Nehr Gives Foster Children Access to Their Personal Records
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation by State Representative Peter Nehr (R-Tarpon Springs) and Senator Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland) which gives foster children full access to their personal records.
"Currently Florida law allows the Department of Children and Families and state and local agencies to remove information from a child's personal record before giving that information to the child and those responsible for their care," said Representative Nehr. "This legislation ensures that caregivers of foster children have access to the necessary information so they may make better decisions in regards the best interest of the child."
Senate Bill (SB) 126 requires that a case record for a child under the supervision of, or in the custody of, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) be maintained in a complete and accurate manner. The records must be made available for inspection and copying, upon the request of, and at no cost to, the child and the child's guardian ad litem, attorney or caregiver. The bill also provides for sanctions and penalties if a person or entity who fails to provide the child's case record or does not do so within a reasonable time.
Additionally, SB 126 specifies that DCF must provide notice to a child previously in DCF's custody, or the legal custodian of the child, which specifies how the child's records may be obtained. DCF must maintain a child's records until he or she reaches the age of 30.
The bill will become effective July 1, 2009 if signed by Governor Crist.
Return to Current Edition