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CS/HB 77--Supervised visitation programs.

Pursuant to [section] 753.001, supervised visitation programs provide for "contact between a noncustodial parent and one or more children in the presence of a third person responsible for observing and ensuring the safety of those involved." Supervised visitation programs may also be used to supervise the "movement of a child from the custodial to the noncustodial parent at the start of the visit and back to the custodial parent at the end of the visit." The Florida Supreme Court has, by administrative order, adopted the Minimum Standards for Supervised Visitation Program Agreements. The standards contained in the order provide that the chief judge of each judicial circuit has the responsibility for the oversight of court-ordered, supervised visitation and for agreements with service providers who meet the minimum standards. This bill creates the "Keeping Children Safe Act" which limits visitation of a child by a parent, caregiver, or grandparent who has been reported to the child abuse hotline for sexual abuse of a child or has been convicted of certain crimes involving minors. Specifically, the bill creates a rebuttable presumption that visitation with a parent or caregiver will be detrimental to the child if the parent or caregiver has been reported to the child abuse hotline for sexual abuse of a child or has been convicted of certain crimes involving children. If the presumption is not rebutted, visitation must be prohibited or allowed only through a supervised visitation program. The Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation (Clearinghouse) is located within the College of Social Work at Florida State University. The Clearinghouse was created to provide statewide technical assistance on issues related to supervised visitation programs. The bill directs the Clearinghouse to recommend to the legislature standards that will ensure the quality and safety of supervised visitation programs and requires that, until permanent standards are implemented, supervised visitation programs are to comply with the Florida Supreme Court's Minimum Standards for Supervised Visitation Programs Agreement. In addition, the bill requires that a supervised visitation program that accepts referrals involving sexual abuse must satisfy not only the Minimum Standards for Supervised Visitation Programs Agreement, but also several additional requirements. Specifically, these supervised visitation programs must have specially trained staff and protocols for obtaining background material on client families before the initiation of services. The bill also directs the supervised visitation program to suspend visits if the child appears traumatized or if the visitor engages in inappropriate behavior. If approved by the governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2007.
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Title Annotation:Children & Family Law
Publication:Florida Bar News
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Jul 1, 2007
Previous Article:SB 562--Ownership or transfer of securities.
Next Article:CS/CS/HB 1309--Office of Adoption and Child Protection.

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