(1) SHORT TITLE.-This section may be cited as the “Rilya Wilson Act.”
(2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.-The Legislature recognizes that children who are in the care of the state due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment are at increased risk of poor school performance and other behavioral and social problems. It is the intent of the Legislature that children who are currently in the care of the state be provided with an age-appropriate education program to help ameliorate the negative consequences of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
(3) REQUIREMENTS.-A child from birth to the age of school entry, under court-ordered protective supervision or in the custody of the Family Safety Program Office of the Department of Children and Families or a community-based lead agency, and enrolled in a licensed early education or child care program must attend the program 5 days a week. Notwithstanding s. 39.202, the Department of Children and Families must notify operators of the licensed early education or child care program, subject to the reporting requirements of this act, of the enrollment of any child from birth to the age of school entry, under court-ordered protective supervision or in the custody of the Family Safety Program Office of the Department of Children and Families or a community-based lead agency. When a child is enrolled in an early education or child care program regulated by the department, the child’s attendance in the program must be a required action in the safety plan or the case plan developed for the child pursuant to this chapter. An exemption to participating in the licensed early education or child care program 5 days a week may be granted by the court.
(4) ATTENDANCE AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.-
(a) A child enrolled in a licensed early education or child care program who meets the requirements of subsection (3) may not be withdrawn from the program without the prior written approval of the Family Safety Program Office of the Department of Children and Families or the community-based lead agency.
(b)1. If a child covered by this section is absent from the program on a day when he or she is supposed to be present, the person with whom the child resides must report the absence to the program by the end of the business day. If the person with whom the child resides, whether the parent or caregiver, fails to timely report the absence, the absence is considered to be unexcused. The program shall report any unexcused absence or seven consecutive excused absences of a child who is enrolled in the program and covered by this act to the local designated staff of the Family Safety Program Office of the Department of Children and Families or the community-based lead agency by the end of the business day following the unexcused absence or seventh consecutive excused absence.
2. The department or community-based lead agency shall conduct a site visit to the residence of the child upon receiving a report of two consecutive unexcused absences or seven consecutive excused absences.
3. If the site visit results in a determination that the child is missing, the department or community-based lead agency shall report the child as missing to a law enforcement agency and proceed with the necessary actions to locate the child pursuant to procedures for locating missing children.
4. If the site visit results in a determination that the child is not missing, the parent or caregiver shall be notified that failure to ensure that the child attends the licensed early education or child care program is a violation of the safety plan or the case plan. If more than two site visits are conducted pursuant to this subsection, staff shall initiate action to notify the court of the parent or caregiver’s noncompliance with the case plan.