Online Sunshine Logo
Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature
December 16, 2018
Text: 'NEW Advanced Legislative Search'
Interpreter Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Go to MyFlorida House
Select Year:  
The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 409
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
View Entire Chapter
F.S. 409.176
409.176 Registration of residential child-caring agencies and family foster homes.
(1)(a) A residential child-caring agency or family foster home may not receive a child for continuing full-time care or custody, and a residential child-caring agency may not place a child for full-time continuing care or custody in a family foster home, unless it has first registered with an association that is certified by a Florida statewide child care organization which was in existence on January 1, 1984, and which publishes, and requires compliance with, its standards and files copies thereof with the department as provided in paragraph (5)(b). For purposes of this section, such an association shall be referred to as the “qualified association.”
(b) For the purposes of this section, the terms “child,” “family foster home,” “screening,” and “residential child-caring agency” are defined as provided in s. 409.175(2), and the terms “personnel,” “operator,” and “owner” as they pertain to “residential child-caring agency” are defined as provided in s. 409.175.
(c) As used in this section, the term “facility” means a residential child-caring agency or a family foster home.
(2)(a) Registration shall consist of annually filing with the qualified association, on forms provided by the qualified association, the name and address of the facility; the capacity of, and the number of children being cared for in, the facility; the names and addresses of the officers and the board of directors or other governing body of the organization, if applicable; the name of the officer or person in charge of the facility; and proof that the facility is in compliance with the minimum health, sanitary, and safety standards required by applicable state law or local ordinance, and the uniform firesafety standards required by chapter 633, and in compliance with the requirements for screening of personnel in s. 409.175 and chapter 435. A separate registration form shall be filed for each such facility.
(b) As part of the registration application, each child-caring agency and each family foster home shall annually provide to the qualified association the names and ages of children being cared for in the facility; the names of children who have been received from out of state or who have been sent out of state during the past calendar year; the names of children who have left the facility during the past year, the lengths of their stays, and the nature of the placements; the names of all personnel; and proof that the facility is in compliance with published minimum standards that are filed with the department under the provisions of paragraph (5)(b). The agency shall also attest to the good moral character of the personnel of the facility by providing proof of compliance with the screening requirements of s. 409.175 and chapter 435 and provide the name of any member of the staff having a prior felony conviction.
(c) Upon verification that all requirements for registration have been met, the qualified association shall issue without charge a certificate of registration valid for 1 year.
(3) Access shall be provided at reasonable times for the appropriate state and local officials responsible for the maintenance of fire, health, sanitary, and safety standards to inspect the facility to assure such compliance.
(4) Facilities licensed under the provisions of s. 409.175 shall be classified as “Type I” facilities. Facilities registered under the provisions of this section shall be classified as “Type II” facilities.
(5) The licensing provisions of s. 409.175 do not apply to a facility operated by an organization that:
(a) Is a religious organization that does not directly receive state or federal funds or is a family foster home that is associated with such an organization and does not directly receive state or federal funds.
(b) Is certified by a Florida statewide child care organization which was in existence on January 1, 1984, and which publishes, and requires compliance with, its standards and files copies thereof with the department. Such standards shall be in substantial compliance with published minimum standards that similar licensed child-caring agencies or family foster homes are required to meet, as determined by the department, with the exception of those standards of a curricular or religious nature and those relating to staffing or financial stability. Once the department has determined that the standards for child-caring agencies or family foster homes are in substantial compliance with minimum standards that similar facilities are required to meet, the standards do not have to be resubmitted to the department unless a change occurs in the standards. Any changes in the standards shall be provided to the department within 10 days of their adoption.
(c) Has been issued a certificate of registration by the qualified association.
(6) Each child served by a Type II facility shall be covered by a written contract, executed at the time of admission or prior thereto, between the facility and the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child. Such person shall be given a copy of the contract at the time of its execution, and the facility shall retain the original contract. Each contract shall:
(a) Enumerate the basic services and accommodations provided by the facility.
(b) State that the facility is a Type II facility.
(c) Contain the address and telephone number of the qualified association.
(d) Specify the charges, if any, to the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child.
(e) Contain a clear statement regarding disciplinary procedures.
(f) State that the goal of the facility is to return the child it serves to the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child, within 1 year from the time the child enters the facility.
(g) Authorize the facility administrator or his or her designee to consent to routine and emergency medical care on behalf of the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child, provided the facility administrator shall immediately notify the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child of medical care being provided on his or her behalf. Authorization of this power shall be granted only upon the separate consent in the contract of the parent, legal guardian, or person having legal custody of the child.

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

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

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

(10)(a) The qualified association shall notify the department within 24 hours after the qualified association finds there is a violation of any of the provisions of this section which threatens harm to any child or which constitutes an emergency requiring immediate action.
(b) The qualified association shall notify the department within 3 calendar days after the qualified association finds that a person or facility continues to care for children without a certificate of registration issued pursuant to this section, a license pursuant to s. 409.175, or registration as a boarding school pursuant to s. 409.175. The department shall notify the appropriate state attorney of the violation of law and, if necessary, shall institute a civil suit to enjoin the person or facility from continuing the care of children.
(c) The department may institute injunctive proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction to:
1. Enforce the provisions of this section; or
2. Terminate the operation of a facility in which any of the conditions described in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) exist.

Such injunctive relief may be temporary or permanent.

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

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

(13) Any facility registered or meeting the requirements of registration under this section may apply for a license under this chapter. A facility which has applied for and received a license is no longer eligible to operate under the provisions of this section.
(14) Registration under this section, including the issue of substantial compliance with published minimum standards that similar licensed child-caring facilities or family foster homes are required to meet, as provided in paragraph (5)(b), is subject to the provisions of chapter 120.
(15) The qualified association issuing certificates of registration for Type II facilities under this section shall annually report to the department the following information:
(a) The number of Type II facilities registered during the most recent calendar year, the names and addresses of the facilities, and the name of each facility’s administrator.
(b) The total number of children served by each facility during the calendar year.

The department may impose an administrative fine against the qualified association not to exceed $250 per violation for failure to comply with the requirements of this section.

History.ss. 3, 21, ch. 84-311; s. 36, ch. 85-54; s. 30, ch. 91-57; s. 3, ch. 91-71; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 2, ch. 94-257; s. 3, ch. 96-402; s. 253, ch. 96-406; s. 1019, ch. 97-103; s. 147, ch. 98-403; s. 11, ch. 2000-139; s. 9, ch. 2001-68; s. 2, ch. 2013-219.