2022 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXX SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 409 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
SECTION 145Care of children; “reasonable and prudent parent” standard.
409.145 Care of children; “reasonable and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster care to provide quality parenting, including approving or disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent” standard.
(1) SYSTEM OF CARE.—The department shall develop, implement, and administer a coordinated community-based system of care for children who are found to be dependent and their families. This system of care must be directed toward the following goals:
(a) Prevention of separation of children from their families.
(b) Intervention to allow children to remain safely in their own homes.
(c) Reunification of families who have had children removed from their care.
(d) Safety for children who are separated from their families by providing alternative emergency or longer-term parenting arrangements.
(e) Focus on the well-being of children through emphasis on maintaining educational stability and providing timely health care.
(f) Permanency for children for whom reunification with their families is not possible or is not in the best interest of the child.
(g) The transition to independence and self-sufficiency for older children who remain in foster care through adolescence.
(2) REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD.—
(a) Definitions.—As used in this subsection, the term:
1. “Age-appropriate” means an activity or item that is generally accepted as suitable for a child of the same chronological age or level of maturity. Age appropriateness is based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacity which is typical for an age or age group.
2. “Caregiver” means a person with whom the child is placed in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group care facility licensed by the department under s. 409.175.
3. “Reasonable and prudent parent” standard means the standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to allow a child in his or her care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental decisionmaking that is intended to maintain a child’s health, safety, and best interest while encouraging the child’s emotional and developmental growth.
(b) Application of standard of care.—
1. Every child who comes into out-of-home care pursuant to this chapter is entitled to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
2. Each caregiver shall use the reasonable and prudent parent standard in determining whether to give permission for a child living in out-of-home care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, or social activities. When using the reasonable and prudent parent standard, the caregiver must consider:
a. The child’s age, maturity, and developmental level to maintain the overall health and safety of the child.
b. The potential risk factors and the appropriateness of the extracurricular, enrichment, or social activity.
c. The best interest of the child, based on information known by the caregiver.
d. The importance of encouraging the child’s emotional and developmental growth.
e. The importance of providing the child with the most family-like living experience possible.
f. The behavioral history of the child and the child’s ability to safely participate in the proposed activity.
(c) Verification of services delivered.—The department and each community-based care lead agency shall verify that private agencies providing out-of-home care services to dependent children have policies in place which are consistent with this section and that these agencies promote and protect the ability of dependent children to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities.
(d) Limitation of liability.—A caregiver is not liable for harm caused to a child who participates in an activity approved by the caregiver, provided that the caregiver has acted in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard. This paragraph may not be interpreted as removing or limiting any existing liability protection afforded by law.
(3) ROOM AND BOARD RATES.—
(a) Effective July 1, 2022, room and board rates shall be paid to foster parents, including relative and nonrelative caregivers who are licensed as a level I child-specific foster placement, and to relative and nonrelative caregivers who are participating in the Relative Caregiver Program and receiving payments pursuant to s. 39.5085(2)(d)1. or 2., as follows:
Monthly Room and Board Rate
(b) Each January, foster parents, including relative and nonrelative caregivers who are licensed as a level I child-specific foster placement and relative and nonrelative caregivers who are participating in the Relative Caregiver Program and receiving payments pursuant to s. 39.5085(2)(d)1. or 2., shall receive an annual cost of living increase. The department shall calculate the new room and board rate increase equal to the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, U.S. City Average, All Items, not seasonally adjusted, or successor reports, for the preceding December compared to the prior December as initially reported by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The department shall make available the adjusted room and board rates annually.
(c) The amount of the monthly room and board rate may be increased upon agreement among the department, the community-based care lead agency, and the foster parent.
(d) Effective July 1, 2022, community-based care lead agencies providing care under contract with the department shall pay a supplemental room and board payment to foster parents, including relative and nonrelative caregivers who are licensed as a level I child-specific foster placement and relative and nonrelative caregivers who are participating in the Relative Caregiver Program and receiving payments pursuant to s. 39.5085(2)(d)1. or 2., on a per-child basis, for providing independent life skills and normalcy supports to children who are 13 through 17 years of age placed in their care. The supplemental payment must be paid monthly in addition to the current monthly room and board rate payment. The supplemental monthly payment shall be based on 10 percent of the monthly room and board rate for children 13 through 21 years of age as provided under this section and adjusted annually.
(4) CHILD CARE SUBSIDY.—Any foster parents and relative or nonrelative caregivers, regardless of whether the relative or nonrelative caregivers are licensed as a level I child-specific foster placement or participate in the Relative Caregiver Program, who have a child placed in out-of-home care in the home between the age of birth to school entry shall receive a payment of $200 per month per child to pay toward the cost of an early learning or child care program.
(5) RULEMAKING.—The department shall adopt by rule procedures to administer this section.
History.—s. 1, ch. 69-268; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-255; s. 26, ch. 73-334; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 273, ch. 77-147; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 4, ch. 78-190; s. 5, ch. 78-433; s. 101, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 80-174; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 3, 4, ch. 83-250; s. 39, ch. 88-337; ss. 3, 4, ch. 93-115; ss. 46, 55, ch. 94-164; s. 42, ch. 97-103; s. 37, ch. 98-280; s. 77, ch. 2000-139; s. 49, ch. 2000-153; s. 1, ch. 2000-180; s. 9, ch. 2000-217; s. 49, ch. 2001-62; ss. 2, 9, ch. 2002-19; s. 991, ch. 2002-387; s. 7, ch. 2013-178; s. 3, ch. 2015-130; s. 20, ch. 2018-103; s. 76, ch. 2019-3; s. 11, ch. 2020-138; s. 2, ch. 2022-68.