House Bill 561 Overview

Requires appointment of an attorney to represent a dependent child who meets certain criteria and requires the Department to develop procedures to identify eligible children and request that the court appoint an attorney.  Attorney’s fees may not exceed $1,000 per child per year. The Legislature appropriated $4.2 million to the courts for Fiscal Year 2014-15 to implement this program.

The criteria include one or more of the following:

•    Resides or being considered for placement in a skilled nursing facility
•    Prescribed psychotropic medication but declines assent to taking the medication
•    Has a diagnosis of a developmental disability as defined in s. 393.063, F.S.
•    Being placed in or being considered for placement in a residential treatment center
•    Is a victim of human trafficking

A new FSFN Report, “Dependent Children and Young Adults Potentially Eligible for Attorney Representation,“  has been created to support the identification of children who meet this criteria. If you have any questions or concerns about this report, please email and reference report #1082 in your correspondence. For full information- click here: New report available in FSFN to Support Implementation of 39.01305, Florida Statutes