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In re Amendments to Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure

Supreme Court of Florida

July 19, 2018

IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA RULES OF JUVENILE PROCEDURE - 2018 FAST-TRACK REPORT.

         Original Proceeding - Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure

          David Neal Silverstein, Chair, Bradenton, Florida, and Kara Ann Fenlon, Past Chair, Juvenile Court Rules Committee, Tallahassee, Florida; and Joshua E. Doyle, Executive Director, and Mikalla Andies Davis, Staff Liaison, The Florida Bar, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner

          PER CURIAM.

         The Florida Bar's Juvenile Court Rules Committee (Committee) has filed a "fast-track" out-of-cycle report proposing amendments to the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure in response to recent legislation. See Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.140(e)(1). We have jurisdiction[1] and adopt the amendments as proposed.

         The Committee proposes amendments to rules 8.305 (Shelter Petition, Hearing, and Order), 8.340 (Disposition Hearings), 8.400 (Case Plan Development), 8.415 (Judicial Review of Dependency Cases), 8.420 (Case Plan Amendments), and 8.425 (Permanency Hearings). The amendments implement changes to chapter 39, Florida Statutes (2017), made by chapters 2018-45, 2018-103, and 2018-108, Laws of Florida, which became effective July 1, 2018.[2]

         The Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar unanimously approved the Committee's proposals. The Committee did not publish the proposals before filing them with the Court.

         After considering the proposed amendments and reviewing the relevant legislation, we amend the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure as proposed by the Committee. The more significant amendments are discussed below.

         Subdivision (b)(12) of rule 8.305 (Shelter Petition, Hearing, and Order) is amended to add the child's child care records and early education program records to the list of records that the court, at the shelter hearing, must request the parents to consent to provide access to. See ch. 2018-108, § 2, Laws of Fla. (amending 39.402(11)(c), Fla. Stat. (2017)). The amendment to subdivision (c)(9) of rule 8.340 (Disposition Hearings) requires the disposition order to include requirements to preserve the stability of the child's child care, early education program, or any other educational placement. See id.

         New subdivision (b)(6) is added to rule 8.400 (Case Plan Development) to require that if the parent is incarcerated, the case plan contain the list of services available to the parent at the facility. See ch. 2018-45, § 1, Laws of Fla. (creating § 39.6021(1), Fla. Stat.).

         Two sentences are added to subdivision (i)(1) of rule 8.415 (Judicial Review of Dependency Cases) that require the court to consider, at the judicial review hearing, "the level of the parent or legal custodian's compliance with the case plan and demonstrated change in protective capacities compared to that necessary to achieve timely reunification within 12 months after the removal of the child from the home" and "the frequency, duration, manner, and level of engagement of the parent or legal custodian's visitation with the child in compliance with the case plan." See ch. 2018-103, § 12, Laws of Fla. (amending § 39.701(2)(d)(5), Fla. Stat. (2017)).

         A new paragraph is added at the end of subdivision (a) of rule 8.420 (Case Plan Amendments) to address the factors the court must consider in amending the case plan. See ch. 2018-103, § 7, Laws of Fla. (adding subsection (6) to § 39.6013, Fla. Stat. (2017)). New subdivision (b)(6) is added to rule 8.420 to address case plan modification when the parent is incarcerated after a case plan has been developed. See ch. 2018-45, § 1, Laws of Fla. (creating section 39.6021(5), Fla. Stat.).

         New subdivision (b)(1)(D) is added to rule 8.425 (Permanency Hearings) to require the court, at the permanency hearing, to consider whether the frequency, duration, manner, and level of engagement of the parent or legal guardian's visitation with the child meets the requirements of the case plan. See ch. 2018-103, § 8, Laws of Fla. (adding paragraph (d) to § 39.621(5), Fla. Stat. (2017)). Finally, new subdivision (d)(5)(F) is added to rule 8.425 to require the permanent guardianship order to state whether the child demonstrates a strong attachment to the prospective permanent guardian and whether the prospective permanent guardian demonstrates a strong commitment to permanently caring for the child. See ch. 2018-103, § 9 (adding paragraph (f) to § 39.6221(1), Fla. Stat. (2017)).

         Accordingly, the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure are amended as reflected in the appendix to this opinion. New language is indicated by underscoring; deletions are indicated by struck-through type. The amendments shall take effect immediately upon the release of this opinion. Because the amendments were not published for comment prior to their adoption, interested persons shall have sixty days from the date of this opinion in which to file comments with the Court.[3]

         It is so ordered.

          CANADY, CJ, and PARIENTE, LEWIS, QUINCE, POLSTON, LABARGA, and LAWSON, JJ., concur.

         THE FILING OF A MOTION FOR REHEARING SHALL NOT ALTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THESE AMENDMENTS.

          APPENDIX

         RULE 8.305. SHELTER PETITION, HEARING, AND ORDER

         (a) [No Change]

         (b) Shelter Hearing.

         (1) - (11) [No Change]

         (12) The court must request that the parents consent to provide access to the child's medical records and to the child's child care records, early education program records, or other educational records and provide information to the court, the department, or its contract agencies, and any guardian ad litem or attorney for the child. If a parent is unavailable, is unable to consent, or withholds consent and the court determines access to the records and information is necessary to provide services for the child, the court shall issue an order granting access.

         (13)- (15) [No Change]

         (c)- (d) [No Change]

         RULE 8.340.DISPOS ...


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