(1) Child advocacy centers are facilities that offer multidisciplinary services in a community-based, child-focused environment to children who are alleged to be victims of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. The children served by such centers may have experienced a variety of types of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, including, but not limited to, sexual abuse or severe physical abuse. The centers bring together, often in one location, child protective investigators, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, health care professionals, and mental health professionals to provide a coordinated, comprehensive response to victims and their caregivers.
(2) In order to become eligible for a full membership in the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, Inc., a child advocacy center in this state shall:
(a) Be a private, nonprofit incorporated agency or a governmental entity.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 39.3035
- abandonment: means a situation in which the parent or legal custodian of a child or, in the absence of a parent or legal custodian, the caregiver, while being able, has made no significant contribution to the child's care and maintenance or has failed to establish or maintain a substantial and positive relationship with the child, or both. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Abuse: means any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual abuse, injury, or harm that causes or is likely to cause the child's physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Child Protection Team: means a team of professionals established by the Department of Health to receive referrals from the protective investigators and protective supervision staff of the department and to provide specialized and supportive services to the program in processing child abuse, abandonment, or neglect cases. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Department: means the Department of Children and Families. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
- Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
- Office: means the Office of Adoption and Child Protection within the Executive Office of the Governor. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- Victim: means any child who has sustained or is threatened with physical, mental, or emotional injury identified in a report involving child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, or child-on-child sexual abuse. See Florida Statutes 39.01
- writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 1.01
(b) Be a Child Protection Team, or by written agreement incorporate the participation and services of a Child Protection Team, with established community protocols which meet all of the requirements of the National Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, Inc.
(c) Have a neutral, child-focused facility where joint department and law enforcement interviews take place with children in appropriate cases of suspected child sexual abuse or physical abuse. All multidisciplinary agencies shall have a place to interact with the child as investigative or treatment needs require.
(d) Have a minimum designated staff that is supervised and approved by the local board of directors or governmental entity.
(e) Have a multidisciplinary case review team that meets on a regularly scheduled basis or as the caseload of the community requires. The team shall consist of representatives from the Office of the State Attorney, the department, the Child Protection Team, mental health services, law enforcement, and the child advocacy center staff. Medical personnel and a victim‘s advocate may be part of the team.
(f) Provide case tracking of child abuse cases seen through the center. A center shall also collect data on the number of child abuse cases seen at the center, by sex, race, age, and other relevant data; the number of cases referred for prosecution; and the number of cases referred for mental health therapy. Case records shall be subject to the confidentiality provisions of s. 39.202.
(g) Provide referrals for medical exams and mental health therapy. The center shall provide followup on cases referred for mental health therapy.
(h) Provide training for various disciplines in the community that deal with child abuse.
(i) Have an interagency commitment, in writing, covering those aspects of agency participation in a multidisciplinary approach to the handling of child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse cases.
(3) Provide assurance that child advocacy center employees and volunteers at the center are trained and screened in accordance with s. 39.001(2).
(4) A child advocacy center within this state may not receive the funds generated pursuant to s. 938.10, state or federal funds administered by a state agency, or any other funds appropriated by the Legislature unless all of the standards of subsection (2) are met and the screening requirement of subsection (3) is met. The Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, Inc., shall be responsible for tracking and documenting compliance with subsections (2) and (3) for any of the funds it administers to member child advocacy centers.
(a) Funds for the specific purpose of funding children’s advocacy centers shall be appropriated to the Department of Children and Families from funds collected from the additional court cost imposed in cases of certain crimes against minors under s. 938.10. Funds shall be disbursed to the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, Inc., as established under this section, for the purpose of providing community-based services that augment, but do not duplicate, services provided by state agencies.
(b) The board of directors of the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, Inc., shall retain 10 percent of all revenues collected to be used to match local contributions, at a rate not to exceed an equal match, in communities establishing children’s advocacy centers. The board of directors may use up to 5 percent of the remaining funds to support the activities of the network office and must develop funding criteria and an allocation methodology that ensures an equitable distribution of remaining funds among network participants. The criteria and methodologies must take into account factors that include, but need not be limited to, the center’s accreditation status with respect to the National Children’s Alliance, the number of clients served, and the population of the area being served by the children’s advocacy center.
(c) At the end of each fiscal year, each children’s advocacy center receiving revenue as provided in this section must provide a report to the board of directors of the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, Inc., which reflects center expenditures, all sources of revenue received, and outputs that have been standardized and agreed upon by network members and the board of directors, such as the number of clients served, client demographic information, and number and types of services provided. The Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, Inc., must compile reports from the centers and provide a report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in August of each year.