(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—In order to enable the state to provide a systematic approach to staff development and training for persons providing child welfare services that will meet the needs of such staff in their discharge of duties, it is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Children and Family Services establish, maintain, and oversee the operation of child welfare training academies in the state. The Legislature further intends that the staff development and training programs that are established will aid in the reduction of poor staff morale and of staff turnover, will positively impact on the quality of decisions made regarding children and families who require assistance from programs providing child welfare services, and will afford better quality care of children who must be removed from their families.
(2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Child welfare services” means any intake, protective investigations, preprotective services, protective services, foster care, shelter and group care, and adoption and related services program, including supportive services, supervision, and legal services, provided to children who are alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, or who are at risk of becoming, are alleged to be, or have been found dependent pursuant to chapter 39.
(b) “Person providing child welfare services” means a person who has a responsibility for supervisory, legal, direct care or support related work in the provision of child welfare services pursuant to chapter 39.
(3) CHILD WELFARE TRAINING PROGRAM.—The department shall establish a program for training pursuant to the provisions of this section, and all persons providing child welfare services shall be required to participate in and successfully complete the program of training pertinent to their areas of responsibility.
(4) CHILD WELFARE TRAINING TRUST FUND.—
(a) There is created within the State Treasury a Child Welfare Training Trust Fund to be used by the Department of Children and Family Services for the purpose of funding a comprehensive system of child welfare training, including the securing of consultants to develop the system and the developing of child welfare training academies that include the participation of persons providing child welfare services.
(b) One dollar from every noncriminal traffic infraction collected pursuant to s. 318.14(10)(b) or s. 318.18 shall be deposited into the Child Welfare Training Trust Fund. (c) In addition to the funds generated by paragraph (b), the trust fund shall receive funds generated from an additional fee on birth certificates and dissolution of marriage filings, as specified in ss. 382.0255 and 28.101, respectively, and may receive funds from any other public or private source.
(d) Funds that are not expended by the end of the budget cycle or through a supplemental budget approved by the department shall revert to the trust fund.
(5) CORE COMPETENCIES.—
(a) The Department of Children and Family Services shall establish the core competencies for a single integrated curriculum that ensures that each person delivering child welfare services obtains the knowledge, skills, and abilities to competently carry out his or her work responsibilities. This curriculum may be a compilation of different development efforts based on specific subsets of core competencies that are integrated for a comprehensive curriculum required in the provision of child welfare services in this state.
(b) The identification of these core competencies shall be a collaborative effort to include professionals with expertise in child welfare services and providers that will be affected by the curriculum, to include, but not be limited to, representatives from the community-based care lead agencies, sheriffs’ offices conducting child protection investigations, and child welfare legal services providers.
(c) Notwithstanding s. 287.057(3) and (21), the department shall competitively solicit and contract for the development, validation, and periodic evaluation of the training curricula for the established single integrated curriculum. No more than one training curriculum may be developed for each specific subset of the core competencies.
(6) ADVANCED TRAINING.—The Department of Children and Family Services shall annually examine the advanced training that is needed by persons who deliver child welfare services in the state. This examination shall address whether the current advanced training provided should be continued and shall include the development of plans for incorporating any revisions to the advanced training determined necessary. This examination shall be conducted in collaboration with professionals with expertise in child welfare services and providers that will be affected by the curriculum, to include, but not be limited to, representatives from the community-based care lead agencies, sheriffs’ offices conducting child protection investigations, and child welfare legal services providers.
(7) CERTIFICATION AND TRAINER QUALIFICATIONS.—The department shall, in collaboration with the professionals and providers described in subsection (5), develop minimum standards for a certification process that ensures that participants have successfully attained the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to competently carry out their work responsibilities and shall develop minimum standards for trainer qualifications which must be required of training academies in the offering of the training curricula. Any person providing child welfare services shall be required to master the components of the curriculum that are particular to that person’s work responsibilities.
(8) ESTABLISHMENT OF TRAINING ACADEMIES.—The department shall establish child welfare training academies as part of a comprehensive system of child welfare training. In establishing a program of training, the department may contract for the operation of one or more training academies to perform one or more of the following: to offer one or more of the training curricula developed under subsection (5); to administer the certification process; to develop, validate, and periodically evaluate additional training curricula determined to be necessary, including advanced training that is specific to a region or contractor, or that meets a particular training need; or to offer the additional training curricula. The number, location, and timeframe for establishment of training academies shall be approved by the Secretary of Children and Family Services who shall ensure that the goals for the core competencies and the single integrated curriculum, the certification process, the trainer qualifications, and the additional training needs are addressed. Notwithstanding s. 287.057(3) and (21), the department shall competitively solicit all training academy contracts.
(9) ADOPTION OF RULES.—The Department of Children and Family Services shall adopt rules necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.