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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 985
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F.S. 985.01
985.01 Purposes and intent.
(1) The purposes of this chapter are:
(a) To increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention, and treatment services that strengthen and reform the lives of children.
(b) To provide judicial and other procedures to assure due process through which children, victims, 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.
(c) To provide an environment that fosters healthy social, emotional, intellectual, educational, 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.
(d) 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, whenever possible, restitution to the victim of the offense.
(e) To preserve and strengthen the child’s family ties whenever possible, by providing for removal of the child from the physical custody of a parent 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.
(f)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.
(g) To provide children committed to the department with training in life skills, including career and technical education, when appropriate.
(h) To care for children in the least restrictive and most appropriate service environments to ensure that children assessed as low and moderate risk to reoffend are not committed to residential programs, unless the court deems such placement appropriate.
(i) To allocate resources for the most effective programs, services, and treatments to ensure that children, their families, and their community support systems are connected with these programs at the points along the juvenile justice continuum where they will have the most impact.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that this chapter be liberally interpreted and construed in conformity with its declared purposes.
History.s. 1, ch. 97-238; s. 12, ch. 2001-125; s. 64, ch. 2004-267; ss. 2, 87, ch. 2006-120; s. 1, ch. 2014-162.