision of an all-inclusive service, or when services are provided pursuant to an agreement negotiated between the agency and the provider. The agency, as provided for in s. 427.0135, shall purchase transportation services through the community coordinated transportation system, if available, unless the agency, after consultation with the commission, determines that it cannot reach mutually acceptable contract terms with the commission. The agency may then contract for the same transportation services provided in a more cost-effective manner and of comparable or higher quality and standards. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit or preclude the agency from contracting for services using a prepaid capitation rate or from establishing maximum fee schedules, individualized reimbursement policies by provider type, negotiated fees, prior authorization, competitive bidding, increased use of mass transit, or any other mechanism that the agency considers efficient and effective for the purchase of services on behalf of Medicaid clients, including implementing a transportation eligibility process. The agency shall not be required to contract with any community transportation coordinator or transportation operator that has been determined by the agency, the Department of Legal Affairs Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, or any other state or federal agency to have engaged in any abusive or fraudulent billing activities. The agency is authorized to competitively procure transportation services or make other changes necessary to secure approval of federal waivers needed to permit federal financing of Medicaid transportation services at the service matching rate rather than the administrative matching rate. Notwithstanding chapter 427, the agency is authorized to continue contracting for Medicaid nonemergency transportation services in agency service area 11 with managed care plans that were under contract for those services before July 1, 2004.
(19) County health department services shall be reimbursed a rate per visit based on total reasonable costs of the clinic, as determined by the agency in accordance with federal regulations under the authority of 42 C.F.R. s. 431.615.
(20) A renal dialysis facility that provides dialysis services under s. 409.906(9) must be reimbursed the lesser of the amount billed by the provider, the provider’s usual and customary charge, or the maximum allowable fee established by the agency, whichever amount is less.
(21) The agency shall reimburse school districts which certify the state match pursuant to ss. 409.9071 and 1011.70 for the federal portion of the school district’s allowable costs to deliver the services, based on the reimbursement schedule. The school district shall determine the costs for delivering services as authorized in ss. 409.9071 and 1011.70 for which the state match will be certified. Reimbursement of school-based providers is contingent on such providers being enrolled as Medicaid providers and meeting the qualifications contained in 42 C.F.R. s. 440.110, unless otherwise waived by the federal Health Care Financing Administration. Speech therapy providers who are certified through the Department of Education pursuant to rule 6A-4.0176, Florida Administrative Code, are eligible for reimbursement for services that are provided on school premises. Any employee of the school district who has been fingerprinted and has received a criminal background check in accordance with Department of Education rules and guidelines shall be exempt from any agency requirements relating to criminal background checks.
(22) The agency shall request and implement Medicaid waivers from the federal Health Care Financing Administration to advance and treat a portion of the Medicaid nursing home per diem as capital for creating and operating a risk-retention group for self-insurance purposes, consistent with federal and state laws and rules.
(23)(a) The agency shall establish rates at a level that ensures no increase in statewide expenditures resulting from a change in unit costs for 2 fiscal years effective July 1, 2009. Reimbursement rates for the 2 fiscal years shall be as provided in the General Appropriations Act.
(b) This subsection applies to the following provider types:
1. Inpatient hospitals.
2. Outpatient hospitals.
3. Nursing homes.
4. County health departments.
5. Community intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled.
6. Prepaid health plans.

The agency shall apply the effect of this subsection to the reimbursement rates for nursing home diversion programs.

(c) The agency shall create a workgroup on hospital reimbursement, a workgroup on nursing facility reimbursement, and a workgroup on managed care plan payment. The workgroups shall evaluate alternative reimbursement and payment methodologies for hospitals, nursing facilities, and managed care plans, including prospective payment methodologies for hospitals and nursing facilities. The nursing facility workgroup shall also consider price-based methodologies for indirect care and acuity adjustments for direct care. The agency shall submit a report on the evaluated alternative reimbursement methodologies to the relevant committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives by November 1, 2009.
(d) This subsection expires June 30, 2011.
(24) If a provider fails to notify the agency within 5 business days after suspension or disenrollment from Medicare, sanctions may be imposed pursuant to this chapter, and the provider may be required to return funds paid to the provider during the period of time that the provider was suspended or disenrolled as a Medicare provider.
History.s. 37, ch. 91-282; s. 17, ch. 92-179; s. 1, ch. 92-311; s. 47, ch. 93-129; s. 28, ch. 93-211; s. 2, ch. 94-299; s. 4, ch. 94-317; s. 2, ch. 95-291; s. 3, ch. 95-336; s. 5, ch. 95-393; s. 6, ch. 96-417; s. 3, ch. 97-168; s. 65, ch. 97-237; s. 1, ch. 97-243; s. 11, ch. 97-260; ss. 14, 19, ch. 97-263; s. 4, ch. 97-309; ss. 13, 38, ch. 98-46; s. 236, ch. 98-166; s. 28, ch. 98-191; ss. 17, 30, ch. 2000-163; s. 19, ch. 2000-209; s. 54, ch. 2000-256; s. 110, ch. 2000-318; s. 49, ch. 2001-45; s. 51, ch. 2001-62; s. 5, ch. 2001-104; s. 4, ch. 2001-222; s. 7, ch. 2001-377; s. 16, ch. 2002-223; s. 996, ch. 2002-387; s. 22, ch. 2002-400; s. 11, ch. 2003-405; s. 53, ch. 2004-5; s. 12, ch. 2004-270; s. 21, ch. 2004-344; s. 68, ch. 2005-2; s. 9, ch. 2005-60; s. 17, ch. 2005-133; s. 13, ch. 2006-28; s. 53, ch. 2006-227; s. 96, ch. 2007-5; s. 50, ch. 2007-217; s. 3, ch. 2007-331; s. 5, ch. 2008-143; s. 1, ch. 2008-203; s. 93, ch. 2010-5; s. 7, ch. 2010-156.
409.9081 Copayments.
(1) The agency shall require, subject to federal regulations and limitations, each Medicaid recipient to pay at the time of service a nominal copayment for the following Medicaid services:
(a) Hospital outpatient services: up to $3 for each hospital outpatient visit.
(b) Physician services: up to $2 copayment for each visit with a physician licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, chapter 460, chapter 461, or chapter 463.
(c) Hospital emergency department visits for nonemergency care: 5 percent of up to the first $300 of the Medicaid payment for emergency room services, not to exceed $15.
(d) Prescription drugs: a coinsurance equal to 2.5 percent of the Medicaid cost of the prescription drug at the time of purchase. The maximum coinsurance shall be $7.50 per prescription drug purchased.
(2) The agency shall, subject to federal regulations and any directions or limitations provided for in the General Appropriations Act, require copayments for the following additional services: hospital inpatient, laboratory and X-ray services, transportation services, home health care services, community mental health services, rural health services, federally qualified health clinic services, and nurse practitioner services. The agency may only establish copayments for prescribed drugs or for any other federally authorized service if such copayment is specifically provided for in the General Appropriations Act or other law.
(3) In accordance with federal regulations, the agency shall not require copayments of the following Medicaid recipients:
(a) Children under age 21.
(b) Pregnant women when the services relate to the pregnancy or to any other medical condition which may complicate the pregnancy up to 6 weeks after delivery.
(c) Any individual who is an inpatient in a hospital, long-term care facility, or other medical institution if, as a condition of receiving services in the institution, that individual is required to spend all but a minimal amount of her or his income required for personal needs for medical care costs.
(d) Any individual who requires emergency services after the sudden onset of a medical condition which, left untreated, would place the individual’s health in serious jeopardy.
(e) Any individual when the services or supplies relate to family planning.
(f) Any individual who is enrolled in a Medicaid prepaid health plan or health maintenance organization.
(4) No provider shall impose more than one copayment for any encounter upon a Medicaid recipient.
(5) The agency shall develop a mechanism by which participating providers are able to identify those Medicaid recipients from whom they shall not collect copayments.
1(6) This section does not require a provider to bill or collect a copayment required or authorized under this section from the Medicaid recipient. If the provider chooses not to bill or collect a copayment from a Medicaid recipient, the agency must still deduct the amount of the copayment from the Medicaid reimbursement made to the provider.
History.s. 48, ch. 93-129; s. 6, ch. 95-393; s. 5, ch. 96-280; s. 5, ch. 96-387; s. 1022, ch. 97-103; s. 12, ch. 2003-405; s. 14, ch. 2006-28.
1Note.As created by s. 5, ch. 96-280. This version is published as the last expression of legislative will. Subsection (6) was also created by s. 5, ch. 96-387, and that version reads:

(6) This section does not require a provider to bill or collect from the Medicaid recipient any copayment authorized by subsection (1). Regardless of whether the provider bills or collects the copayment, the agency shall deduct the amount of the copayment from the Medicaid reimbursement to the provider.

409.9082 Quality assessment on nursing home facility providers; exemptions; purpose; federal approval required; remedies.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Net patient service revenue” means gross revenues from services provided to nursing home facility patients, less reductions from gross revenue resulting from an inability to collect payment of charges. Such reductions include bad debts; contractual adjustments; uncompensated care; administrative, courtesy, and policy discounts and adjustments; and other such revenue deductions.
(b) “Nursing home facility” means a facility licensed under part II of chapter 400.
(c) “Resident day” means a calendar day of care provided to a nursing home facility resident, including the day of admission and excluding the day of discharge, except that, when admission and discharge occur on the same day, 1 day of care is deemed to exist.
(d) “Medicare Part A resident days” means those patient days funded by the Medicare program or by a Medicare Advantage or special needs plan.
(e) “Skilled nursing facility units of acute care hospitals” means the Medicare-certified skilled nursing beds located in hospitals licensed under chapter 395.
(2) Effective April 1, 2009, there is imposed upon each nursing home facility a quality assessment. The aggregated amount of assessments for all nursing home facilities in a given year shall be an amount not exceeding 5.5 percent of the total aggregate net patient service revenue of assessed facilities. The agency shall calculate the quality assessment rate annually on a per-resident-day basis, exclusive of those resident days funded by the Medicare program, as reported by the facilities. The per-resident-day assessment rate shall be uniform except as prescribed in subsection (3). Each facility shall report monthly to the agency its total number of resident days, exclusive of Medicare Part A resident days, and shall remit an amount equal to the assessment rate times the reported number of days. The agency shall collect, and each facility shall pay, the quality assessment each month. The agency shall collect the assessment from nursing home facility providers by no later than the 15th of the next succeeding calendar month. The agency shall notify providers of the quality assessment and provide a standardized form to complete and submit with payments. The collection of the nursing home facility quality assessment shall commence no sooner than 5 days after the agency’s initial payment of the Medicaid rates containing the elements prescribed in subsection (4). Nursing home facilities may not create a separate line-item charge for the purpose of passing through the assessment to residents.
(3)(a) The following nursing home facility providers are exempt from the quality assessment:
1. Nursing home facilities that are licensed under part II of chapter 400 and located on the campus of continuing care retirement communities operating pursuant to a certificate of authority under chapter 651;
2. Nursing home facilities that have 45 or fewer beds; and
3. The skilled nursing facility units of acute care hospitals licensed by the agency under chapter 395.
(b) The agency may apply a lower quality assessment rate to high-volume Medicaid nursing facilities. The agency shall apply the lower rate to the fewest number of such facilities necessary to meet federal Medicaid waiver requirements.
(c) The agency may apply a lower quality assessment rate to high-patient-volume nursing facilities. The agency shall apply the lower rate to the fewest number of such facilities necessary to meet federal Medicaid waiver requirements.
(d) Effective July 1, 2009, the agency may exempt from the quality assessment or apply a lower quality assessment rate to a qualified public, nonstate-owned or operated nursing home facility whose total annual indigent census days are greater than 25 percent of the facility’s total annual census days.
(4) The purpose of the nursing home facility quality assessment is to ensure continued quality of care. Collected assessment funds shall be used to obtain federal financial participation through the Medicaid program to make Medicaid payments for nursing home facility services up to the amount of nursing home facility Medicaid rates as calculated in accordance with the approved state Medicaid plan in effect on December 31, 2007. The quality assessment and federal matching funds shall be used exclusively for the following purposes and in the following order of priority:
(a) To reimburse the Medicaid share of the quality assessment as a pass-through, Medicaid-allowable cost;
(b) To increase to each nursing home facility’s Medicaid rate, as needed, an amount that restores rate reductions effective on or after January 1, 2008, as provided in the General Appropriations Act; and
(c) To increase each nursing home facility’s Medicaid rate that accounts for the portion of the total assessment not included in paragraphs (a) and (b) which begins a phase-in to a pricing model for the operating cost component.
(5) The agency shall seek necessary federal approval in the form of waivers and state plan amendments in order to implement the provisions of this section.
(6) The quality assessment shall terminate and the agency shall discontinue the imposition, assessment, and collection of the nursing facility quality assessment if the agency does not obtain necessary federal approval for the nursing home facility quality assessment or the payment rates required by subsection (4). Upon termination, all collected assessment revenues, less any amounts expended by the agency, shall be returned on a pro rata basis to the nursing facilities that paid them.
(7) The agency may seek any of the following remedies for failure of any nursing home facility provider to pay its assessment timely:
(a) Withholding any medical assistance reimbursement payments until such time as the assessment amount is recovered;
(b) Suspension or revocation of the nursing home facility license; and
(c) Imposition of a fine of up to $1,000 per day for each delinquent payment, not to exceed the amount of the assessment.
(8) The agency shall adopt rules necessary to administer this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 2009-4; s. 7, ch. 2009-55; s. 8, ch. 2010-156.
409.9083 Quality assessment on privately operated intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled; exemptions; purpose; federal approval required; remedies.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled” or “ICF/DD” means a privately operated intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled licensed under part VIII of chapter 400.
(b) “Net patient service revenue” means gross revenues from services provided to ICF/DD facility residents, less reductions from gross revenue resulting from an inability to collect payment of charges. Net patient service revenue excludes nonresident care revenues such as gain or loss on asset disposal, prior year revenue, donations, and physician billings, and all outpatient revenues. Reductions from gross revenue include bad debts; contractual adjustments; uncompensated care; administrative, courtesy, and policy discounts and adjustments; and other such revenue deductions.
(c) “Resident day” means a calendar day of care provided to an ICF/DD facility resident, including the day of admission and excluding the day of discharge, except that, when admission and discharge occur on the same day, 1 day of care exists.
(2) Effective October 1, 2009, there is imposed upon each intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled a quality assessment. The aggregated amount of assessments for all ICF/DDs in a given year shall be an amount not exceeding the maximum percentage allowed under federal law of the total aggregate net patient service revenue of assessed facilities. The agency shall calculate the quality assessment rate annually on a per-resident-day basis as reported by the facilities. The per-resident-day assessment rate shall be uniform. Each facility shall report monthly to the agency its total number of resident days and shall remit an amount equal to the assessment rate times the reported number of days. The agency shall collect, and each facility shall pay, the quality assessment each month. The agency shall collect the assessment from facility providers no later than the 15th of the next succeeding calendar month. The agency shall notify providers of the quality assessment rate and provide a standardized form to complete and submit with payments. The collection of the quality assessment shall commence no sooner than 15 days after the agency’s initial payment to the facilities that implement the increased Medicaid rates containing the elements prescribed in subsection (3) and monthly thereafter. Intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled may increase their rates to incorporate the assessment but may not create a separate line-item charge for the purpose of passing through the assessment to residents.
(3) The purpose of the facility quality assessment is to ensure continued quality of care. Collected assessment funds shall be used to obtain federal financial participation through the Medicaid program to make Medicaid payments for ICF/DD services up to the amount of the Medicaid rates for such facilities as calculated in accordance with the approved state Medicaid plan in effect on April 1, 2008. The quality assessment and federal matching funds shall be used exclusively for the following purposes and in the following order of priority to:
(a) Reimburse the Medicaid share of the quality assessment as a pass-through, Medicaid-allowable cost.
(b) Increase each privately operated ICF/DD Medicaid rate, as needed, by an amount that restores rate reductions effective on or after October 1, 2008, as provided in the General Appropriations Act.
(c) Increase payments to such facilities to fund covered services to Medicaid beneficiaries.
(4) The agency shall seek necessary federal approval in the form of state plan amendments in order to implement the provisions of this section.
(5)(a) The quality assessment shall terminate and the agency shall discontinue the imposition, assessment, and collection of the quality assessment if the agency does not obtain necessary federal approval for the facility quality assessment or the payment rates required by subsection (3).
(b) Upon termination of the quality assessment, all collected assessment revenues, less any amounts expended by the agency, shall be returned on a pro rata basis to the facilities that paid such assessments.
(6) The agency may seek any of the following remedies for failure of any ICF/DD provider to timely pay its assessment:
(a) Withholding any medical assistance reimbursement payments until the assessment amount is recovered.
(b) Suspending or revoking the facility’s license.
(c) Imposing a fine of up to $1,000 per day for each delinquent payment, not to exceed the amount of the assessment.
(7) The agency shall adopt rules necessary to administer this section.
(8) This section is repealed October 1, 2011.
History.s. 8, ch. 2009-55; s. 9, ch. 2010-156.
409.910 Responsibility for payments on behalf of Medicaid-eligible persons when other parties are liable.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that Medicaid be the payor of last resort for medically necessary goods and services furnished to Medicaid recipients. All other sources of payment for medical care are primary to medical assistance provided by Medicaid. If benefits of a liable third party are discovered or become available after medical assistance has been provided by Medicaid, it is the intent of the Legislature that Medicaid be repaid in full and prior to any other person, program, or entity. Medicaid is to be repaid in full from, and to the extent of, any third-party benefits, regardless of whether a recipient is made whole or other creditors paid. Principles of common law and equity as to assignment, lien, and subrogation are abrogated to the extent necessary to ensure full recovery by Medicaid from third-party resources. It is intended that if the resources of a liable third party become available at any time, the public treasury should not bear the burden of medical assistance to the extent of such resources.
(2) This section may be cited as the “Medicaid Third-Party Liability Act.”
(3) Third-party benefits for medical services shall be primary to medical assistance provided by Medicaid.
(4) After the agency has provided medical assistance under the Medicaid program, it shall seek recovery of reimbursement from third-party benefits to the limit of legal liability and for the full amount of third-party benefits, but not in excess of the amount of medical assistance paid by Medicaid, as to:
(a) Claims for which the agency has a waiver pursuant to federal law; or
(b) Situations in which the agency learns of the existence of a liable third party or in which third-party benefits are discovered or become available after medical assistance has been provided by Medicaid.
(5) An applicant, recipient, or legal representative shall inform the agency of any rights the applicant or recipient has to third-party benefits and shall inform the agency of the name and address of any person that is or may be liable to provide third-party benefits. When the agency provides, pays for, or becomes liable for medical services provided by a hospital, the recipient receiving such medical services or his or her legal representative shall also provide the information as to third-party benefits, as defined in this section, to the hospital, which shall provide notice thereof to the agency in a manner specified by the agency.
(6) When the agency provides, pays for, or becomes liable for medical care under the Medicaid program, it has the following rights, as to which the agency may assert independent principles of law, which shall nevertheless be construed together to provide the greatest recovery from third-party benefits:
(a) The agency is automatically subrogated to any rights that an applicant, recipient, or legal representative has to any third-party benefit for the full amount of medical assistance provided by Medicaid. Recovery pursuant to the subrogation rights created hereby shall not be reduced, prorated, or applied to only a portion of a judgment, award, or settlement, but is to provide full recovery by the agency from any and all third-party benefits. Equities of a recipient, his or her legal representative, a recipient’s creditors, or health care providers shall not defeat, reduce, or prorate recovery by the agency as to its subrogation rights granted under this paragraph.
(b) By applying for or accepting medical assistance, an applicant, recipient, or legal representative automatically assigns to the agency any right, title, and interest such person has to any third-party benefit, excluding any Medicare benefit to the extent required to be excluded by federal law.
1. The assignment granted under this paragraph is absolute, and vests legal and equitable title to any such right in the agency, but not in excess of the amount of medical assistance provided by the agency.
2. The agency is a bona fide assignee for value in the assigned right, title, or interest, and takes vested legal and equitable title free and clear of latent equities in a third person. Equities of a recipient, the recipient’s legal representative, his or her creditors, or health care providers shall not defeat or reduce recovery by the agency as to the assignment granted under this paragraph.
3. By accepting medical assistance, the recipient grants to the agency the limited power of attorney to act in his or her name, place, and stead to perform specific acts with regard to third-party benefits, the recipient’s assent being deemed to have been given, including:
a. Endorsing any draft, check, money order, or other negotiable instrument representing third-party benefits that are received on behalf of the recipient as a third-party benefit.
b. Compromising claims to the extent of the rights assigned, provided that the recipient is not otherwise represented by an attorney as to the claim.
(c) The agency is entitled to, and has, an automatic lien for the full amount of medical assistance provided by Medicaid to or on behalf of the recipient for medical care furnished as a result of any covered injury or illness for which a third party is or may be liable, upon the collateral, as defined in s. 409.901.
1. The lien attaches automatically when a recipient first receives treatment for which the agency may be obligated to provide medical assistance under the Medicaid program. The lien is perfected automatically at the time of attachment.
2. The agency is authorized to file a verified claim of lien. The claim of lien shall be signed by an authorized employee of the agency, and shall be verified as to the employee’s knowledge and belief. The claim of lien may be filed and recorded with the clerk of the circuit court in the recipient’s last known county of residence or in any county deemed appropriate by the agency. The claim of lien, to the extent known by the agency, shall contain: