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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title V
Chapter 39
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F.S. 39.4021
39.4021 Priority placement for out-of-home placements.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.The Legislature finds that it is a basic tenet of child welfare practice and the law that a child be placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting available in close proximity to the home of his or her parents which meets the needs of the child, and that a child be placed in a permanent home in a timely manner.
(a) When a child cannot safely remain at home with a parent, out-of-home placement options must be considered in the following order:
1. Nonoffending parent.
2. Relative caregiver.
3. Adoptive parent of the child’s sibling, when the department or community-based care lead agency is aware of such sibling.
4. Fictive kin with a close existing relationship to the child.
5. Nonrelative caregiver that does not have an existing relationship with the child.
6. Licensed foster care.
7. Group or congregate care.
(b) Except as otherwise provided for in ss. 39.4022 and 39.4024, sibling groups must be placed in the same placement whenever possible and if placement together is in the best interest of each child in the sibling group. Placement decisions for sibling groups must be made pursuant to ss. 39.4022 and 39.4024.
(c) Except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, a change to a child’s physical or legal placement after the child has been sheltered but before the child has achieved permanency must be made in compliance with this section. Placements made pursuant to s. 63.082(6) are exempt from this section.
History.s. 5, ch. 2021-169.