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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 984
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN NEED OF SERVICES
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CHAPTER 984
CHAPTER 984
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN NEED OF SERVICES
984.01 Purposes and intent; personnel standards and screening.
984.02 Legislative intent for the juvenile justice system.
984.03 Definitions.
984.04 Families in need of services and children in need of services; procedures and jurisdiction.
984.06 Oaths, records, and confidential information.
984.07 Appointed counsel; compensation.
984.071 Resources and information.
984.08 Attorney’s fees.
984.085 Sheltering unmarried minors; aiding unmarried minor runaways; violations.
984.086 Children locked out of the home; interagency cooperation.
984.09 Punishment for contempt of court; alternative sanctions.
984.10 Intake.
984.11 Services to families in need of services.
984.12 Case staffing; services and treatment to a family in need of services.
984.13 Taking into custody a child alleged to be from a family in need of services or to be a child in need of services.
984.14 Shelter placement; hearing.
984.15 Petition for a child in need of services.
984.151 Truancy petition; prosecution; disposition.
984.16 Process and service.
984.17 Response to petition and representation of parties.
984.18 Referral of child-in-need-of-services cases to mediation.
984.19 Medical screening and treatment of child; examination of parent, guardian, or person requesting custody.
984.20 Hearings for child-in-need-of-services cases.
984.21 Orders of adjudication.
984.22 Powers of disposition.
984.225 Powers of disposition; placement in a staff-secure shelter.
984.226 Physically secure setting.
984.23 Court and witness fees.
984.24 Appeal.
984.01 Purposes and intent; personnel standards and screening.
(1) The purposes of this chapter are:
(a) To provide judicial and other procedures to assure due process through which children and other interested parties are assured fair hearings by a respectful and respected court or other tribunal and the recognition, protection, and enforcement of their constitutional and other legal rights, while ensuring that public safety interests and the authority and dignity of the courts are adequately protected.
(b) To provide for the care, safety, and protection of children in an environment that fosters healthy social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development; to ensure secure and safe custody; and to promote the health and well-being of all children under the state’s care.
(c) To ensure the protection of society, by providing for a comprehensive standardized assessment of the child’s needs so that the most appropriate control, discipline, punishment, and treatment can be administered consistent with the seriousness of the act committed, the community’s long-term need for public safety, the prior record of the child, and the specific rehabilitation needs of the child, while also providing restitution, whenever possible, to the victim of the offense.
(d) To preserve and strengthen the child’s family ties whenever possible, by providing for removal of the child from parental custody only when his or her welfare or the safety and protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without such removal; and, when the child is removed from his or her own family, to secure custody, care, and discipline for the child as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by the parents; and to assure, in all cases in which a child must be permanently removed from parental custody, that the child be placed in an approved family home, adoptive home, independent living program, or other placement that provides the most stable and permanent living arrangement for the child, as determined by the court.
(e)1. To assure that the adjudication and disposition of a child alleged or found to have committed a violation of Florida law be exercised with appropriate discretion and in keeping with the seriousness of the offense and the need for treatment services, and that all findings made under this chapter be based upon facts presented at a hearing that meets the constitutional standards of fundamental fairness and due process.
2. To assure that the sentencing and placement of a child tried as an adult be appropriate and in keeping with the seriousness of the offense and the child’s need for rehabilitative services, and that the proceedings and procedures applicable to such sentencing and placement be applied within the full framework of constitutional standards of fundamental fairness and due process.
(f) To provide children committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice with training in life skills, including career education.
(2) The Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families, as appropriate, may contract with the Federal Government, other state departments and agencies, county and municipal governments and agencies, public and private agencies, and private individuals and corporations in carrying out the purposes of, and the responsibilities established in, this chapter.
(a) If the department contracts with a provider for any program for children, all personnel, including owners, operators, employees, and volunteers, in the facility must be of good moral character. Each contract entered into by either department for services delivered on an appointment or intermittent basis by a provider that does not have regular custodial responsibility for children and each contract with a school for before or aftercare services must ensure that the owners, operators, and all personnel who have direct contact with children are of good moral character. A volunteer who assists on an intermittent basis for less than 10 hours per month need not be screened 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.
(b) The Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Families shall require employment screening pursuant to chapter 435, using the level 2 standards set forth in that chapter for personnel in programs for children or youths.
(c) The Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families may grant exemptions from disqualification from working with children as provided in s. 435.07.
(3) It is the intent of the Legislature that this chapter be liberally interpreted and construed in conformity with its declared purposes.
History.s. 87, ch. 97-238; s. 11, ch. 2001-125; s. 63, ch. 2004-267; s. 47, ch. 2010-114; s. 332, ch. 2014-19.
984.02 Legislative intent for the juvenile justice system.
(1) GENERAL PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN.It is a purpose of the Legislature that the children of this state be provided with the following protections:
(a) Protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
(b) A permanent and stable home.
(c) A safe and nurturing environment which will preserve a sense of personal dignity and integrity.
(d) Adequate nutrition, shelter, and clothing.
(e) Effective treatment to address physical, social, and emotional needs, regardless of geographical location.
(f) Equal opportunity and access to quality and effective education which will meet the individual needs of each child, and to recreation and other community resources to develop individual abilities.
(g) Access to preventive services.
(h) An independent, trained advocate when intervention is necessary and a skilled guardian or caretaker in a safe environment when alternative placement is necessary.
(2) SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES.The Legislature finds that children in the care of the state’s dependency and delinquency systems need appropriate health care services, that the impact of substance abuse on health indicates the need for health care services to include substance abuse services where appropriate, and that it is in the state’s best interest that such children be provided the services they need to enable them to become and remain independent of state care. In order to provide these services, the state’s dependency and delinquency systems must have the ability to identify and provide appropriate intervention and treatment for children with personal or family-related substance abuse problems. It is therefore the purpose of the Legislature to provide authority for the state to contract with community substance abuse treatment providers for the development and operation of specialized support and overlay services for the dependency and delinquency systems, which will be fully implemented and utilized as resources permit.
(3) JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION.It is the policy of the state with respect to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention to first protect the public from acts of delinquency. In addition, it is the policy of the state to:
(a) Develop and implement effective methods of preventing and reducing acts of delinquency, with a focus on maintaining and strengthening the family as a whole so that children may remain in their homes or communities.
(b) Develop and implement effective programs to prevent delinquency, to divert children from the traditional juvenile justice system, to intervene at an early stage of delinquency, and to provide critically needed alternatives to institutionalization and deep-end commitment.
(c) Provide well-trained personnel, high-quality services, and cost-effective programs within the juvenile justice system.
(d) Increase the capacity of local governments and public and private agencies to conduct rehabilitative treatment programs and to provide research, evaluation, and training services in the field of juvenile delinquency prevention.

The Legislature intends that detention care, in addition to providing secure and safe custody, will promote the health and well-being of the children committed thereto and provide an environment that fosters their social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.

(4) PARENTAL, CUSTODIAL, AND GUARDIAN RESPONSIBILITIES.Parents, custodians, and guardians are deemed by the state to be responsible for providing their children with sufficient support, guidance, and supervision to deter their participation in delinquent acts. The state further recognizes that the ability of parents, custodians, and guardians to fulfill those responsibilities can be greatly impaired by economic, social, behavioral, emotional, and related problems. It is therefore the policy of the Legislature that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that factors impeding the ability of caretakers to fulfill their responsibilities are identified through the delinquency intake process and that appropriate recommendations to address those problems are considered in any judicial or nonjudicial proceeding.
History.s. 88, ch. 97-238.
984.03 Definitions.When used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Abandoned” means a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the person responsible for the child’s welfare, while being able, makes no provision for the child’s support and makes no effort to communicate with the child, which situation is sufficient to evince a willful rejection of parental obligations. If the efforts of such parent or legal custodian, or person primarily responsible for the child’s welfare to support and communicate with the child are, in the opinion of the court, only marginal efforts that do not evince a settled purpose to assume all parental duties, the court may declare the child to be abandoned. The term “abandoned” does not include a “child in need of services” as defined in subsection (9) or a “family in need of services” as defined in subsection (25). The incarceration of a parent, legal custodian, or person responsible for a child’s welfare does not constitute a bar to a finding of abandonment.
(2) “Abuse” means any willful act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury that causes or is likely to cause the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Corporal discipline of a child by a parent or guardian for disciplinary purposes does not in itself constitute abuse when it does not result in harm to the child as defined in s. 39.01.
(3) “Addictions receiving facility” means a substance abuse service provider as defined in chapter 397.
(4) “Adjudicatory hearing” means a hearing for the court to determine whether or not the facts support the allegations stated in the petition as is provided for under s. 984.20(2) in child-in-need-of-services cases.
(5) “Adult” means any natural person other than a child.
(6) “Authorized agent” or “designee” of the department means a person or agency assigned or designated by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families, as appropriate, to perform duties or exercise powers pursuant to this chapter and includes contract providers and their employees for purposes of providing services to and managing cases of children in need of services and families in need of services.
(7) “Caretaker/homemaker” means an authorized agent of the Department of Children and Families who shall remain in the child’s home with the child until a parent, legal guardian, or relative of the child enters the home and is capable of assuming and agrees to assume charge of the child.
(8) “Child” or “juvenile” or “youth” means any unmarried person under the age of 18 who has not been emancipated by order of the court and who has been found or alleged to be dependent, in need of services, or from a family in need of services; or any married or unmarried person who is charged with a violation of law occurring prior to the time that person reached the age of 18 years.
(9) “Child in need of services” means a child for whom there is no pending investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse, neglect, or abandonment; no pending referral alleging the child is delinquent; or no current supervision by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families for an adjudication of dependency or delinquency. The child must also, pursuant to this chapter, be found by the court:
(a) To have persistently run away from the child’s parents or legal custodians despite reasonable efforts of the child, the parents or legal custodians, and appropriate agencies to remedy the conditions contributing to the behavior. Reasonable efforts shall include voluntary participation by the child’s parents or legal custodians and the child in family mediation, services, and treatment offered by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families;
(b) To be habitually truant from school, while subject to compulsory school attendance, despite reasonable efforts to remedy the situation pursuant to ss. 1003.26 and 1003.27 and through voluntary participation by the child’s parents or legal custodians and by the child in family mediation, services, and treatment offered by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families; or
(c) To have persistently disobeyed the reasonable and lawful demands of the child’s parents or legal custodians, and to be beyond their control despite efforts by the child’s parents or legal custodians and appropriate agencies to remedy the conditions contributing to the behavior. Reasonable efforts may include such things as good faith participation in family or individual counseling.
(10) “Child support” means a court-ordered obligation, enforced under chapter 61 and ss. 409.2551-409.2597, for monetary support for the care, maintenance, training, and education of a child.
(11) “Child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act” means a child who, pursuant to the provisions of chapter 985, is found by a court to have committed a violation of law or to be in direct or indirect contempt of court, except that this definition shall not include an act constituting contempt of court arising out of a dependency proceeding or a proceeding pursuant to this chapter.
(12) “Child who is found to be dependent” or “dependent child” means a child who, pursuant to this chapter, is found by the court:
(a) To have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by the child’s parents or other custodians.
(b) To have been surrendered to the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, the Department of Children and Families, or a licensed child-placing agency for purpose of adoption.
(c) To have been voluntarily placed with a licensed child-caring agency, a licensed child-placing agency, an adult relative, the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, or the Department of Children and Families, after which placement, under the requirements of this chapter, a case plan has expired and the parent or parents have failed to substantially comply with the requirements of the plan.
(d) To have been voluntarily placed with a licensed child-placing agency for the purposes of subsequent adoption and a natural parent or parents signed a consent pursuant to the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure.
(e) To have no parent, legal custodian, or responsible adult relative to provide supervision and care.
(f) To be at substantial risk of imminent abuse or neglect by the parent or parents or the custodian.
(13) “Circuit” means any of the 20 judicial circuits as set forth in s. 26.021.
(14) “Comprehensive assessment” or “assessment” means the gathering of information for the evaluation of a juvenile offender’s or a child’s physical, psychological, educational, vocational, and social condition and 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, literacy services, medical services, family services, and other specialized services, as appropriate.
(15) “Court,” unless otherwise expressly stated, means the circuit court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter.
(16) “Delinquency program” means any intake, community control, or similar program; regional detention center or facility; or community-based program, whether owned and operated by or contracted by the Department of Juvenile Justice, or institution owned and operated by or contracted by the Department of Juvenile Justice, which provides intake, supervision, or custody and care of children who are alleged to be or who have been found to be delinquent pursuant to chapter 985.
(17) “Department” means the Department of Juvenile Justice.
(18) “Detention care” means the temporary care of a child in secure, nonsecure, or home detention, pending a court adjudication or disposition or execution of a court order. There are three types of detention care, as follows:
(a) “Secure detention” means temporary custody of the child while the child is under the physical restriction of a detention center or facility pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
(b) “Nonsecure detention” means temporary custody of the child while the child is in a residential home in the community in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
(c) “Home detention” means temporary custody of the child while the child is released to the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice staff pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
(19) “Detention center or facility” means a facility used pending court adjudication or disposition or execution of court order for the temporary care of a child alleged or found to have committed a violation of law. A detention center or facility may provide secure or nonsecure custody. A facility used for the commitment of adjudicated delinquents shall not be considered a detention center or facility.
(20) “Detention hearing” means a hearing for the court to determine if a child should be placed in temporary custody, as provided for under s. 39.402, in dependency cases.
(21) “Diligent efforts of social service agency” means reasonable efforts to provide social services or reunification services made by any social service agency as defined in this section that is a party to a case plan.
(22) “Diligent search” means the efforts of a social service agency to locate a parent or prospective parent whose identity or location is unknown, or a relative made known to the social services agency by the parent or custodian of a child. When the search is for a parent, prospective parent, or relative of a child in the custody of the department, this search must be initiated as soon as the agency is made aware of the existence of such parent, prospective parent, or relative. A diligent search shall include interviews with persons who are likely to have information about the identity or location of the person being sought, comprehensive database searches, and records searches, including searches of employment, residence, utilities, Armed Forces, vehicle registration, child support enforcement, law enforcement, and corrections records, and any other records likely to result in identifying and locating the person being sought. The initial diligent search must be completed within 90 days after a child is taken into custody. After the completion of the initial diligent search, the department, unless excused by the court, shall have a continuing duty to search for relatives with whom it may be appropriate to place the child, until such relatives are found or until the child is placed for adoption.
(23) “Disposition hearing” means a hearing in which the court determines the most appropriate dispositional services in the least restrictive available setting provided for under s. 984.20(3), in child-in-need-of-services cases.
(24) “Family” means a collective body of persons, consisting of a child and a parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative, in which:
(a) The persons reside in the same house or living unit; or
(b) The parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative has a legal responsibility by blood, marriage, or court order to support or care for the child.
(25) “Family in need of services” means a family that has a child who is running away; who is persistently disobeying reasonable and lawful demands of the parent or legal custodian and is beyond the control of the parent or legal custodian; or who is habitually truant from school or engaging in other serious behaviors that place the child at risk of future abuse, neglect, or abandonment or at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. The child must be referred to a law enforcement agency, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or an agency contracted to provide services to children in need of services. A family is not eligible to receive services if, at the time of the referral, there is an open investigation into an allegation of abuse, neglect, or abandonment or if the child is currently under supervision by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families due to an adjudication of dependency or delinquency.
(26) “Foster care” means care provided a child in a foster family or boarding home, group home, agency boarding home, child care institution, or any combination thereof.
(27) “Habitually truant” means that:
(a) The child has 15 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days with or without the knowledge or justifiable consent of the child’s parent or legal guardian, is subject to compulsory school attendance under s. 1003.21(1) and (2)(a), and is not exempt under s. 1003.21(3), s. 1003.24, or any other exemptions specified by law or the rules of the State Board of Education.
(b) Activities to determine the cause, and to attempt the remediation, of the child’s truant behavior under ss. 1003.26 and 1003.27(3), have been completed.

If a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance is responsive to the interventions described in ss. 1003.26 and 1003.27(3) and has completed the necessary requirements to pass the current grade as indicated in the district pupil progression plan, the child shall not be determined to be habitually truant and shall be passed. If a child within the compulsory school attendance age has 15 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days or fails to enroll in school, the State Attorney may, or the appropriate jurisdictional agency shall, file a child-in-need-of-services petition if recommended by the case staffing committee, unless it is determined that another alternative action is preferable. The failure or refusal of the parent or legal guardian or the child to participate, or make a good faith effort to participate, in the activities prescribed to remedy the truant behavior, or the failure or refusal of the child to return to school after participation in activities required by this subsection, or the failure of the child to stop the truant behavior after the school administration and the Department of Juvenile Justice have worked with the child as described in ss. 1003.26 and 1003.27(3) shall be handled as prescribed in s. 1003.27.

(28) “Intake” means the initial acceptance and screening by the Department of Juvenile Justice of a complaint or a law enforcement report or probable cause affidavit of delinquency, family in need of services, or child in need of services to determine the recommendation to be taken in the best interests of the child, the family, and the community. The emphasis of intake is on diversion and the least restrictive available services. Consequently, intake includes such alternatives as:
(a) The disposition of the complaint, report, or probable cause affidavit without court or public agency action or judicial handling when appropriate.
(b) The referral of the child to another public or private agency when appropriate.
(c) The recommendation by the juvenile probation officer of judicial handling when appropriate and warranted.
(29) “Judge” means the circuit judge exercising jurisdiction pursuant to this chapter.
(30) “Juvenile justice continuum” includes, but is not limited to, delinquency prevention programs and services designed for the purpose of preventing or reducing delinquent acts, including criminal activity by criminal gangs and juvenile arrests, as well as programs and services targeted at children who have committed delinquent acts, and children who have previously been committed to residential treatment programs for delinquents. The term includes children-in-need-of-services and families-in-need-of-services programs; conditional release; substance abuse and mental health programs; educational and vocational programs; recreational programs; community services programs; community service work programs; and alternative dispute resolution programs serving children at risk of delinquency and their families, whether offered or delivered by state or local governmental entities, public or private for-profit or not-for-profit organizations, or religious or charitable organizations.
(31) “Juvenile probation officer” means the authorized agent of the department who performs and directs intake, assessment, probation, or conditional release, and other related services.
(32) “Legal custody” means a legal status created by court order or letter of guardianship which vests in a custodian of the person or guardian, whether an agency or an individual, the right to have physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide him or her with food, shelter, education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care.
(33) “Licensed child-caring agency” means a person, society, association, or agency licensed by the Department of Children and Families to care for, receive, and board children.
(34) “Licensed health care professional” means a physician licensed under chapter 458, an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, a nurse licensed under part I of chapter 464, a physician assistant licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459, or a dentist licensed under chapter 466.
(35) “Mediation” means a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and nonadversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decisionmaking authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.
(36) “Necessary medical treatment” means care that is necessary within a reasonable degree of medical certainty to prevent the deterioration of a child’s condition or to alleviate immediate pain of a child.
(37) “Neglect” occurs when the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the person primarily responsible for the child’s welfare deprives a child of, or allows a child to be deprived of, necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical treatment or permits a child to live in an environment when such deprivation or environment causes the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired or to be in danger of being significantly impaired. The foregoing circumstances shall not be considered neglect if caused primarily by financial inability unless actual services for relief have been offered to and rejected by such person. A parent or guardian legitimately practicing religious beliefs in accordance with a recognized church or religious organization who thereby does not provide specific medical treatment for a child shall not, for that reason alone, be considered a negligent parent or guardian; however, such an exception does not preclude a court from ordering the following services to be provided, when the health of the child so requires:
(a) Medical services from a licensed physician, dentist, optometrist, podiatric physician, or other qualified health care provider; or
(b) Treatment by a duly accredited practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a well-recognized church or religious organization.
(38) “Next of kin” means an adult relative of a child who is the child’s brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or first cousin.
(39) “Parent” means a woman who gives birth to a child and a man whose consent to the adoption of the child would be required under s. 63.062(1). If a child has been legally adopted, the term “parent” means the adoptive mother or father of the child. The term does not include an individual whose parental relationship to the child has been legally terminated, or an alleged or prospective parent, unless the parental status falls within the terms of either s. 39.503(1) or s. 63.062(1).
(40) “Participant,” for purposes of a shelter proceeding, means any person who is not a party but who should receive notice of hearings involving the child, including foster parents, identified prospective parents, grandparents entitled to priority for adoption consideration under s. 63.0425, actual custodians of the child, and any other person whose participation may be in the best interest of the child. Participants may be granted leave by the court to be heard without the necessity of filing a motion to intervene.
(41) “Party,” for purposes of a shelter proceeding, means the parent of the child, the petitioner, the department, the guardian ad litem when one has been appointed, and the child. The presence of the child may be excused by order of the court when presence would not be in the child’s best interest. Notice to the child may be excused by order of the court when the age, capacity, or other condition of the child is such that the notice would be meaningless or detrimental to the child.
(42) “Preliminary screening” means the gathering of preliminary information to be used in determining a child’s need for further evaluation or assessment or for referral for other substance abuse services through means such as psychosocial interviews; urine and breathalyzer screenings; and reviews of available educational, delinquency, and dependency records of the child.
(43) “Preventive services” means social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services provided to the parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child, or the custodian of the child and to the child for the purpose of averting the removal of the child from the home or disruption of a family which will or could result in an adjudication that orders the placement of a child into foster care or into the delinquency system or that will or could result in the child living on the street. Social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services may include the provision of assessment and screening services; individual, group, or family counseling; specialized educational and vocational services; temporary shelter for the child; outreach services for children living on the street; independent living services to assist adolescents in achieving a successful transition to adulthood; and other specialized services.
(44) “Protective supervision” means a legal status in child-in-need-of-services cases or family-in-need-of-services cases which permits the child to remain in his or her own home or other placement under the supervision of an agent of the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families, subject to being returned to the court during the period of supervision.
(45) “Relative” means a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, first cousin, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, niece, or nephew, whether related by the whole or half blood, by affinity, or by adoption. The term does not include a stepparent.
(46) “Reunification services” means social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services provided to the parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child, or the custodian of the child, whichever is applicable; the child; and, where appropriate, the foster parents of the child for the purpose of enabling a child who has been placed in temporary shelter care to return to his or her family at the earliest possible time. Social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services shall be consistent with the child’s need for a safe, continuous, and stable living environment and shall promote the strengthening of family life whenever possible.
(47) “Secure detention center or facility” means a physically restricting facility for the temporary care of children, pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
(48) “Shelter” means a place for the temporary care of a child who is alleged to be or who has been found to be dependent, a child from a family in need of services, or a child in need of services, pending court disposition before or after adjudication or after execution of a court order. “Shelter” may include a facility which provides 24-hour continual supervision for the temporary care of a child who is placed pursuant to s. 984.14.
(49) “Shelter hearing” means a hearing provided for under s. 984.14 in family-in-need-of-services cases or child-in-need-of-services cases.
(50) “Staff-secure shelter” means a facility in which a child is supervised 24 hours a day by staff members who are awake while on duty. The facility is for the temporary care and assessment of a child who has been found to be dependent, who has violated a court order and been found in contempt of court, or whom the Department of Children and Families is unable to properly assess or place for assistance within the continuum of services provided for dependent children.
(51) “Substance abuse” means using, without medical reason, any psychoactive or mood-altering drug, including alcohol, in such a manner as to induce impairment resulting in dysfunctional social behavior.
(52) “Taken into custody” means the status of a child immediately when temporary physical control over the child is attained by a person authorized by law, pending the child’s release, detention, placement, or other disposition as authorized by law.
(53) “Temporary legal custody” means the relationship that a juvenile court creates between a child and an adult relative of the child, adult nonrelative approved by the court, or other person until a more permanent arrangement is ordered. Temporary legal custody confers upon the custodian the right to have temporary physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide the child with food, shelter, and education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care, unless these rights and duties are otherwise enlarged or limited by the court order establishing the temporary legal custody relationship.
(54) “Truancy petition” means a petition filed by the superintendent of schools alleging that a student subject to compulsory school attendance has had at least five unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a calendar month or 10 unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a 90-calendar-day period, or has had more than 15 unexcused absences in a 90-calendar-day period. A truancy petition is filed and processed under s. 984.151.
(55) “Violation of law” or “delinquent act” means a violation of any law of this state, the United States, or any other state which is a misdemeanor or a felony or a violation of a county or municipal ordinance which would be punishable by incarceration if the violation were committed by an adult.
History.s. 4, ch. 97-234; s. 89, ch. 97-238; s. 1, ch. 97-276; s. 12, ch. 98-49; s. 235, ch. 98-166; s. 6, ch. 98-207; s. 64, ch. 98-280; s. 165, ch. 98-403; s. 126, ch. 99-3; s. 8, ch. 99-284; s. 74, ch. 99-398; s. 13, ch. 2000-135; s. 22, ch. 2000-235; s. 149, ch. 2000-318; s. 34, ch. 2001-3; s. 35, ch. 2001-64; s. 1046, ch. 2002-387; s. 123, ch. 2006-120; s. 29, ch. 2008-238; s. 89, ch. 2012-5; s. 1, ch. 2012-56; s. 333, ch. 2014-19.
984.04 Families in need of services and children in need of services; procedures and jurisdiction.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to address the problems of families in need of services by providing them with an array of services designed to preserve the unity and integrity of the family and to emphasize parental responsibility for the behavior of their children. Services to families in need of services and children in need of services shall be provided on a continuum of increasing intensity and participation by the parent and child. Judicial intervention to resolve the problems and conflicts that exist within a family shall be limited to situations in which a resolution to the problem or conflict has not been achieved through service, treatment, and family intervention after all available less restrictive resources have been exhausted. In creating this chapter, the Legislature recognizes the need to distinguish the problems of truants, runaways, and children beyond the control of their parents, and the services provided to these children, from the problems and services designed to meet the needs of abandoned, abused, neglected, and delinquent children. In achieving this recognition, it shall be the policy of the state to develop short-term, temporary services and programs utilizing the least restrictive method for families in need of services and children in need of services.
(2) The Department of Juvenile Justice shall be responsible for all nonjudicial proceedings involving a family in need of services.
(3) All nonjudicial procedures in family-in-need-of-services cases shall be according to rules established by the Department of Juvenile Justice under chapter 120.
(4) The circuit court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction of judicial proceedings involving continued placement of a child from a family in need of services in shelter.
(5) The circuit court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction of proceedings in which a child is alleged to be a child in need of services. When the jurisdiction of any child who has been found to be a child in need of services or the parent, custodian, or legal guardian of such a child is obtained, the court shall retain jurisdiction, unless relinquished by its order or unless the department withdraws its petition because the child no longer meets the definition of a child in need of services as defined in s. 984.03, until the child reaches 18 years of age. This subsection shall not be construed to prevent the exercise of jurisdiction by any other court having jurisdiction of the child if the child commits a violation of law, is the subject of the dependency provisions under this chapter, or is the subject of a pending investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
(6) All procedures, including petitions, pleadings, subpoenas, summonses, and hearings, in family-in-need-of-services cases and child-in-need-of-services cases shall be according to the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure unless otherwise provided by law.
(7) The department may contract with a provider to provide services and programs for families in need of services and children in need of services.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 60, ch. 94-209; s. 19, ch. 96-398; s. 90, ch. 97-238; s. 65, ch. 98-280.
Note.Former s. 39.42.
984.06 Oaths, records, and confidential information.
(1) The judge, clerks or deputy clerks, or authorized agents of the department shall each have the power to administer oaths and affirmations.
(2) The court shall make and keep records of all cases brought before it pursuant to this chapter and shall preserve the records pertaining to a child in need of services until 10 years after the last entry was made or until the child is 18 years of age, whichever date is first reached, and may then destroy them. The court shall make official records, consisting of all petitions and orders filed in a case arising pursuant to this chapter and any other pleadings, certificates, proofs of publication, summonses, warrants, and other writs which are filed in the case.
(3) The clerk shall keep all court records required by this chapter separate from other records of the circuit court. Court records required by this chapter are not open to inspection by the public. All such records may be inspected only upon order of the court by a person deemed by the court to have a proper interest therein, except that, subject to the provisions of s. 63.162, a child and the parents or legal custodians of the child and their attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and the department and its designees may inspect and copy any official record pertaining to the child. The court may permit authorized representatives of recognized organizations compiling statistics for proper purposes to inspect and make abstracts from official records, under whatever conditions upon their use and disposition the court deems proper, and may punish by contempt proceedings any violation of those conditions.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (3), all information obtained pursuant to this chapter in the discharge of official duty by any judge, employee of the court, authorized agent of the department, or law enforcement agent is confidential and may not be disclosed to anyone other than the authorized personnel of the court, the department and its designees, law enforcement agencies, and others entitled under this chapter to receive that information, except upon order of the court.
(5) All orders of the court entered pursuant to this chapter must be in writing and signed by the judge, except that the clerk or a deputy clerk may sign a summons or notice to appear.
(6) A court record of proceedings under this chapter is not admissible in evidence in any other civil or criminal proceeding, except that:
(a) Records of proceedings under this chapter forming a part of the record on appeal shall be used in the appellate court.
(b) Records that are necessary in any case in which a person is being tried upon a charge of having committed perjury are admissible in evidence in that case.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 7, ch. 90-53; s. 241, ch. 95-147; s. 34, ch. 96-398; s. 92, ch. 97-238.
Note.Former s. 39.443; s. 39.4451.
984.07 Appointed counsel; compensation.If counsel is entitled to receive compensation for representation pursuant to court appointment in a child-in-need-of-services proceeding, such compensation shall not exceed $1,000 at the trial level and $2,500 at the appellate level.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 93, ch. 97-238.
Note.Former s. 39.447.
984.071 Resources and information.
(1) The Department of Juvenile Justice, in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education, shall develop and publish an information packet that explains the current process under this chapter for obtaining assistance for a child in need of services or a family in need of services and the community services and resources available to parents of troubled or runaway children. In preparing the information packet, the Department of Juvenile Justice shall work with school district superintendents, juvenile court judges, county sheriffs, and other local law enforcement officials in order to ensure that the information packet lists services and resources that are currently available within the county in which the packet is distributed. Each information packet shall be annually updated. The school district shall distribute this information packet to parents of truant children and to other parents upon request or as deemed appropriate by the school district. In addition, the Department of Juvenile Justice shall distribute the information packet to state and local law enforcement agencies. Any law enforcement officer who has contact with the parent of a child who is locked out of the home or who runs away from home shall make the information available to the parent.
(2) The department, in collaboration with organizations that provide expertise, training, and advocacy in the areas of family and domestic violence, shall develop and maintain updated information and materials describing resources and services available to parents and legal custodians who are victims of domestic violence committed by children or who fear that they will become victims of such acts and to children who have committed acts of domestic violence or who demonstrate behaviors that may escalate into domestic violence. Such resources and services shall include, but are not limited to, those available under this chapter, domestic violence services available under chapter 39, and juvenile justice services available pursuant to chapter 985, including prevention, diversion, detention, and alternative placements. The materials shall describe how parents and legal custodians may access the resources and services in their local area. The department shall post this information on its website and make the materials available to certified domestic violence centers, other organizations serving victims of domestic violence, clerks of court, law enforcement agencies, and other appropriate organizations for distribution to the public.
History.s. 17, ch. 97-281; s. 67, ch. 98-280; s. 334, ch. 2014-19; s. 1, ch. 2017-123.
984.08 Attorney’s fees.The court may appoint an attorney to represent a parent or legal guardian under this chapter only upon a finding that the parent or legal guardian is indigent pursuant to s. 57.082. If an attorney is appointed, the parent or legal guardian shall be enrolled in a payment plan pursuant to s. 28.246.
History.s. 1, ch. 94-329; s. 5, ch. 95-267; s. 94, ch. 97-238; s. 138, ch. 2003-402; s. 46, ch. 2008-111.
Note.Former s. 39.017.
984.085 Sheltering unmarried minors; aiding unmarried minor runaways; violations.
(1)(a) A person who is not an authorized agent of the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families may not knowingly shelter an unmarried minor for more than 24 hours without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian or without notifying a law enforcement officer of the minor’s name and the fact that the minor is being provided shelter.
(b) A person may not knowingly provide aid to an unmarried minor who has run away from home without first contacting the minor’s parent or guardian or notifying a law enforcement officer. The aid prohibited under this paragraph includes assisting the minor in obtaining shelter, such as hotel lodgings.
(2) A person who violates this section commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 14, ch. 97-281; s. 335, ch. 2014-19.
984.086 Children locked out of the home; interagency cooperation.The Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Families shall encourage interagency cooperation within each circuit and shall develop comprehensive agreements between the staff and providers for each department in order to coordinate the services provided to children who are locked out of the home and the families of those children.
History.s. 15, ch. 97-281; s. 15, ch. 2000-135; s. 336, ch. 2014-19.
984.09 Punishment for contempt of court; alternative sanctions.
(1) CONTEMPT OF COURT; LEGISLATIVE INTENT.The court may punish any child for contempt for interfering with the court or with court administration, or for violating any provision of this chapter or order of the court relative thereto. It is the intent of the Legislature that the court restrict and limit the use of contempt powers with respect to commitment of a child to a secure facility. A child who commits direct contempt of court or indirect contempt of a valid court order may be taken into custody and ordered to serve an alternative sanction or placed in a secure facility, as authorized in this section, by order of the court.
(2) PLACEMENT IN A SECURE FACILITY.A child may be placed in a secure facility for purposes of punishment for contempt of court if alternative sanctions are unavailable or inappropriate, or if the child has already been ordered to serve an alternative sanction but failed to comply with the sanction.
(a) A delinquent child who has been held in direct or indirect contempt may be placed in a secure detention facility for 5 days for a first offense or 15 days for a second or subsequent offense, or in a secure residential commitment facility.
(b) A child in need of services who has been held in direct contempt or indirect contempt may be placed, for 5 days for a first offense or 15 days for a second or subsequent offense, in a staff-secure shelter or a staff-secure residential facility solely for children in need of services if such placement is available, or, if such placement is not available, the child may be placed in an appropriate mental health facility or substance abuse facility for assessment. In addition to disposition under this paragraph, a child in need of services who is held in direct contempt or indirect contempt may be placed in a physically secure setting as provided under s. 984.226 if conditions of eligibility are met.
(3) ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS.Each judicial circuit shall have an alternative sanctions coordinator who shall serve under the chief administrative judge of the juvenile division of the circuit court, and who shall coordinate and maintain a spectrum of contempt sanction alternatives in conjunction with the circuit plan implemented in accordance with s. 790.22(4)(c). Upon determining that a child has committed direct contempt of court or indirect contempt of a valid court order, the court may immediately request the alternative sanctions coordinator to recommend the most appropriate available alternative sanction and shall order the child to perform up to 50 hours of community-service manual labor or a similar alternative sanction, unless an alternative sanction is unavailable or inappropriate, or unless the child has failed to comply with a prior alternative sanction. Alternative contempt sanctions may be provided by local industry or by any nonprofit organization or any public or private business or service entity that has entered into a contract with the Department of Juvenile Justice to act as an agent of the state to provide voluntary supervision of children on behalf of the state in exchange for the manual labor of children and limited immunity in accordance with s. 768.28(11).
(4) CONTEMPT OF COURT SANCTIONS; PROCEDURE AND DUE PROCESS.
(a) If a child is charged with direct contempt of court, including traffic court, the court may impose an authorized sanction immediately.
(b) If a child is charged with indirect contempt of court, the court must hold a hearing within 24 hours to determine whether the child committed indirect contempt of a valid court order. At the hearing, the following due process rights must be provided to the child:
1. Right to a copy of the order to show cause alleging facts supporting the contempt charge.
2. Right to an explanation of the nature and the consequences of the proceedings.
3. Right to legal counsel and the right to have legal counsel appointed by the court if the juvenile is indigent, pursuant to s. 985.033.
4. Right to confront witnesses.
5. Right to present witnesses.
6. Right to have a transcript or record of the proceeding.
7. Right to appeal to an appropriate court.

The child’s parent or guardian may address the court regarding the due process rights of the child. The court shall review the placement of the child every 72 hours to determine whether it is appropriate for the child to remain in the facility.

(c) The court may not order that a child be placed in a secure facility for punishment for contempt unless the court determines that an alternative sanction is inappropriate or unavailable or that the child was initially ordered to an alternative sanction and did not comply with the alternative sanction. The court is encouraged to order a child to perform community service, up to the maximum number of hours, where appropriate before ordering that the child be placed in a secure facility as punishment for contempt of court.
(d) In addition to any other sanction imposed under this section, the court may direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of, or suspend, a child’s driver license or driving privilege. The court may order that a child’s driver license or driving privilege be withheld or suspended for up to 1 year for a first offense of contempt and up to 2 years for a second or subsequent offense. If the child’s driver license or driving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason at the time the sanction for contempt is imposed, the court shall extend the period of suspension or revocation by the additional period ordered under this paragraph. If the child’s driver license is being withheld at the time the sanction for contempt is imposed, the period of suspension or revocation ordered under this paragraph shall begin on the date on which the child is otherwise eligible to drive. For a child in need of services whose driver license or driving privilege is suspended under this paragraph, the court may direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to issue the child a license for driving privileges restricted to business or employment purposes only, as defined in s. 322.271, or for the purpose of completing court-ordered community service, if the child is otherwise qualified for a license. However, the department may not issue a restricted license unless specifically ordered to do so by the court.
(5) ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS COORDINATOR.There is created the position of alternative sanctions coordinator within each judicial circuit, pursuant to subsection (3). Each alternative sanctions coordinator shall serve under the direction of the chief administrative judge of the juvenile division as directed by the chief judge of the circuit. The alternative sanctions coordinator shall act as the liaison between the judiciary, local department officials, district school board employees, and local law enforcement agencies. The alternative sanctions coordinator shall coordinate within the circuit community-based alternative sanctions, including nonsecure detention programs, community service projects, and other juvenile sanctions, in conjunction with the circuit plan implemented in accordance with s. 790.22(4)(c).
History.s. 95, ch. 97-238; s. 1, ch. 97-281; s. 2, ch. 2000-134; s. 16, ch. 2000-135; s. 125, ch. 2006-120.
984.10 Intake.
(1) Intake shall be performed by the department. A report or complaint alleging that a child is from a family in need of services shall be made to the intake office operating in the county in which the child is found or in which the case arose. Any person or agency, including, but not limited to, the parent or legal custodian, the local school district, a law enforcement agency, or the Department of Children and Families, having knowledge of the facts may make a report or complaint.
(2) A representative of the department shall make a preliminary determination as to whether the report or complaint is complete. The criteria for the completeness of a report or complaint with respect to a child alleged to be from a family in need of services while subject to compulsory school attendance shall be governed by s. 984.03(27). In any case in which the representative of the department finds that the report or complaint is incomplete, the representative of the department shall return the report or complaint without delay to the person or agency originating the report or complaint or having knowledge of the facts or to the appropriate law enforcement agency having investigative jurisdiction and request additional information in order to complete the report or complaint.
(3) If the representative of the department determines that in his or her judgment the interests of the family, the child, and the public will be best served by providing the family and child services and treatment voluntarily accepted by the child and the parents or legal custodians, the departmental representative may refer the family or child to an appropriate service and treatment provider. As part of the intake procedure, the departmental representative shall inform the parent or legal custodian, in writing, of the services and treatment available to the child and family by department providers or community agencies and the rights and responsibilities of the parent or legal guardian under this chapter.
(4) If the department has reasonable grounds to believe that the child has been abandoned, abused, or neglected, it shall proceed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 39.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 3, ch. 88-319; s. 234, ch. 95-147; s. 4, ch. 95-152; s. 8, ch. 95-280; s. 22, ch. 96-398; s. 168, ch. 97-101; s. 96, ch. 97-238; s. 5, ch. 97-281; s. 68, ch. 98-280; s. 166, ch. 98-403; s. 17, ch. 2000-135; s. 337, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.423.
984.11 Services to families in need of services.
(1) Services and treatment to families in need of services shall be by voluntary agreement of the parent or legal guardian and the child or as directed by a court order pursuant to s. 984.22.
(2) These services may include, but need not be limited to:
(a) Homemaker or parent aide services.
(b) Intensive crisis counseling.
(c) Parent training.
(d) Individual, group, or family counseling.
(e) Community mental health services.
(f) Prevention and diversion services.
(g) Services provided by voluntary or community agencies.
(h) Runaway center services.
(i) Housekeeper services.
(j) Special educational, tutorial, or remedial services.
(k) Vocational, job training, or employment services.
(l) Recreational services.
(m) Assessment.
(3) The department shall advise the parents or legal guardian that they are responsible for contributing to the cost of the child or family services and treatment to the extent of their ability to pay. The department shall set and charge fees for services and treatment provided to clients. The department may employ a collection agency for the purpose of receiving, collecting, and managing the payment of unpaid and delinquent fees. The collection agency must be registered and in good standing under chapter 559. The department may pay to the collection agency a fee from the amount collected under the claim or may authorize the agency to deduct the fee from the amount collected.
(4) The department may file a petition with the circuit court to enforce the collection of fees for services and treatment rendered to the child or the parent and other legal custodians.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 4, ch. 90-53; s. 23, ch. 96-398; s. 97, ch. 97-238; s. 6, ch. 97-281.
Note.Former s. 39.424.
984.12 Case staffing; services and treatment to a family in need of services.
(1) The appropriate representative of the department shall request a meeting of the family and child with a case staffing committee to review the case of any family or child who the department determines is in need of services or treatment if:
(a) The family or child is not in agreement with the services or treatment offered;
(b) The family or child will not participate in the services or treatment selected; or
(c) The representative of the department needs assistance in developing an appropriate plan for services. The time and place selected for the meeting shall be convenient for the child and family.
(2) The composition of the case staffing committee shall be based on the needs of the family and child. It shall include a representative from the child’s school district and a representative of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and may include a supervisor of the department’s contracted provider; a representative from the area of health, mental health, substance abuse, social, or educational services; a representative of the state attorney; the alternative sanctions coordinator; and any person recommended by the child, family, or department.
(3) The case staffing committee shall reach a timely decision to provide the child or family with needed services and treatment through the development of a plan for services.
(4) The plan for services shall contain the following:
(a) Statement of the problems.
(b) Needs of the child.
(c) Needs of the parents, guardian, or legal custodian.
(d) Measurable objectives that address the identified problems and needs.
(e) Services and treatment to be provided, to include:
1. Type of services or treatment.
2. Frequency of services or treatment.
3. Location.
4. Accountable service providers or staff.
(f) Timeframes for achieving objectives.
(5) Upon receipt of the plan, the child and family shall acknowledge their position by accepting or rejecting the services and provisions in writing. If the plan is accepted, it shall be implemented as soon as is practicable.
(6) A case manager shall be designated by the case staffing committee to be responsible for implementing the plan. The case manager shall periodically review the progress towards achieving the objectives of the plan in order to:
(a) Advise the case staffing committee of the need to make adjustments to the plan; or
(b) Terminate the case as indicated by successful or substantial achievement of the objectives of the plan.
(7) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian may convene a meeting of the case staffing committee, and any other member of the committee may convene a meeting if the member finds that doing so is in the best interest of the family or child. A case staffing committee meeting requested by a parent, guardian, or legal custodian must be convened within 7 days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, after the date the department’s representative receives the request in writing.
(8) Within 7 days after meeting, the case staffing committee shall provide the parent, guardian, or legal custodian with a written report that details the reasons for the committee’s decision to recommend, or decline to recommend, that the department file a petition alleging that the child is a child in need of services.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 9, ch. 91-45; s. 19, ch. 95-267; s. 9, ch. 95-280; s. 4, ch. 96-369; s. 24, ch. 96-398; s. 98, ch. 97-238; s. 7, ch. 97-281.
Note.Former s. 39.426.
984.13 Taking into custody a child alleged to be from a family in need of services or to be a child in need of services.
(1) A child may be taken into custody:
(a) By a law enforcement officer when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the child has run away from his or her parents, guardian, or other legal custodian.
(b) By a law enforcement officer when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the child is absent from school without authorization or is suspended or expelled and is not in the presence of his or her parent or legal guardian, for the purpose of delivering the child without unreasonable delay to the appropriate school system site. For the purpose of this paragraph, “school system site” includes, but is not limited to, a center approved by the superintendent of schools for the purpose of counseling students and referring them back to the school system or an approved alternative to a suspension or expulsion program. If a student is suspended or expelled from school without assignment to an alternative school placement, the law enforcement officer shall deliver the child to the parent or legal guardian, to a location determined by the parent or guardian, or to a designated truancy interdiction site until the parent or guardian can be located.
(c) Pursuant to an order of the circuit court based upon sworn testimony before or after a petition is filed under s. 984.15.
(d) By a law enforcement officer when the child voluntarily agrees to or requests services pursuant to this chapter or placement in a shelter.
(2) The person taking the child into custody shall:
(a) Release the child to a parent, guardian, legal custodian, or responsible adult relative or to a department-approved family-in-need-of-services and child-in-need-of-services provider if the person taking the child into custody has reasonable grounds to believe the child has run away from a parent, guardian, or legal custodian; is truant; or is beyond the control of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian; following such release, the person taking the child into custody shall make a full written report to the intake office of the department within 3 days; or
(b) Deliver the child to the department, stating the facts by reason of which the child was taken into custody and sufficient information to establish probable cause that the child is from a family in need of services.
(3) If the child is taken into custody by, or is delivered to, the department, the appropriate representative of the department shall review the facts and make such further inquiry as necessary to determine whether the child shall remain in custody or be released. Unless shelter is required as provided in s. 984.14(1), the department shall:
(a) Release the child to his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian, to a responsible adult relative, to a responsible adult approved by the department, or to a department-approved family-in-need-of-services and child-in-need-of-services provider; or
(b) Authorize temporary services and treatment that would allow the child alleged to be from a family in need of services to remain at home.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 1, ch. 89-20; s. 232, ch. 95-147; s. 6, ch. 95-280; s. 20, ch. 96-398; s. 99, ch. 97-238; s. 23, ch. 2000-235.
Note.Former s. 39.421.
984.14 Shelter placement; hearing.
(1) Unless ordered by the court pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, or upon voluntary consent to placement by the child and the child’s parent, legal guardian, or custodian, a child taken into custody shall not be placed in a shelter prior to a court hearing unless a determination has been made that the provision of appropriate and available services will not eliminate the need for placement and that such placement is required:
(a) To provide an opportunity for the child and family to agree upon conditions for the child’s return home, when immediate placement in the home would result in a substantial likelihood that the child and family would not reach an agreement; or
(b) Because a parent, custodian, or guardian is unavailable to take immediate custody of the child.
(2) If the department determines that placement in a shelter is necessary according to the provisions of subsection (1), the departmental representative shall authorize placement of the child in a shelter provided by the community specifically for runaways and troubled youth who are children in need of services or members of families in need of services and shall immediately notify the parents or legal custodians that the child was taken into custody.
(3) A child who is involuntarily placed in a shelter shall be given a shelter hearing within 24 hours after being taken into custody to determine whether shelter placement is required. The shelter petition filed with the court shall address each condition required to be determined in subsection (1).
(4) A child may not be held involuntarily in a shelter longer than 24 hours unless an order so directing is made by the court after a shelter hearing finding that placement in a shelter is necessary based on the criteria in subsection (1) and that the department has made reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the home.
(5) Except as provided under s. 984.225, a child in need of services or a child from a family in need of services may not be placed in a shelter for longer than 35 days.
(6) When any child is placed in a shelter pursuant to court order following a shelter hearing, the court shall order the natural or adoptive parents of such child, the natural father of such child born out of wedlock who has acknowledged his paternity in writing before the court, or the guardian of such child’s estate, if possessed of assets which under law may be disbursed for the care, support, and maintenance of the child, to pay, to the department, fees as established by the department. When the order affects the guardianship estate, a certified copy of the order shall be delivered to the judge having jurisdiction of the guardianship estate.
(7) A child who is adjudicated a child in need of services or alleged to be from a family in need of services or a child in need of services may not be placed in a secure detention facility or jail or any other commitment program for delinquent children under any circumstances.
(8) The court may order the placement of a child in need of services into a staff-secure facility for no longer than 5 days for the purpose of evaluation and assessment.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 3, ch. 90-53; s. 6, ch. 90-208; s. 233, ch. 95-147; s. 7, ch. 95-280; s. 21, ch. 96-398; s. 100, ch. 97-238; s. 4, ch. 97-281.
Note.Former s. 39.422.
984.15 Petition for a child in need of services.
(1) All proceedings seeking an adjudication that a child is a child in need of services shall be initiated by the filing of a petition by an attorney representing the department or by the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian. If a child in need of services has been placed in a shelter pursuant to s. 984.14, the department shall file the petition immediately, including in the petition notice of arraignment pursuant to s. 984.20.
(2)(a) The department shall file a petition for a child in need of services if the case manager or staffing committee requests that a petition be filed and:
1. The family and child have in good faith, but unsuccessfully, used the services and process described in ss. 984.11 and 984.12; or
2. The family or child have refused all services described in ss. 984.11 and 984.12 after reasonable efforts by the department to involve the family and child in services and treatment.
(b) Once the requirements in paragraph (a) have been met, the department shall file a petition for a child in need of services within 45 days.
(c) The petition shall be in writing, shall state the specific grounds under s. 984.03(9) by which the child is designated a child in need of services, and shall certify that the conditions prescribed in paragraph (a) have been met. The petition shall be signed by the petitioner under oath stating good faith in filing the petition and shall be signed by an attorney for the department.
(3)(a) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian may file a petition alleging that a child is a child in need of services if:
1. The department waives the requirement for a case staffing committee.
2. The department fails to convene a meeting of the case staffing committee within 7 days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, after receiving a written request for such a meeting from the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian.
3. The parent, guardian, or legal custodian does not agree with the plan for services offered by the case staffing committee.
4. The department fails to provide a written report within 7 days after the case staffing committee meets, as required under s. 984.12(8).
(b) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian must give the department prior written notice of intent to file the petition. If, at the arraignment hearing, the court finds that such written notice of intent to file the petition was not provided to the department, the court shall dismiss the petition, postpone the hearing until such written notice is given, or, if the department agrees, proceed with the arraignment hearing. The petition must be served on the department’s office of general counsel.
(c) The petition must be in writing and must set forth specific facts alleging that the child is a child in need of services as defined in s. 984.03(9). The petition must also demonstrate that the parent, guardian, or legal custodian has in good faith, but unsuccessfully, participated in the services and processes described in ss. 984.11 and 984.12.
(d) The petition must be signed by the petitioner under oath.
(e) The court, on its own motion or the motion of any party or the department, shall determine the legal sufficiency of a petition filed under this subsection and may dismiss any petition that lacks sufficient grounds. In addition, the court shall verify that the child is not:
1. The subject of a pending investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse, neglect, or abandonment;
2. The subject of a pending referral alleging that the child is delinquent; or
3. Under the current supervision of the department or the Department of Children and Families for an adjudication of delinquency or dependency.
(4) The form of the petition and any additional contents shall be determined by rules of procedure adopted by the Supreme Court.
(5) The department or the parent, guardian, or legal custodian may withdraw a petition at any time prior to the child being adjudicated a child in need of services.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 11, ch. 92-170; s. 235, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 95-152; s. 26, ch. 96-398; s. 101, ch. 97-238; s. 8, ch. 97-281; s. 69, ch. 98-280; s. 167, ch. 98-403; s. 338, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.436.
984.151 Truancy petition; prosecution; disposition.
(1) If the school determines that a student subject to compulsory school attendance has had at least five unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a calendar month or 10 unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a 90-calendar-day period pursuant to s. 1003.26(1)(b), or has had more than 15 unexcused absences in a 90-calendar-day period, the superintendent of schools or his or her designee may file a truancy petition.
(2) The petition shall be filed in the circuit in which the student is enrolled in school.
(3) Original jurisdiction to hear a truancy petition shall be in the circuit court; however, the circuit court may use a general or special master pursuant to Supreme Court rules. Upon the filing of the petition, the clerk shall issue a summons to the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the student, directing that person and the student to appear for a hearing at a time and place specified.
(4) The petition must contain the following: the name, age, and address of the student; the name and address of the student’s parent or guardian; the school where the student is enrolled; the efforts the school has made to get the student to attend school; the number of out-of-school contacts between the school system and student’s parent or guardian; and the number of days and dates of days the student has missed school. The petition shall be sworn to by the superintendent or his or her designee.
(5) Once the petition is filed, the court shall hear the petition within 30 days.
(6) The student and the student’s parent or guardian shall attend the hearing.
(7) If the court determines that the student did miss any of the alleged days, the court shall order the student to attend school and the parent to ensure that the student attends school, and may order any of the following: the student to participate in alternative sanctions to include mandatory attendance at alternative classes to be followed by mandatory community services hours for a period up to 6 months; the student and the student’s parent or guardian to participate in homemaker or parent aide services; the student or the student’s parent or guardian to participate in intensive crisis counseling; the student or the student’s parent or guardian to participate in community mental health services if available and applicable; the student and the student’s parent or guardian to participate in service provided by voluntary or community agencies as available; and the student or the student’s parent or guardian to participate in vocational, job training, or employment services.
(8) If the student does not successfully complete the sanctions ordered in subsection (7), the case shall be referred to the case staffing committee under s. 984.12 with a recommendation to file a child-in-need-of-services petition under s. 984.15.
(9) The parent, guardian, or legal custodian and the student shall participate, as required by court order, in any sanctions or services required by the court under this section, and the court shall enforce such participation through its contempt power.
History.s. 75, ch. 99-398; s. 24, ch. 2000-235; s. 1048, ch. 2002-387; s. 7, ch. 2014-39.
984.16 Process and service.
(1) Personal appearance of any person in a hearing before the court shall obviate the necessity of serving process on that person.
(2) Upon the filing of a petition containing allegations of facts which, if true, would constitute the child therein being named a child in need of services, and upon the request of the petitioner, the clerk or deputy clerk shall issue a summons.
(3) The summons shall require the person on whom it is served to appear for a hearing at a time and place specified. Except in cases of medical emergency, the time shall not be less than 24 hours after service of the summons. The summons may require the custodian to bring the child to court if the court determines that the child’s presence is necessary. A copy of the petition shall be attached to the summons.
(4) The summons shall be directed to, and shall be served upon, the following persons:
(a) The parents.
(b) The legal custodian, actual custodian, and guardian ad litem.
(c) The child.
(5) The jurisdiction of the court shall attach to the child and the parent, custodian, or legal guardian of the child and the case when the summons is served upon the child or a parent or legal or actual custodian of the child or when the child is taken into custody with or without service of summons and after filing of a petition for a child in need of services, and thereafter the court may control the child and case in accordance with this chapter.
(6) Upon the application of a party or the petitioner, the clerk or deputy clerk shall issue, and the court on its own motion may issue, subpoenas requiring attendance and testimony of witnesses and production of records, documents, or other tangible objects at any hearing.
(7) All process and orders issued by the court shall be served or executed as other process and orders of the circuit court and, in addition, may be served or executed by authorized agents of the department.
(8) Subpoenas may be served within the state by any person over 18 years of age who is not a party to the proceeding.
(9) No fee shall be paid for service of any process or other papers by an agent of the department. If any process, orders, or other papers are served or executed by any sheriff, the sheriff’s fees shall be paid by the county.
(10) If the party to whom an order is directed is present or represented at the final hearing, service of such order shall not be required.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 12, ch. 92-170; s. 28, ch. 96-398; s. 102, ch. 97-238; s. 70, ch. 98-280.
Note.Former s. 39.437.
984.17 Response to petition and representation of parties.
(1) At the time a petition is filed, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child.
(2) No answer to the petition or any other pleading need be filed by any child, parent, or legal custodian, but any matters which might be set forth in an answer or other pleading may be pleaded orally before the court or filed in writing as any such person may choose. Notwithstanding the filing of an answer or any pleading, the child or parent shall, prior to an adjudicatory hearing, be advised by the court of the right to counsel.
(3) When a petition for a child in need of services has been filed and the parents, guardian, or legal custodian of the child and the child have advised the department that the truth of the allegations is acknowledged and that no contest is to be made of the adjudication, the attorney representing the department may set the case before the court for a disposition hearing. If there is a change in the plea at this hearing, the court shall continue the hearing to permit the attorney representing the department to prepare and present the case.
(4) An attorney representing the department shall represent the state in any proceeding in which the petition alleges that a child is a child in need of services and in which a party denies the allegations of the petition and contests the adjudication.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 13, ch. 92-170; s. 236, ch. 95-147; s. 29, ch. 96-398; s. 103, ch. 97-238; s. 9, ch. 97-281.
Note.Former s. 39.438.
984.18 Referral of child-in-need-of-services cases to mediation.
(1) At any stage in a child-in-need-of-services proceeding, the case staffing committee or any party may request the court to refer the parties to mediation in accordance with chapter 44 and rules and procedures developed by the Supreme Court.
(2) A court may refer the parties to mediation.
(3) The department shall advise the parties or legal guardians that they are responsible for contributing to the cost of the child-in-need-of-services mediation to the extent of their ability to pay.
(4) This section applies only to courts in counties in which child-in-need-of-services mediation programs have been established and does not require the establishment of such programs in any county.
History.s. 23, ch. 94-164; s. 27, ch. 96-398; s. 104, ch. 97-238.
Note.Former s. 39.4365; s. 39.4431.
984.19 Medical screening and treatment of child; examination of parent, guardian, or person requesting custody.
(1) When any child is to be placed in shelter care, the department is authorized to have a medical screening performed on the child without authorization from the court and without consent from a parent or guardian. Such medical screening shall be performed by a licensed health care professional and shall be to examine the child for injury, illness, and communicable diseases. In no case does this subsection authorize the department to consent to medical treatment for such children.
(2) When the department has performed the medical screening authorized by subsection (1) or when it is otherwise determined by a licensed health care professional that a child is in need of medical treatment, consent for medical treatment shall be obtained in the following manner:
(a)1. Consent to medical treatment shall be obtained from a parent or guardian of the child; or
2. A court order for such treatment shall be obtained.
(b) If a parent or guardian of the child is unavailable and his or her whereabouts cannot be reasonably ascertained and it is after normal working hours so that a court order cannot reasonably be obtained, an authorized agent of the department or its provider has the authority to consent to necessary medical treatment for the child. The authority of the department to consent to medical treatment in this circumstance is limited to the time reasonably necessary to obtain court authorization.
(c) If a parent or guardian of the child is available but refuses to consent to the necessary treatment, a court order is required, unless the situation meets the definition of an emergency in s. 743.064 or the treatment needed is related to suspected abuse or neglect of the child by the parent or guardian. In such case, the department has the authority to consent to necessary medical treatment. This authority is limited to the time reasonably necessary to obtain court authorization.

In no case may the department consent to sterilization, abortion, or termination of life support.

(3) A judge may order that a child alleged to be or adjudicated a child in need of services be examined by a licensed health care professional. The judge may also order such child to be evaluated by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, by a district school board educational needs assessment team, or, if a developmental disability is suspected or alleged, by the developmental disability diagnostic and evaluation team of the Department of Children and Families. The judge may order a family assessment if that assessment was not completed at an earlier time. If it is necessary to place a child in a residential facility for such evaluation, then the criteria and procedure established in s. 394.463(2) or chapter 393 shall be used, whichever is applicable. The educational needs assessment provided by the district school board educational needs assessment team shall include, but not be limited to, reports of intelligence and achievement tests, screening for learning disabilities and other handicaps, and screening for the need for alternative education pursuant to s. 1003.53.
(4) A judge may order that a child alleged to be or adjudicated a child in need of services be treated by a licensed health care professional. The judge may also order such child to receive mental health or intellectual disability services from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other appropriate service provider. If it is necessary to place the child in a residential facility for such services, the procedures and criteria established in s. 394.467 or chapter 393 shall be used, as applicable. A child may be provided services in emergency situations pursuant to the procedures and criteria contained in s. 394.463(1) or chapter 393, as applicable.
(5) When there are indications of physical injury or illness, a licensed health care professional shall be immediately called or the child shall be taken to the nearest available hospital for emergency care.
(6) Except as otherwise provided herein, nothing in this section shall be deemed to eliminate the right of a parent, a guardian, or the child to consent to examination or treatment for the child.
(7) Except as otherwise provided herein, nothing in this section shall be deemed to alter the provisions of s. 743.064.
(8) A court shall not be precluded from ordering services or treatment to be provided to the child by a duly accredited practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a church or religious organization, when required by the child’s health and when requested by the child.
(9) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the permanent sterilization of the child, unless such sterilization is the result of or incidental to medically necessary treatment to protect or preserve the life of the child.
(10) For the purpose of obtaining an evaluation or examination or receiving treatment as authorized pursuant to this section, no child alleged to be or found to be a child from a family in need of services or a child in need of services shall be placed in a detention facility or other program used primarily for the care and custody of children alleged or found to have committed delinquent acts.
(11) The parents or guardian of a child alleged to be or adjudicated a child in need of services remain financially responsible for the cost of medical treatment provided to the child even if one or both of the parents or if the guardian did not consent to the medical treatment. After a hearing, the court may order the parents or guardian, if found able to do so, to reimburse the department or other provider of medical services for treatment provided.
(12) Nothing in this section alters the authority of the department to consent to medical treatment for a child who has been committed to the department pursuant to s. 984.22(3) and of whom the department has become the legal custodian.
(13) At any time after the filing of a petition for a child in need of services, when the mental or physical condition, including the blood group, of a parent, guardian, or other person requesting custody of a child is in controversy, the court may order the person to submit to a physical or mental examination by a qualified professional. The order may be made only upon good cause shown and pursuant to notice and procedures as set forth by the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 237, ch. 95-147; s. 30, ch. 96-398; s. 170, ch. 97-101; s. 105, ch. 97-238; s. 1049, ch. 2002-387; s. 164, ch. 2007-5; s. 45, ch. 2013-162; s. 339, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.439; s. 39.446.
984.20 Hearings for child-in-need-of-services cases.
(1) ARRAIGNMENT HEARING.
(a) When a child has been taken into custody by order of the court, an arraignment hearing shall be held within 7 days after the date the child is taken into custody. The hearing shall be held for the child and the parent, guardian, or custodian to admit, deny, or consent to findings that a child is in need of services as alleged in the petition. If the child and the parent, guardian, or custodian admit or consent to the findings in the petition, the court shall proceed as set forth in the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure. However, if either the child or the parent, guardian, or custodian denies any of the allegations of the petition, the court shall hold an adjudicatory hearing within 7 days after the date of the arraignment hearing.
(b) When a child is in the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian, upon the filing of a petition, the clerk shall set a date for an arraignment hearing within a reasonable time from the date of the filing of the petition. If the child and the parent, guardian, or custodian admit or consent to an adjudication, the court shall proceed as set forth in the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure. However, if either the child or the parent, guardian, or custodian denies any of the allegations of child in need of services, the court shall hold an adjudicatory hearing within a reasonable time from the date of the arraignment hearing.
(c) If at the arraignment hearing the child and the parent, guardian, or custodian consents or admits to the allegations in the petition and the court determines that the petition meets the requirements of s. 984.15(3)(e), the court shall proceed to hold a disposition hearing at the earliest practicable time that will allow for the completion of a predisposition study.
(2) ADJUDICATORY HEARING.
(a) The adjudicatory hearing shall be held as soon as practicable after the petition for a child in need of services is filed and in accordance with the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, but reasonable delay for the purpose of investigation, discovery, or procuring counsel or witnesses shall, whenever practicable, be granted. If the child is in custody, the adjudicatory hearing shall be held within 14 days after the date the child was taken into custody.
(b) Adjudicatory hearings shall be conducted by the judge without a jury, applying the rules of evidence in use in civil cases and adjourning the hearings from time to time as necessary. In a hearing on a petition in which it is alleged that the child is a child in need of services, a preponderance of evidence shall be required to establish that the child is in need of services.
(c) All hearings, except as hereinafter provided, shall be open to the public, and no person shall be excluded therefrom except on special order of the judge who, in his or her discretion, may close any hearing to the public when the public interest or the welfare of the child, in his or her opinion, is best served by so doing. Hearings involving more than one child may be held simultaneously when the several children involved are related to each other or were involved in the same case. The child and the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child may be examined separately and apart from each other.
(3) DISPOSITION HEARING.At the disposition hearing, if the court finds that the facts alleged in the petition of a child in need of services were proven in the adjudicatory hearing, the court shall receive and consider a predisposition study, which shall be in writing and be presented by an authorized agent of the department or its provider.
(a) The predisposition study shall cover:
1. All treatment and services that the parent, guardian, or custodian and child received.
2. The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.
3. The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.
4. The length of time that the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
5. The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
6. The moral fitness of the parents.
7. The mental and physical health of the family.
8. The home, school, and community record of the child.
9. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
10. Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant.
(b) The predisposition study also shall provide the court with documentation regarding:
1. The availability of appropriate prevention, services, and treatment for the parent, guardian, custodian, and child to prevent the removal of the child from the home or to reunify the child with the parent, guardian, or custodian after removal or to reconcile the problems between the parent, guardian, or custodian and the child;
2. The inappropriateness of other prevention, treatment, and services that were available;
3. The efforts by the department to prevent out-of-home placement of the child or, when applicable, to reunify the parent, guardian, or custodian if appropriate services were available;
4. Whether the services were provided;
5. If the services and treatment were provided, whether they were sufficient to meet the needs of the child and the family and to enable the child to remain at home or to be returned home;
6. If the services and treatment were not provided, the reasons for such lack of provision; and
7. The need for, or appropriateness of, continuing such treatment and services if the child remains in the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian or if the child is placed outside the home.
(c) If placement of the child with anyone other than the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian is being considered, the study shall include the designation of a specific length of time as to when custody by the parent, guardian, or custodian shall be reconsidered.
(d) A copy of this predisposition study shall be furnished to the person having custody of the child at the time such person is notified of the disposition hearing.

Any other relevant and material evidence, including other written or oral reports, may be received by the court in its effort to determine the action to be taken with regard to the child and may be relied upon to the extent of its probative value, even though not competent in an adjudicatory hearing. Except as provided in paragraph (2)(c), nothing in this section shall prohibit the publication of proceedings in a hearing.

(4) REVIEW HEARINGS.
(a) The court shall hold a review hearing 45 days after the disposition hearing. Additional review hearings may be held as necessary, but no less than 45 days after the date of the last review hearing.
(b) At the review hearings, the court shall close the case if the child has substantially complied with the case plans and court orders and no longer requires continued court supervision, subject to the case being reopened. If the child has significantly failed to comply with the case plan or court orders, the child shall continue to be a child in need of services reviewed by the court as needed, but no less than 45 days after the date of the last review hearing.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 238, ch. 95-147; s. 31, ch. 96-398; s. 106, ch. 97-238; s. 10, ch. 97-281; s. 71, ch. 98-280.
Note.Former s. 39.44.
984.21 Orders of adjudication.
(1) If the court finds that the child named in a petition is not a child in need of services, it shall enter an order so finding and dismissing the case.
(2) If the court finds that the child named in the petition is a child in need of services, but finds that no action other than supervision in the home is required, it may enter an order briefly stating the facts upon which its finding is based, but withholding an order of adjudication and placing the child and family under the supervision of the department. If the court later finds that the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child have not complied with the conditions of supervision imposed, the court may, after a hearing to establish the noncompliance, but without further evidence of the state of the child in need of services, enter an order of adjudication and shall thereafter have full authority under this chapter to provide for the child as adjudicated.
(3) If the court finds that the child named in a petition is a child in need of services, but elects not to proceed under subsection (2), it shall incorporate that finding in an order of adjudication entered in the case, briefly stating the facts upon which the finding is made, and the court shall thereafter have full authority under this chapter to provide for the child as adjudicated.
(4) An order of adjudication by a court that a child is a child in need of services shall not be deemed a conviction, nor shall the child be deemed to have been found guilty or to be a criminal by reason of that adjudication, nor shall that adjudication operate to impose upon the child any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by or resulting from conviction or disqualify or prejudice the child in any civil service application or appointment.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 239, ch. 95-147; s. 107, ch. 97-238; s. 72, ch. 98-280.
Note.Former s. 39.441.
984.22 Powers of disposition.
(1) If the court finds that services and treatment have not been provided or utilized by a child or family, the court having jurisdiction of the child shall have the power to direct the least intrusive and least restrictive disposition, as follows:
(a) Order the parent, guardian, or custodian and the child to participate in treatment, services, and any other alternative identified as necessary.
(b) Order the parent, guardian, or custodian to pay a fine or fee based on the recommendations of the department.
(2) When any child is adjudicated by the court to be a child in need of services, the court having jurisdiction of the child and parent, guardian, or custodian shall have the power, by order, to:
(a) Place the child under the supervision of the department’s contracted provider of programs and services for children in need of services and families in need of services. “Supervision,” for the purposes of this section, means services as defined by the contract between the department and the provider.
(b) Place the child in the temporary legal custody of an adult willing to care for the child.
(c) Commit the child to a licensed child-caring agency willing to receive the child and to provide services without compensation from the department.
(d) Order the child, and, if the court finds it appropriate, the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child, to render community service in a public service program.
(3) When any child is adjudicated by the court to be a child in need of services and temporary legal custody of the child has been placed with an adult willing to care for the child, a licensed child-caring agency, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or the Department of Children and Families, the court shall order the natural or adoptive parents of such child, including the natural father of such child born out of wedlock who has acknowledged his paternity in writing before the court, or the guardian of such child’s estate if possessed of assets which under law may be disbursed for the care, support, and maintenance of such child, to pay child support to the adult relative caring for the child, the licensed child-caring agency, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or the Department of Children and Families. When such order affects the guardianship estate, a certified copy of such order shall be delivered to the judge having jurisdiction of such guardianship estate. If the court determines that the parent is unable to pay support, placement of the child shall not be contingent upon issuance of a support order. The department may employ a collection agency for the purpose of receiving, collecting, and managing the payment of unpaid and delinquent fees. The collection agency must be registered and in good standing under chapter 559. The department may pay to the collection agency a fee from the amount collected under the claim or may authorize the agency to deduct the fee from the amount collected.
(4) All payments of fees made to the department under this chapter, or child support payments made to the department pursuant to subsection (3), shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund.
(5) In carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the court shall order the child, family, parent, guardian, or custodian of a child who is found to be a child in need of services to participate in family counseling and other professional counseling activities or other alternatives deemed necessary for the rehabilitation of the child.
(6) The participation and cooperation of the family, parent, guardian, or custodian, and the child with court-ordered services, treatment, or community service are mandatory, not merely voluntary. The court may use its contempt powers to enforce its order.
History.ss. 8, 12, ch. 87-133; s. 31, ch. 88-337; s. 18, ch. 93-120; s. 240, ch. 95-147; s. 32, ch. 96-398; s. 169, ch. 97-101; s. 108, ch. 97-238; s. 11, ch. 97-281; s. 73, ch. 98-280; s. 72, ch. 2006-227; s. 340, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.442.
984.225 Powers of disposition; placement in a staff-secure shelter.
(1) Subject to specific legislative appropriation, the court may order that a child adjudicated as a child in need of services be placed for up to 90 days in a staff-secure shelter if:
(a) The child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian refuses to provide food, clothing, shelter, and necessary parental support for the child and the refusal is a direct result of an established pattern of significant disruptive behavior of the child in the home of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian;
(b) The child refuses to remain under the reasonable care and custody of his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian, as evidenced by repeatedly running away and failing to comply with a court order; or
(c) The child has failed to successfully complete an alternative treatment program or to comply with a court-ordered sanction and the child has been placed in a residential program on at least one prior occasion pursuant to a court order under this chapter.
(2) This section applies after other alternative, less-restrictive remedies have been exhausted. The court may order that a child be placed in a staff-secure shelter. The department, or an authorized representative of the department, must verify to the court that a bed is available for the child. If the department or an authorized representative of the department verifies that a bed is not available, the department will place the child’s name on a waiting list. The child who has been on the waiting list the longest will get the next available bed.
(3) The court shall order the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to cooperate with efforts to reunite the child with the family, participate in counseling, and pay all costs associated with the care and counseling provided to the child and family, in accordance with the family’s ability to pay as determined by the court. Commitment of a child under this section is designed to provide residential care on a temporary basis. Such commitment does not abrogate the legal responsibilities of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian with respect to the child, except to the extent that those responsibilities are temporarily altered by court order.
(4) While a child is in a staff-secure shelter, the child shall receive education commensurate with his or her grade level and educational ability.
(5) If a child has not been reunited with his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian at the expiration of the 90-day commitment period, the court may order that the child remain in the staff-secure shelter for an additional 30 days if the court finds that reunification could be achieved within that period.
(6) The department is deemed to have exhausted the reasonable remedies offered under this chapter if, at the end of the commitment period, the parent, guardian, or legal custodian continues to refuse to allow the child to remain at home or creates unreasonable conditions for the child’s return. If, at the end of the commitment period, the child is not reunited with his or her parent, guardian, or custodian due solely to the continued refusal of the parent, guardian, or custodian to provide food, clothing, shelter, and parental support, the child is considered to be threatened with harm as a result of such acts or omissions, and the court shall direct that the child be handled in every respect as a dependent child. Jurisdiction shall be transferred to the Department of Children and Families, and the child’s care shall be governed under the relevant provisions of chapter 39.
(7) The court shall review the child’s commitment once every 45 days as provided in s. 984.20. The court shall determine whether the parent, guardian, or custodian has reasonably participated in and financially contributed to the child’s counseling and treatment program. The court shall also determine whether the department’s efforts to reunite the family have been reasonable. If the court finds an inadequate level of support or participation by the parent, guardian, or custodian prior to the end of the commitment period, the court shall direct that the child be handled in every respect as a dependent child. Jurisdiction shall be transferred to the Department of Children and Families, and the child’s care shall be governed under the relevant provisions of chapter 39.
(8) If the child requires residential mental health treatment or residential care for a developmental disability, the court shall refer the child to the Department of Children and Families for the provision of necessary services.
History.s. 12, ch. 97-281; s. 74, ch. 98-280; s. 3, ch. 2000-134; s. 51, ch. 2010-117; s. 341, ch. 2014-19.
984.226 Physically secure setting.
(1) Subject to specific legislative appropriation, the Department of Juvenile Justice shall establish physically secure settings designated exclusively for the placement of children in need of services who meet the criteria provided in this section.
(2) When a petition is filed alleging that a child is a child in need of services, the child must be represented by counsel at each court appearance unless the record in that proceeding affirmatively demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the child knowingly and intelligently waived the right to counsel after being fully advised by the court of the nature of the proceedings and the dispositional alternatives available to the court under this section. If the court decides to appoint counsel for the child and if the child is indigent, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent the child as provided under s. 985.033. Nothing precludes the court from requesting reimbursement of attorney’s fees and costs from the nonindigent parent or legal guardian.
(3) When a child is adjudicated as a child in need of services by a court, the court may order the child to be placed in a physically secure setting authorized in this section if the child has:
(a) Failed to appear for placement in a staff-secure shelter under s. 984.225, or failed to comply with any other provision of a valid court order relating to such placement and, as a result of such failure, has been found to be in direct or indirect contempt of court; or
(b) Run away from a staff-secure shelter following placement under s. 984.225 or s. 984.09.

The department or an authorized representative of the department must verify to the court that a bed is available for the child. If a bed is not available, the court must stay the placement until a bed is available, and the department must place the child’s name on a waiting list. The child who has been on the waiting list the longest has first priority for placement in the physically secure setting.

(4) A child may be placed in a physically secure setting for up to 90 days. If a child has not been reunited with his or her parent, guardian, or legal custodian at the expiration of the placement in a physically secure setting, the court may order that the child remain in the physically secure setting for an additional 30 days if the court finds that reunification could be achieved within that period.
(5)(a) The court shall review the child’s placement once every 45 days as provided in s. 984.20.
(b) At any time during the placement of a child in need of services in a physically secure setting, the department or an authorized representative of the department may submit to the court a report that recommends:
1. That the child has received all of the services available from the physically secure setting and is ready for reunification with a parent or guardian; or
2. That the child is unlikely to benefit from continued placement in the physically secure setting and is more likely to have his or her needs met in a different type of placement.
(c) The court shall determine if the parent, guardian, or custodian has reasonably participated in and has financially contributed to the child’s counseling and treatment program.
(d) If the court finds an inadequate level of support or participation by the parent, guardian, or custodian before the end of the placement, the court shall direct that the child be handled as a dependent child, jurisdiction shall be transferred to the Department of Children and Families, and the child’s care shall be governed by chapter 39.
(e) If the child requires residential mental health treatment or residential care for a developmental disability, the court shall refer the child to the Department of Children and Families for the provision of necessary services.
(6) Prior to being ordered to a physically secure setting, the child must be afforded all rights of due process required under s. 985.037. While in the physically secure setting, the child shall receive appropriate assessment, treatment, and educational services that are designed to eliminate or reduce the child’s truant, ungovernable, or runaway behavior. The child and family shall be provided with family counseling and other support services necessary for reunification.
(7) The court shall order the parent, guardian, or legal custodian to cooperate with efforts to reunite the child with the family, participate in counseling, and pay all costs associated with the care and counseling provided to the child and family, in accordance with the family’s ability to pay as determined by the court. Placement of a child under this section is designed to provide residential care on a temporary basis. Such placement does not abrogate the legal responsibilities of the parent, guardian, or legal custodian with respect to the child, except to the extent that those responsibilities are temporarily altered by court order.
History.s. 13, ch. 97-281; s. 75, ch. 98-280; s. 127, ch. 99-3; s. 4, ch. 2000-134; s. 1, ch. 2000-327; s. 126, ch. 2006-120; s. 342, ch. 2014-19.
984.23 Court and witness fees.In all proceedings under this chapter, no court fees shall be charged against, and no witness fees shall be allowed to, any party to a petition or any parent or legal custodian or child named in a summons. Other witnesses shall be paid the witness fees fixed by law.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 109, ch. 97-238; s. 76, ch. 98-280.
Note.Former s. 39.4375.
984.24 Appeal.The state, any child, or the family, guardian ad litem, or legal custodian of any child who is affected by an order of the court pursuant to this chapter may appeal to the appropriate district court of appeal within the time and in the manner prescribed by the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.
History.s. 8, ch. 87-133; s. 33, ch. 96-398; s. 110, ch. 97-238; s. 77, ch. 98-280; s. 168, ch. 98-403.
Note.Former s. 39.445; s. 39.4441.