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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XXIX
Chapter 402
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F.S. 402.40
402.40 Child welfare training and certification.
(1) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.In order to enable the state to provide a systematic approach to staff development and training for persons providing child welfare services that will meet the needs of such staff in their discharge of duties, it is the intent of the Legislature that the Department of Children and Families work in collaboration with the child welfare stakeholder community, including department-approved third-party credentialing entities, to ensure that staff have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to competently provide child welfare services. It is the intent of the Legislature that each person providing child welfare services in this state earns and maintains a professional certification from a professional credentialing entity that is approved by the Department of Children and Families. The Legislature further intends that certification and training programs will aid in the reduction of poor staff morale and of staff turnover, will positively impact on the quality of decisions made regarding children and families who require assistance from programs providing child welfare services, and will afford better quality care of children who must be removed from their families.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Child welfare certification” means a professional credential awarded by a department-approved third-party credentialing entity to individuals demonstrating core competency in any child welfare practice area.
(b) “Child welfare services” means any intake, protective investigations, preprotective services, protective services, foster care, shelter and group care, and adoption and related services program, including supportive services and supervision provided to children who are alleged to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected or who are at risk of becoming, are alleged to be, or have been found dependent pursuant to chapter 39.
(c) “Child welfare trainer” means any person providing training for the purposes of child welfare professionals earning certification.
(d) “Core competency” means the minimum knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to carry out work responsibilities.
(e) “Person providing child welfare services” means a person who has a responsibility for supervisory, direct care, or support-related work in the provision of child welfare services pursuant to chapter 39.
(f) “Preservice curriculum” means the minimum statewide training content based upon the core competencies which is made available to all persons providing child welfare services.
(g) “Third-party credentialing entity” means a department-approved nonprofit organization that has met nationally recognized standards for developing and administering professional certification programs.
(3) THIRD-PARTY CREDENTIALING ENTITIES.The department shall approve one or more third-party credentialing entities for the purpose of developing and administering child welfare certification programs for persons who provide child welfare services. A third-party credentialing entity shall request such approval in writing from the department. In order to obtain approval, the third-party credentialing entity must:
(a) Establish professional requirements and standards that applicants must achieve in order to obtain a child welfare certification and to maintain such certification.
(b) Develop and apply core competencies and examination instruments according to nationally recognized certification and psychometric standards.
(c) Maintain a professional code of ethics and a disciplinary process that apply to all persons holding child welfare certification.
(d) Maintain a database, accessible to the public, of all persons holding child welfare certification, including any history of ethical violations.
(e) Require annual continuing education for persons holding child welfare certification.
(f) Administer a continuing education provider program to ensure that only qualified providers offer continuing education opportunities for certificateholders.
(g) Review the findings and all relevant records involving the death of a child or other critical incident following completion of any reviews by the department, the inspector general, or the Office of the Attorney General. Such review may occur only upon the filing of a complaint from an outside party involving certified personnel. This review shall assess the certified personnel’s compliance with the third-party credentialing entity’s published code of ethical and professional conduct and disciplinary procedures.
(h) Maintain an advisory committee, including representatives from each region of the department and each community-based care lead agency, who shall be appointed by the organization they represent. The third-party credentialing entity may appoint additional members to the advisory committee.
(a) There is created within the State Treasury a Child Welfare Training Trust Fund to be used by the Department of Children and Families for the purpose of funding the professional development of persons providing child welfare services.
(b) One dollar from every noncriminal traffic infraction collected pursuant to s. 318.14(10)(b) or s. 318.18 shall be deposited into the Child Welfare Training Trust Fund.
(c) In addition to the funds generated by paragraph (b), the trust fund shall receive funds generated from an additional fee on birth certificates and dissolution of marriage filings, as specified in ss. 382.0255 and 28.101, respectively, and may receive funds from any other public or private source.
(d) Funds that are not expended by the end of the budget cycle or through a supplemental budget approved by the department shall revert to the trust fund.
(a) The Department of Children and Families shall approve the core competencies and related preservice curricula that ensures that each person delivering child welfare services obtains the knowledge, skills, and abilities to competently carry out his or her work responsibilities.
(b) The identification of these core competencies and development of preservice curricula shall be a collaborative effort that includes professionals who have expertise in child welfare services, department-approved third-party credentialing entities, and providers that will be affected by the curriculum, including, but not limited to, representatives from the community-based care lead agencies, the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, and child welfare legal services providers.
(c) Community-based care agencies and the department may contract for the delivery of preservice and any additional training for persons delivering child welfare services if the curriculum satisfies the department-approved core competencies.
(d) The department may also approve certifications involving specializations in serving specific populations or in skills relevant to child protection to be awarded to persons delivering child welfare services by a third-party credentialing entity approved pursuant to subsection (3).
(e) Department-approved credentialing entities shall, for a period of at least 12 months after implementation of the third-party child welfare certification programs, grant reciprocity and award a child welfare certification to individuals who hold current department-issued child welfare certification in good standing, at no cost to the department or the certificateholder.
(6) ADOPTION OF RULES.The Department of Children and Families shall adopt rules necessary to carry out this section, including the requirements for child welfare trainers. 105, 106, ch. 86-220; s. 4, ch. 87-108; s. 68, ch. 91-221; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 79, ch. 95-143; s. 815, ch. 95-148; s. 83, ch. 96-175; s. 111, ch. 97-237; s. 150, ch. 99-8; ss. 40, 60, ch. 2000-139; s. 89, ch. 2000-165; s. 28, ch. 2001-89; s. 4, ch. 2003-146; s. 8, ch. 2006-296; s. 110, ch. 2010-102; s. 31, ch. 2010-151; s. 1, ch. 2011-163; s. 148, ch. 2014-19; s. 22, ch. 2014-224; s. 29, ch. 2017-151; s. 11, ch. 2020-6; s. 7, ch. 2020-40; s. 11, ch. 2023-77.