The Florida Supreme Court recently adopted amendments to the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, as proposed by The Florida Bar's Juvenile Court Rules Committee. The amendments are in response to the passage of the Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act, chapter 2013-178, Laws of Florida. The court invites all interested persons to comment on the amendments, which are reproduced in full below, as well as online at www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/opinions.shtml. All comments must be filed with the court on or before May 19, with a certificate of service verifying that a copy has been served on Committee Chair Whitney Marie Untiedt, Office of the Public Defender, 35 N. Main Street, Gainesville 32601-5323, firstname.lastname@example.org, and on the Bar staff liaison to the committee, Ellen Sloyer, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300, email@example.com, as well as a separate request for oral argument if the person filing the comment wishes to participate in oral argument, which may be scheduled in this case. The committee chair has until June 9 to file a response to any comments filed with the court. If filed by an attorney in good standing with The Florida Bar, the comment must be electronically filed via the Portal in accordance with In re Electronic Filing in the Supreme Court of Flori da via the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC13-7 (Feb. 18. 2013). If filed by a nonlawyer or a lawyer not licensed to practice in Florida, the comment must be electronically filed via e-mail in accordance with/?; re Mandatory Submission of Electronic Copies of Documents, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC04-84 (Sept. 13, 2004). Electronically filed documents must be submitted in Microsoft Word 97 or higher. Any person unable to submit a comment electronically must mail or hand-deliver the originally signed comment to the Florida Supreme Court, Office of the Clerk, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee 32399-1927; no additional copies are required or will be accepted.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA IN RE: AMENDMENTS TO FLORIDA RULES OF JUVENILE PROCEDURE. CASE NO. SC13-2385 RULE 8.401. CASE PLAN DEVELOPMENT FOR YOUNG ADULTS
(a) Case Planning Conference. The case plan must be developed in a face-to-face conference with the young adult, the guardian ad litem, attorney ad litem and, when appropriate, the legal guardian of the young adult, if the young adult is not of the capacity to participate in the case planning process.
(b) Contents. The case plan must be written simply and clearly in English and the principal language of the young adult. Each case plan must contain
(1) A description of the services, including independent living services, to be provided to the young adult;
(2) A copy of the young adult's transition plan;
(3) The permanency goal of transition from licensed care to independent living; and
(4) The date the compliance period expires.
(c) Department Responsibility.
(1) After the case plan has been developed, the department must prepare the written case plan for each young adult receiving services under Chapter 39. Florida Statutes.
(2) After the case plan has been developed, and before acceptance by the court, the department must make the appropriate referrals for services that will allow the young adult to begin receiving the agreed-upon services immediately.
(3) The department must immediately provide the young adult a signed copy of the agreed upon case plan.
(4) Not less than 3 business days before a judicial review or permanency hearing, the department must file the case plan with the court.
(d) Signature. The case plan must be signed by the young adult, all parties and, when appropriate, the legal guardian if the young adult is not of the capacity to participate in the case planning process.
(e) Service. Each party must be served with a copy of the case plan not less than 3 business days before the judicial review hearing. If the location of the young adult is unknown, this fact must be documented in writing and filed with the court.
(f) Re-admitted to Care. If the department petitions the court for reinstatement of jurisdiction after a young adult has been re-admitted to care under Chapter 39. Florida Statutes, the department must file an updated case plan.
Rule 8.415. Judicial Review of Dependency Cases
(a) Required Review. All dependent children [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must have their status reviewed as provided by law. Any party may petition the court for a judicial review as provided by law.
(b) Scheduling Hearings.
(1) Initial Review Hearing. The court [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must determine when the first review hearing [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough]must be held and the clerk of the court [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must immediately schedule the review hearing. In no case [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] may the hearing be scheduled for later than 6 months from the date of removal from the home or 90 days from the disposition or case plan approval hearing, whichever comes first. In every case, the court must conduct a judicial review at least every 6 months.
(2) Subsequent Review Hearings. At each judicial review hearing, the court [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must schedule the next judicial review hearing which [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must be conducted within 6 months. The clerk of the court, at the judicial review hearing, [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must provide the parties, the social service agency charged with the supervision of care, custody, or guardianship of the child, the foster parent or legal custodian in whose home the child resides, any preadoptive parent, and such other persons as the court may direct with written notice of the date, time, and location of the next judicial review hearing.
(3) Review Hearings for Children 17 Years of Age. The court must hold a judicial review hearing within 90 days after a child's 17th birthday. The court must also issue an order, separate from the order on judicial review, that the disability of nonage of the child has been removed and must continue to hold timely judicial review hearings. If necessary, the court may review the status of the child more frequently during the year before the child's 18th birthday. At the last review hearing before the child reaches 18 years of age, the court must also address whether the child plans to remain in foster care, and, if so, ensure that the child's transition plan complies with the law.
(4) Review Hearings for Young Adults in Foster Care. The court must review the status of a young adult at least every six months and must hold a permanency review hearing at least annually while the young adult remains in foster care. The young adult or any other party to the dependency case may request an additional hearing or judicial review.
(c) Report. In all cases, the department or its agent [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must prepare a report to the court. The report [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must contain facts showing the court to have jurisdiction of the cause as a dependency case. It [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must contain information as to the identity and residence of the parent, if known, and the legal custodian, the dates of the original dependency adjudication and any subsequent judicial review proceedings, the results of any safe-harbor placement assessment including the status of the child's placement, and a request for one or more of the following forms of relief:
(1) that the child's placement be changed;
(2) that the case plan be continued to permit the parents or social service agency to complete the tasks assigned to them in the agreement; or
(3) that proceedings be instituted to terminate parental rights and legally free the child for adoption.
(d) Service. A copy of the report containing recommendations and, if not previously provided by the court, a notice of review hearing [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must be served on all persons who are required by law to be served at least 72 hours before the judicial review hearing.
(e) Information Available to Court. At the judicial review hearing the court may receive any relevant and material evidence pertinent to the cause. This [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must include written reports required by law and may include, but [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must not be limited to, any psychiatric or psychological evaluations of the child or parent, caregiver, or legal custodian that may be obtained and that are material and relevant. This evidence may be received by the court and relied on to the extent of its probative value, even though it may not be competent in an adjudicatory hearing.
(1) Court Action.
(1) The court [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must hold a hearing to review the compliance of the parties with the case plan and to determine what assigned tasks were and were not accomplished and the reasons for any
(2) If the court finds that the parents have substantially complied with the case plan, the court [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must return the child to the custody of the parents if the court is satisfied that reunification will not be detrimental to the child's safety, well-being, or physical, mental, or emotional health.
(3) If the court finds that the social service agency has not complied with its obligations, the court may find the social service agency to be in contempt, [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must order the social service agency to submit its plan for compliance with the case plan, and [begin strikethrough]shall[end strikethrough] must require the social service agency to show why the child could not be safely returned to the home of the parents. If the court finds that the child could not be safely returned to the parents,...