2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title V JUDICIAL BRANCH
Chapter 39 PROCEEDINGS RELATING TO CHILDREN
SECTION 0132Oaths, records, and confidential information.
39.0132 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 dependent child until 7 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, except that records of cases where orders were entered permanently depriving a parent of the custody of a juvenile shall be preserved permanently. 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 may be filed therein.
(3) The clerk shall keep all court records required by this chapter separate from other records of the circuit court. All court records required by this chapter shall not be open to inspection by the public. All records shall be inspected only upon order of the court by persons 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 of the child and their attorneys, the guardian ad litem, criminal conflict and civil regional counsels, law enforcement agencies, and the department and its designees shall always have the right to inspect and copy any official record pertaining to the child. The Justice Administrative Commission may inspect court dockets required by this chapter as necessary to audit compensation of court-appointed attorneys. If the docket is insufficient for purposes of the audit, the commission may petition the court for additional documentation as necessary and appropriate. 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 may deem proper, and may punish by contempt proceedings any violation of those conditions.
(4)(a)1. All information obtained pursuant to this part in the discharge of official duty by any judge, employee of the court, authorized agent of the department, correctional probation officer, or law enforcement agent is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and may not be disclosed to anyone other than the authorized personnel of the court, the department and its designees, correctional probation officers, law enforcement agents, the guardian ad litem, criminal conflict and civil regional counsels, and others entitled under this chapter to receive that information, except upon order of the court.
2.a. The following information held by a guardian ad litem is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
(I) Medical, mental health, substance abuse, child care, education, law enforcement, court, social services, and financial records.
(II) Any other information maintained by a guardian ad litem which is identified as confidential information under this chapter.
b. Such confidential and exempt information may not be disclosed to anyone other than the authorized personnel of the court, the department and its designees, correctional probation officers, law enforcement agents, guardians ad litem, and others entitled under this chapter to receive that information, except upon order of the court.
(b) The department shall disclose to the school superintendent the presence of any child in the care and custody or under the jurisdiction or supervision of the department who has a known history of criminal sexual behavior with other juveniles; is an alleged juvenile sex offender, as defined in 1s. 39.01; or has pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or has been found to have committed, a violation of chapter 794, chapter 796, chapter 800, s. 827.071, or s. 847.0133, regardless of adjudication. Any employee of a district school board who knowingly and willfully discloses such information to an unauthorized person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(5) All orders of the court entered pursuant to this chapter shall be in writing and signed by the judge, except that the clerk or deputy clerk may sign a summons or notice to appear.
(6) No court record of proceedings under this chapter shall be 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 in the manner hereinafter provided.
(b) Records necessary therefor shall be admissible in evidence in any case in which a person is being tried upon a charge of having committed perjury.
(c) Records of proceedings under this chapter may be used to prove disqualification pursuant to s. 435.06 and for proof regarding such disqualification in a chapter 120 proceeding.
(d) A final order entered pursuant to an adjudicatory hearing is admissible in evidence in any subsequent civil proceeding relating to placement of, access to, parental time with, adoption of, or parental rights and responsibilities for the same child or a sibling of that child.
(e) Evidence admitted in any proceeding under this chapter may be admissible in evidence when offered by any party in a subsequent civil proceeding relating to placement of, access to, parental time with, adoption of, or parental rights and responsibilities for the same child or a sibling of that child if:
1. Notice is given to the opposing party or opposing party’s counsel of the intent to offer the evidence and a copy of such evidence is delivered to the opposing party or the opposing party’s counsel; and
2. The evidence is otherwise admissible in the subsequent civil proceeding.
(7) Final orders, records, and evidence in any proceeding under this chapter which are subsequently admitted in evidence pursuant to subsection (6) remain subject to subsections (3) and (4).
History.—s. 20, ch. 78-414; s. 15, ch. 79-164; s. 3, ch. 87-238; s. 40, ch. 89-526; s. 7, ch. 90-208; s. 13, ch. 90-360; s. 16, ch. 91-57; s. 18, ch. 93-39; s. 32, ch. 95-228; s. 119, ch. 95-418; s. 3, ch. 96-268; s. 16, ch. 96-406; s. 1, ch. 98-158; s. 26, ch. 98-403; s. 16, ch. 99-2; s. 8, ch. 99-193; s. 10, ch. 99-284; s. 17, ch. 2000-139; s. 2, ch. 2005-213; s. 24, ch. 2005-236; s. 4, ch. 2005-239; s. 12, ch. 2008-4; s. 1, ch. 2010-75; s. 5, ch. 2022-195.
1Note.—Prior to amendment by s. 3, ch. 2014-224, s. 39.01(7) defined “alleged juvenile sexual offender” and “juvenile sexual abuse.” Section 3, ch. 2014-224, removed the definition of “alleged juvenile sexual offender”; s. 39.01(7) was renumbered as s. 39.01(38) by s. 3, ch. 2021-51, and still defines “juvenile sexual abuse.”
Note.—Former s. 39.411.