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Florida Statute 985 | Lawyer Caselaw & Research
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The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 985
JUVENILE JUSTICE; INTERSTATE COMPACT ON JUVENILES
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CHAPTER 985
CHAPTER 985
JUVENILE JUSTICE; INTERSTATE COMPACT ON JUVENILES
PART I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
(ss. 985.01-985.039)
PART II
RECORDS AND INFORMATION
(ss. 985.04-985.047)
PART III
CUSTODY AND INTAKE; INTERVENTION AND
DIVERSION
(ss. 985.101-985.175)
PART IV
EXAMINATIONS AND EVALUATIONS
(ss. 985.18-985.195)
PART V
DETENTION
(ss. 985.24-985.275)
PART VI
PETITION, ARRAIGNMENT, AND ADJUDICATION
(ss. 985.318-985.35)
PART VII
DISPOSITION; POSTDISPOSITION
(ss. 985.43-985.494)
PART VIII
AUTHORITY OF THE COURT OVER PARENTS OR
GUARDIANS
(ss. 985.511-985.514)
PART IX
APPEAL
(ss. 985.534-985.536)
PART X
TRANSFER TO ADULT COURT
(ss. 985.556-985.57)
PART XI
DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE
(ss. 985.601-985.692)
PART XII
MISCELLANEOUS OFFENSES
(ss. 985.701-985.731)
PART XIII
INTERSTATE COMPACT ON JUVENILES
(ss. 985.801-985.8025)
PART I
GENERAL PROVISIONS
985.01 Purposes and intent.
985.02 Legislative intent for the juvenile justice system.
985.03 Definitions.
985.0301 Jurisdiction.
985.031 Age limitation; exception.
985.032 Legal representation for delinquency cases.
985.033 Right to counsel.
985.035 Opening hearings.
985.036 Rights of victims; juvenile proceedings.
985.037 Punishment for contempt of court; alternative sanctions.
985.039 Cost of supervision; cost of care.
985.01 Purposes and intent.
(1) The purposes of this chapter are:
(a) To increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention, and treatment services that strengthen and reform the lives of children.
(b) To provide judicial and other procedures to assure due process through which children, victims, and other interested parties are assured fair hearings by a respectful and respected court or other tribunal and the recognition, protection, and enforcement of their constitutional and other legal rights, while ensuring that public safety interests and the authority and dignity of the courts are adequately protected.
(c) To provide an environment that fosters healthy social, emotional, intellectual, educational, and physical development; to ensure secure and safe custody; and to promote the health and well-being of all children under the state’s care.
(d) To ensure the protection of society, by providing for a comprehensive standardized assessment of the child’s needs so that the most appropriate control, discipline, punishment, and treatment can be administered consistent with the seriousness of the act committed, the community’s long-term need for public safety, the prior record of the child, and the specific rehabilitation needs of the child, while also providing, whenever possible, restitution to the victim of the offense.
(e) To preserve and strengthen the child’s family ties whenever possible, by providing for removal of the child from the physical custody of a parent only when his or her welfare or the safety and protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without such removal; and, when the child is removed from his or her own family, to secure custody, care, and discipline for the child as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by the parents.
(f)1. To assure that the adjudication and disposition of a child alleged or found to have committed a violation of Florida law be exercised with appropriate discretion and in keeping with the seriousness of the offense and the need for treatment services, and that all findings made under this chapter be based upon facts presented at a hearing that meets the constitutional standards of fundamental fairness and due process.
2. To assure that the sentencing and placement of a child tried as an adult be appropriate and in keeping with the seriousness of the offense and the child’s need for rehabilitative services, and that the proceedings and procedures applicable to such sentencing and placement be applied within the full framework of constitutional standards of fundamental fairness and due process.
(g) To provide children committed to the department with training in life skills, including career and technical education, when appropriate.
(h) To care for children in the least restrictive and most appropriate service environments to ensure that children assessed as low and moderate risk to reoffend are not committed to residential programs, unless the court deems such placement appropriate.
(i) To allocate resources for the most effective programs, services, and treatments to ensure that children, their families, and their community support systems are connected with these programs at the points along the juvenile justice continuum where they will have the most impact.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that this chapter be liberally interpreted and construed in conformity with its declared purposes.
History.s. 1, ch. 97-238; s. 12, ch. 2001-125; s. 64, ch. 2004-267; ss. 2, 87, ch. 2006-120; s. 1, ch. 2014-162.
985.02 Legislative intent for the juvenile justice system.
(1) GENERAL PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN.It is a purpose of the Legislature that the children of this state be provided with the following protections:
(a) Protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
(b) A permanent and stable home.
(c) A safe and nurturing environment which will preserve a sense of personal dignity and integrity.
(d) Adequate nutrition, shelter, and clothing.
(e) Effective treatment to address physical, social, and emotional needs, regardless of geographical location.
(f) Equal opportunity and access to quality and effective education, which will meet the individual needs of each child, and to recreation and other community resources to develop individual abilities.
(g) Access to prevention programs and services.
(h) Gender-specific programming and gender-specific program models and services that comprehensively address the needs of a targeted gender group.
(2) SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES.The Legislature finds that children in the care of the state’s delinquency system need appropriate health care services, that the impact of substance abuse on health indicates the need for health care services to include substance abuse services where appropriate, and that it is in the state’s best interest that such children be provided the services they need to enable them to become and remain independent of state care. In order to provide these services, the state’s delinquency system must have the ability to identify and provide appropriate intervention and treatment for children with personal or family-related substance abuse problems. It is therefore the purpose of the Legislature to provide authority for the state to contract with community substance abuse treatment providers for the development and operation of specialized support and overlay services for the delinquency system, which will be fully implemented and utilized as resources permit.
(3) JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION.It is the policy of the state with respect to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention to first protect the public from acts of delinquency. In addition, it is the policy of the state to:
(a) Develop and implement effective methods of preventing and reducing acts of delinquency, with a focus on maintaining and strengthening the family as a whole so that children may remain in their homes or communities.
(b) Develop and implement effective programs to prevent delinquency, to divert children from the traditional juvenile justice system, to intervene at an early stage of delinquency, and to provide critically needed alternatives to institutionalization and deep-end commitment.
(c) Provide well-trained personnel, high-quality services, and cost-effective programs within the juvenile justice system.
(d) Increase the capacity of local governments and public and private agencies to conduct rehabilitative treatment programs and to provide research, evaluation, and training services in the field of juvenile delinquency prevention.
(4) DETENTION.
(a) The Legislature finds that there is a need for a secure placement for certain children alleged to have committed a delinquent act. The Legislature finds that detention should be used only when less restrictive interim placement alternatives prior to adjudication and disposition are not appropriate. The Legislature further finds that decisions to detain should be based in part on a prudent assessment of risk and be limited to situations where there is clear and convincing evidence that a child presents a risk of failing to appear or presents a substantial risk of inflicting bodily harm on others as evidenced by recent behavior; presents a history of committing a serious property offense prior to adjudication, disposition, or placement; has acted in direct or indirect contempt of court; or requests protection from imminent bodily harm.
(b) The Legislature intends that a juvenile found to have committed a delinquent act understands the consequences and the serious nature of such behavior. Therefore, the Legislature finds that secure detention is appropriate to provide punishment for children who pose a threat to public safety. The Legislature also finds that certain juveniles have committed a sufficient number of criminal acts, including acts involving violence to persons, to represent sufficient danger to the community to warrant sentencing and placement within the adult system. It is the intent of the Legislature to establish clear criteria in order to identify these juveniles and remove them from the juvenile justice system.
(5) SITING OF FACILITIES.
(a) The Legislature finds that timely siting and development of needed residential facilities for juvenile offenders is critical to the public safety of the citizens of this state and to the effective rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.
(b) It is the purpose of the Legislature to guarantee that such facilities are sited and developed within reasonable timeframes after they are legislatively authorized and appropriated.
(c) The Legislature further finds that such facilities must be located in areas of the state close to the home communities of the children they house in order to ensure the most effective rehabilitation efforts, postrelease supervision, and case management. The placement of facilities close to the home communities of the children they house is also intended to facilitate family involvement in the treatment process. Residential facilities shall have no more than 90 beds each, including campus-style programs, unless those campus-style programs include more than one treatment program using different treatment protocols and have facilities that coexist separately in distinct locations on the same property.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that all other departments and agencies of the state shall cooperate fully with the Department of Juvenile Justice to accomplish the siting of facilities for juvenile offenders.

The supervision, counseling, and rehabilitative treatment efforts of the juvenile justice system should avoid the inappropriate use of correctional programs and large institutions.

(6) PARENTAL, CUSTODIAL, AND GUARDIAN RESPONSIBILITIES.Parents, custodians, and guardians are deemed by the state to be responsible for providing their children with sufficient support, guidance, and supervision to deter their participation in delinquent acts. The state further recognizes that the ability of parents, custodians, and guardians to fulfill those responsibilities can be greatly impaired by economic, social, behavioral, emotional, and related problems. It is therefore the policy of the Legislature that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that factors impeding the ability of caretakers to fulfill their responsibilities are identified through the delinquency intake process and that appropriate recommendations to address those problems are considered in any judicial or nonjudicial proceeding. Nonetheless, as it is also the intent of the Legislature to preserve and strengthen the child’s family ties, it is the policy of the Legislature that the emotional, legal, and financial responsibilities of the caretaker with regard to the care, custody, and support of the child continue while the child is in the physical or legal custody of the department.
(7) GENDER-SPECIFIC PROGRAMMING.
(a) The Legislature finds that the needs of children served by the juvenile justice system are gender-specific. A gender-specific approach is one in which programs, services, and treatments comprehensively address the unique developmental needs of a targeted gender group under the care of the department. Young women and men have different pathways to delinquency, display different patterns of offending, and respond differently to interventions, treatment, and services.
(b) Gender-specific interventions focus on the differences between young females’ and young males’ social roles and responsibilities, access to and use of resources, history of trauma, and reasons for interaction with the juvenile justice system. Gender-specific programs increase the effectiveness of programs by making interventions more appropriate to the specific needs of young women and men and ensuring that these programs do not unknowingly create, maintain, or reinforce gender roles or relations that may be damaging.
(8) TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE.The Legislature finds that the department should use trauma-informed care as an approach to treating children with histories of trauma. Trauma-informed care assists service providers in recognizing the symptoms of trauma and acknowledges the role trauma has played in the child’s life. Services for children should be based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities and triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate, so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid retraumatization. The department should use trauma-specific interventions that are designed to address the consequences of trauma in the child and to facilitate healing.
(9) FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT.The Legislature finds that families and community support systems are critical to the success of children and to ensure they are nondelinquent. Therefore, when appropriate, children who can safely be held accountable when served and treated in their homes and communities should be diverted from more restrictive placements within the juvenile justice system. There should be an emphasis on strengthening the family and immersing the family members in their community support system. The department should develop customized plans that acknowledge the importance of family and community support systems. The customized plans should recognize a child’s individual needs, capitalize on their strengths, reduce their risks, and prepare them for a successful transition to, and unification with, their family and community support system. The child’s family must be considered in the department’s process of assessing the needs, services and treatment, and community connections of the children who are involved in the juvenile justice system or in danger of becoming involved in the system.
History.s. 2, ch. 97-238; s. 13, ch. 2001-125; s. 1, ch. 2004-333; s. 3, ch. 2006-120; s. 1, ch. 2008-65; s. 167, ch. 2010-102; s. 1, ch. 2011-70; s. 2, ch. 2014-162.
985.03 Definitions.As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Abscond” means to hide, conceal, or absent oneself from the jurisdiction of the court or supervision of the department to avoid prosecution or supervision.
(2) “Addictions receiving facility” means a substance abuse service provider as defined in chapter 397.
(3) “Adjudicatory hearing” means a hearing for the court to determine whether or not the facts support the allegations stated in the petition, as is provided for under s. 985.35 in delinquency cases.
(4) “Adult” means any natural person other than a child.
(5) “Arbitration” means a process whereby a neutral third person or panel, called an arbitrator or an arbitration panel, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a decision which may be binding or nonbinding.
(6) “Authorized agent” or “designee” of the department means a person or agency assigned or designated by the department to perform duties or exercise powers under this chapter and includes contract providers and their employees.
(7) “Child” or “juvenile” or “youth” means any person under the age of 18 or any person who is alleged to have committed a violation of law occurring prior to the time that person reached the age of 18 years.
(8) “Child in need of services” has the same meaning as provided in s. 984.03.
(9) “Child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act” means a child who, under this chapter, is found by a court to have committed a violation of law or to be in direct or indirect contempt of court, except that this definition does not include an act constituting contempt of court arising out of a dependency proceeding or a proceeding concerning a child or family in need of services.
(10) “Circuit” means any of the 20 judicial circuits as set forth in s. 26.021.
(11) “Comprehensive assessment” or “assessment” means the gathering of information for the evaluation of a juvenile offender’s or a child’s physical, psychological, educational, career and technical education, and social condition and family environment as they relate to the child’s need for rehabilitative and treatment services, including substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, developmental services, literacy services, medical services, family services, and other specialized services, as appropriate.
(12) “Conditional release” means the care, treatment, help, supervision, and provision of transition-to-adulthood services provided to a juvenile released from a residential commitment program which is intended to promote rehabilitation and prevent recidivism. The purpose of conditional release is to protect the public, reduce recidivism, increase responsible productive behavior, and provide for a successful transition of the youth from the department to his or her family. Conditional release includes, but is not limited to, nonresidential community-based programs.
(13) “Court” means the circuit court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter, unless otherwise expressly stated.
(14) “Day treatment” means a nonresidential, community-based program designed to provide therapeutic intervention to youth who are served by the department, placed on probation or conditional release, or committed to the minimum-risk nonresidential level. A day treatment program may provide educational and career and technical education services and shall provide case management services; individual, group, and family counseling; training designed to address delinquency risk factors; and monitoring of a youth’s compliance with, and facilitation of a youth’s completion of, sanctions if ordered by the court. Program types may include, but are not limited to, career programs, marine programs, juvenile justice alternative schools, training and rehabilitation programs, and gender-specific programs.
(15)(a) “Delinquency program” means any intake, probation, or similar program; regional detention center or facility; or community-based program, whether owned and operated by or contracted by the department, or institution owned and operated by or contracted by the department, which provides intake, supervision, or custody and care of children who are alleged to be or who have been found to be delinquent under this chapter.
(b) “Delinquency program staff” means supervisory and direct care staff of a delinquency program as well as support staff who have direct contact with children in a delinquency program.
(16) “Department” means the Department of Juvenile Justice.
(17) “Designated facility” or “designated treatment facility” means any facility designated by the department to provide treatment to juvenile offenders.
(18) “Detention care” means the temporary care of a child in secure or supervised release detention, pending a court adjudication or disposition or execution of a court order. There are two types of detention care, as follows:
(a) “Secure detention” means temporary custody of the child while the child is under the physical restriction of a secure detention center or facility pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
(b) “Supervised release detention” means temporary, nonsecure custody of the child while the child is released to the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the department staff pending adjudication or disposition, through programs that include, but are not limited to, electronic monitoring, day reporting centers, and nonsecure shelters. Supervised release detention may include other requirements imposed by the court.
(19) “Detention center or facility” means a facility used pending court adjudication or disposition or execution of court order for the temporary care of a child alleged or found to have committed a violation of law. A detention center or facility may provide secure custody. A facility used for the commitment of adjudicated delinquents shall not be considered a detention center or facility.
(20) “Detention hearing” means a hearing for the court to determine if a child should be placed in temporary custody, as provided for under part V in delinquency cases.
(21) “Disposition hearing” means a hearing in which the court determines the most appropriate dispositional services in the least restrictive available setting provided for under part VII, in delinquency cases.
(22) “Family” means a collective of persons, consisting of a child and a parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative, in which:
(a) The persons reside in the same house or living unit; or
(b) The parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative has a legal responsibility by blood, marriage, or court order to support or care for the child.
(23) “Family in need of services” has the same meaning as provided in s. 984.03.
(24) “Intake” means the initial acceptance and screening by the department or juvenile assessment center personnel of a complaint or a law enforcement report or probable cause affidavit of delinquency to determine the recommendation to be taken in the best interests of the child, the family, and the community. The emphasis of intake is on diversion and the least restrictive available services. Consequently, intake includes such alternatives as:
(a) The disposition of the complaint, report, or probable cause affidavit without court or public agency action or judicial handling when appropriate.
(b) The referral of the child to another public or private agency when appropriate.
(c) The recommendation by the department of judicial handling when appropriate and warranted.
(25) “Judge” means the circuit judge exercising jurisdiction pursuant to this chapter.
(26) “Juvenile justice continuum” includes, but is not limited to, prevention programs and services designed for the purpose of preventing or reducing delinquent acts, including criminal activity by criminal gangs, and juvenile arrests, as well as programs and services targeted at children who have committed delinquent acts, and children who have previously been committed to residential treatment programs for delinquents. The term includes children-in-need-of-services and families-in-need-of-services programs under chapter 984; conditional release; substance abuse and mental health programs; educational and career programs; recreational programs; community services programs; community service work programs; mother-infant programs; and alternative dispute resolution programs serving children at risk of delinquency and their families, whether offered or delivered by state or local governmental entities, public or private for-profit or not-for-profit organizations, or religious or charitable organizations.
(27) “Juvenile probation officer” means the authorized agent of the department who performs the intake, case management, or supervision functions.
(28) “Legal custody or guardian” means a legal status created by court order or letter of guardianship which vests in a custodian of the person or guardian, whether an agency or an individual, the right to have physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide him or her with food, shelter, education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care.
(29) “Licensed child-caring agency” means a person, society, association, or agency licensed by the Department of Children and Families to care for, receive, and board children.
(30) “Licensed health care professional” means a physician licensed under chapter 458, an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, a nurse licensed under part I of chapter 464, a physician assistant licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459, or a dentist licensed under chapter 466.
(31) “Likely to injure oneself” means that, as evidenced by violent or other actively self-destructive behavior, it is more likely than not that within a 24-hour period the child will attempt to commit suicide or inflict serious bodily harm on himself or herself.
(32) “Likely to injure others” means that it is more likely than not that within a 24-hour period the child will inflict serious and unjustified bodily harm on another person.
(33) “Mediation” means a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and nonadversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decisionmaking authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.
(34) “Mother-infant program” means a residential program designed to serve the needs of juvenile mothers or expectant juvenile mothers who are committed as delinquents, which is operated or contracted by the department. A mother-infant program facility must be licensed as a child care facility under s. 402.308 and must provide the services and support necessary to enable each juvenile mother committed to the facility to provide for the needs of her infants who, upon agreement of the mother, may accompany her in the program.
(35) “Necessary medical treatment” means care which is necessary within a reasonable degree of medical certainty to prevent the deterioration of a child’s condition or to alleviate immediate pain of a child.
(36) “Next of kin” means an adult relative of a child who is the child’s brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or first cousin.
(37) “Ordinary medical care” means medical procedures that are administered or performed on a routine basis and include, but are not limited to, inoculations, physical examinations, remedial treatment for minor illnesses and injuries, preventive services, medication management, chronic disease detection and treatment, and other medical procedures that are administered or performed on a routine basis and do not involve hospitalization, surgery, the use of general anesthesia, or the provision of psychotropic medications.
(38) “Parent” means a woman who gives birth to a child and a man whose consent to the adoption of the child would be required under s. 63.062(1). If a child has been legally adopted, the term “parent” means the adoptive mother or father of the child. The term does not include an individual whose parental relationship to the child has been legally terminated, or an alleged or prospective parent, unless the parental status falls within the terms of either s. 39.503(1) or s. 63.062(1).
(39) “Preliminary screening” means the gathering of preliminary information to be used in determining a child’s need for further evaluation or assessment or for referral for other substance abuse services through means such as psychosocial interviews; urine and breathalyzer screenings; and reviews of available educational, delinquency, and dependency records of the child.
(40) “Prevention” means programs, strategies, initiatives, and networks designed to keep children from making initial or further contact with the juvenile justice system.
(41) “Probation” means the legal status of probation created by law and court order in cases involving a child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act. Probation is an individualized program in which the freedom of the child is limited and the child is restricted to noninstitutional quarters or restricted to the child’s home in lieu of commitment to the custody of the department. Youth on probation may be assessed and classified for placement in day-treatment probation programs designed for youth who represent a minimum risk to themselves and public safety and do not require placement and services in a residential setting.
(42) “Relative” means a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, first cousin, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, niece, or nephew, whether related by the whole or half blood, by affinity, or by adoption. The term does not include a stepparent.
(43) “Respite” means a placement that is available for the care, custody, and placement of a youth charged with domestic violence as an alternative to secure detention or for placement of a youth when a shelter bed for a child in need of services or a family in need of services is unavailable.
(44) “Restrictiveness level” means the level of programming and security provided by programs that service the supervision, custody, care, and treatment needs of committed children. Sections 985.601(10) and 985.721 apply to children placed in programs at any residential commitment level. The restrictiveness levels of commitment are as follows:
(a) Minimum-risk nonresidential.Programs or program models at this commitment level work with youth who remain in the community and participate at least 5 days per week in a day treatment program. Youth assessed and classified for programs at this commitment level represent a minimum risk to themselves and public safety and do not require placement and services in residential settings. Youth in this level have full access to, and reside in, the community. Youth who have been found to have committed delinquent acts that involve firearms, that are sexual offenses, or that would be life felonies or first degree felonies if committed by an adult may not be committed to a program at this level.
(b) Nonsecure residential.Programs or program models at this commitment level are residential but may allow youth to have supervised access to the community. Facilities at this commitment level are either environmentally secure, staff secure, or are hardware-secure with walls, fencing, or locking doors. Residential facilities at this commitment level shall have no more than 90 beds each, including campus-style programs, unless those campus-style programs include more than one treatment program using different treatment protocols, and have facilities that coexist separately in distinct locations on the same property. Facilities at this commitment level shall provide 24-hour awake supervision, custody, care, and treatment of residents. Youth assessed and classified for placement in programs at this commitment level represent a low or moderate risk to public safety and require close supervision. The staff at a facility at this commitment level may seclude a child who is a physical threat to himself or herself or others. Mechanical restraint may also be used when necessary.
(c) High-risk residential.Programs or program models at this commitment level are residential and do not allow youth to have access to the community, except that temporary release providing community access for up to 72 continuous hours may be approved by a court for a youth who has made successful progress in his or her program in order for the youth to attend a family emergency or, during the final 60 days of his or her placement, to visit his or her home, enroll in school or a career and technical education program, complete a job interview, or participate in a community service project. High-risk residential facilities are hardware-secure with perimeter fencing and locking doors. Residential facilities at this commitment level shall have no more than 90 beds each, including campus-style programs, unless those campus-style programs include more than one treatment program using different treatment protocols, and have facilities that coexist separately in distinct locations on the same property. Facilities at this commitment level shall provide 24-hour awake supervision, custody, care, and treatment of residents. Youth assessed and classified for this level of placement require close supervision in a structured residential setting. Placement in programs at this level is prompted by a concern for public safety that outweighs placement in programs at lower commitment levels. The staff at a facility at this commitment level may seclude a child who is a physical threat to himself or herself or others. Mechanical restraint may also be used when necessary. The facility may provide for single cell occupancy, except that youth may be housed together during prerelease transition.
(d) Maximum-risk residential.Programs or program models at this commitment level include juvenile correctional facilities and juvenile prisons. The programs at this commitment level are long-term residential and do not allow youth to have access to the community. Facilities at this commitment level are maximum-custody, hardware-secure with perimeter security fencing and locking doors. Residential facilities at this commitment level shall have no more than 90 beds each, including campus-style programs, unless those campus-style programs include more than one treatment program using different treatment protocols, and have facilities that coexist separately in distinct locations on the same property. Facilities at this commitment level shall provide 24-hour awake supervision, custody, care, and treatment of residents. The staff at a facility at this commitment level may seclude a child who is a physical threat to himself or herself or others. Mechanical restraint may also be used when necessary. Facilities at this commitment level shall provide for single cell occupancy, except that youth may be housed together during prerelease transition. Youth assessed and classified for this level of placement require close supervision in a maximum security residential setting. Placement in a program at this level is prompted by a demonstrated need to protect the public.
(45) “Secure detention center or facility” means a physically restricting facility for the temporary care of children pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
(46) “Shelter” means a place for the temporary care of a child who is alleged to be or who has been found to be delinquent.
(47) “Substance abuse” means using, without medical reason, any psychoactive or mood-altering drug, including alcohol, in such a manner as to induce impairment resulting in dysfunctional social behavior.
(48) “Taken into custody” means the status of a child immediately when temporary physical control over the child is attained by a person authorized by law, pending the child’s release, detention, placement, or other disposition as authorized by law.
(49) “Temporary legal custody” means the relationship that a juvenile court creates between a child and an adult relative of the child, adult nonrelative approved by the court, or other person until a more permanent arrangement is ordered. Temporary legal custody confers upon the custodian the right to have temporary physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide the child with food, shelter, and education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care, unless these rights and duties are otherwise enlarged or limited by the court order establishing the temporary legal custody relationship.
(50) “Temporary release” means the terms and conditions under which a child is temporarily released from a residential commitment facility or allowed home visits. If the temporary release is from a nonsecure residential facility, a high-risk residential facility, or a maximum-risk residential facility, the terms and conditions of the temporary release must be approved by the child, the court, and the facility.
(51) “Transition-to-adulthood services” means services that are provided for youth in the custody of the department or under the supervision of the department and that have the objective of instilling the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes essential to a socially integrated, self-supporting adult life. The services may include, but are not limited to:
(a) Assessment of the youth’s ability and readiness for adult life.
(b) A plan for the youth to acquire the knowledge, information, and counseling necessary to make a successful transition to adulthood.
(c) Services that have proven effective toward achieving the transition to adulthood.
(52) “Trauma-informed care” means services that are provided to children with a history of trauma, recognizing the symptoms of trauma and acknowledging the role that trauma has played in the child’s life. Trauma may include, but is not limited to, community and school violence, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, medical difficulties, and domestic violence.
(53) “Violation of law” or “delinquent act” means a violation of any law of this state, the United States, or any other state which is a misdemeanor or a felony or a violation of a county or municipal ordinance which would be punishable by incarceration if the violation were committed by an adult.
(54) “Waiver hearing” means a hearing provided for under s. 985.556(4).
History.s. 4, ch. 97-234; s. 3, ch. 97-238; s. 1, ch. 97-276; s. 13, ch. 98-49; s. 7, ch. 98-207; s. 78, ch. 98-280; s. 169, ch. 98-403; s. 58, ch. 99-7; s. 14, ch. 99-201; s. 9, ch. 99-284; s. 18, ch. 2000-135; s. 150, ch. 2000-318; s. 35, ch. 2001-3; s. 14, ch. 2001-125; s. 119, ch. 2002-1; s. 1050, ch. 2002-387; s. 67, ch. 2004-357; s. 1, ch. 2005-263; ss. 4, 56, 57, 59, ch. 2006-120; s. 2, ch. 2008-65; s. 30, ch. 2008-238; s. 1, ch. 2010-123; ss. 2, 3, ch. 2011-70; s. 1, ch. 2011-236; s. 2, ch. 2012-56; s. 117, ch. 2013-15; s. 343, ch. 2014-19; s. 3, ch. 2014-162; s. 2, ch. 2018-86.
985.0301 Jurisdiction.
(1) The circuit court has exclusive original jurisdiction of proceedings in which a child is alleged to have committed:
(a) A delinquent act or violation of law.
(b) A noncriminal violation that has been assigned to juvenile court by law.
(2) The jurisdiction of the court shall attach to the child and the case when the summons is served upon the child and a parent or legal or actual custodian or guardian of the child, or when the child is taken into custody with or without service of summons and before or after the filing of a petition, whichever first occurs, and thereafter the court may control the child and the case in accordance with this chapter.
(3) During the prosecution of any violation of law against any person who has been presumed to be an adult, if it is shown that the person was a child at the time the offense was committed and that the person does not meet the criteria for prosecution and sentencing as an adult, the court shall immediately transfer the case, together with the physical custody of the person and all physical evidence, papers, documents, and testimony, original and duplicate, connected therewith, to the appropriate court for proceedings under this chapter. The circuit court is exclusively authorized to assume jurisdiction over any juvenile offender who is arrested and charged with violating a federal law or a law of the District of Columbia, who is found or is living or domiciled in a county in which the circuit court is established, and who is surrendered to the circuit court as provided in 18 U.S.C. s. 5001.
(4)(a) Petitions alleging delinquency shall be filed in the county where the delinquent act or violation of law occurred. The circuit court for that county may transfer the case to the circuit court of the circuit in which the child resides or will reside at the time of detention or placement for dispositional purposes. A child who has been detained may be transferred to the detention center or facility in the circuit in which the child resides or will reside at the time of detention.
(b) The jurisdiction to be exercised by the court when a child is taken into custody before the filing of a petition under subsection (2) shall be exercised by the circuit court for the county in which the child is taken into custody, which court shall have personal jurisdiction of the child and the child’s parent or legal guardian. Upon the filing of a petition in the appropriate circuit court, the court that is exercising initial jurisdiction of the person of the child shall, if the child has been detained, immediately order the child to be transferred to the detention center or facility or other placement as ordered by the court having subject matter jurisdiction of the case.
(5)(a) Notwithstanding s. 743.07, and except as provided in paragraph (b), when the jurisdiction of any child who is alleged to have committed a delinquent act or violation of law is obtained, the court shall retain jurisdiction to dispose of a case, unless relinquished by its order, until the child reaches 19 years of age, with the same power over the child which the court had before the child became an adult.
(b) The court shall retain jurisdiction, unless relinquished by its own order:
1. Over a child on probation until the child reaches 19 years of age.
2. Over a child committed to the department until the child reaches 21 years of age, specifically for the purpose of allowing the child to complete the commitment program, including conditional release supervision.
(c) The court shall retain jurisdiction over a juvenile sexual offender, as defined in s. 985.475, who has been placed on community-based treatment alternative with supervision or who has been placed in a program or facility for juvenile sexual offenders, pursuant to s. 985.48, until the juvenile sexual offender reaches 21 years of age, specifically for the purpose of allowing the juvenile to complete the program.
(d) The court may retain jurisdiction over a child and the child’s parent or legal guardian whom the court has ordered to pay restitution until the restitution order is satisfied. To retain jurisdiction, the court shall enter a restitution order, which is separate from any disposition or order of commitment, on or prior to the date that the court’s jurisdiction would cease under this section. The contents of the restitution order shall be limited to the child’s name and address, the name and address of the parent or legal guardian, the name and address of the payee, the case number, the date and amount of restitution ordered, any amount of restitution paid, the amount of restitution due and owing, and a notation that costs, interest, penalties, and attorney fees may also be due and owing. The terms of the restitution order are subject to s. 775.089(5).
(e) This subsection does not prevent the exercise of jurisdiction by any court having jurisdiction of the child if the child, after becoming an adult, commits a violation of law.
(6) The court may at any time enter an order ending its jurisdiction over any child.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 12, ch. 92-287; s. 2, ch. 93-37; ss. 19, 39, ch. 94-209; s. 21, ch. 94-342; s. 2, ch. 95-160; ss. 9, 27, ch. 97-238; s. 33, ch. 99-284; ss. 5, 11, ch. 2000-134; s. 36, ch. 2001-64; s. 65, ch. 2005-236; s. 19, ch. 2005-263; s. 5, ch. 2006-120; s. 2, ch. 2011-54; s. 10, ch. 2011-70; s. 3, ch. 2011-236; s. 90, ch. 2012-5; s. 6, ch. 2012-56; s. 4, ch. 2014-162; s. 104, ch. 2015-2; s. 4, ch. 2015-133.
Note.Subsections (1), (3)-(5) former s. 39.022; s. 985.201. Subsection (2) former s. 39.049(7); s. 985.219(8).
985.031 Age limitation; exception.
(1) This section may be cited as the “Kaia Rolle Act.”
(2) A child younger than 7 years of age may not be arrested, charged, or adjudicated delinquent for a delinquent act or violation of law based on an act occurring before he or she reaches 7 years of age, unless the violation of law is a forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08.
History.s. 8, ch. 2021-241.
985.032 Legal representation for delinquency cases.
(1) For cases arising under this chapter, the state attorney shall represent the state.
(2) A juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent or has adjudication of delinquency withheld shall be assessed costs of prosecution as provided in s. 938.27.
History.s. 2, ch. 92-170; s. 13, ch. 94-209; s. 1334, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 97-101; s. 10, ch. 97-238; s. 6, ch. 2006-120; s. 3, ch. 2013-112.
Note.Former s. 39.014; s. 985.202.
985.033 Right to counsel.
(1) A child is entitled to representation by legal counsel at all stages of any delinquency court proceedings under this chapter. If the child and the parents or other legal guardian are indigent and unable to employ counsel for the child, the court shall appoint counsel under s. 27.52. Determination of indigence and costs of representation shall be as provided by ss. 27.52 and 938.29. Legal counsel representing a child who exercises the right to counsel shall be allowed to provide advice and counsel to the child at any time subsequent to the child’s arrest, including prior to a detention hearing while in secure detention care. A child shall be represented by legal counsel at all stages of all court proceedings unless the right to counsel is freely, knowingly, and intelligently waived by the child. If the child appears without counsel, the court shall advise the child of his or her rights with respect to representation of court-appointed counsel.
(2) This section does not apply to transfer proceedings under s. 985.441(4), unless the court sets a hearing to review the transfer.
(3) If the parents or legal guardian of an indigent child are not indigent but refuse to employ counsel, the court shall appoint counsel pursuant to s. 27.52 to represent the child at the detention hearing and until counsel is provided. Costs of representation are hereby imposed as provided by ss. 27.52 and 938.29. Thereafter, the court shall not appoint counsel for an indigent child with nonindigent parents or legal guardian but shall order the parents or legal guardian to obtain private counsel. A parent or legal guardian of an indigent child who has been ordered to obtain private counsel for the child and who willfully fails to follow the court order shall be punished by the court in civil contempt proceedings.
(4) An indigent child with nonindigent parents or legal guardian may have counsel appointed pursuant to s. 27.52 if the parents or legal guardian have willfully refused to obey the court order to obtain counsel for the child and have been punished by civil contempt and then still have willfully refused to obey the court order. Costs of representation are hereby imposed as provided by ss. 27.52 and 938.29.
(5) Notwithstanding any provision of this section or any other law to the contrary, if a child is transferred for criminal prosecution pursuant to this chapter, a nonindigent or indigent-but-able-to-contribute parent or legal guardian of the child pursuant to s. 27.52 is liable for necessary legal fees and costs incident to the criminal prosecution of the child as an adult.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 220, ch. 95-147; s. 4, ch. 96-232; s. 11, ch. 97-238; s. 30, ch. 97-271; s. 129, ch. 99-3; s. 139, ch. 2003-402; s. 165, ch. 2004-5; s. 90, ch. 2004-265; s. 7, ch. 2006-120; s. 3, ch. 2011-54.
Note.Former s. 39.041; s. 985.203.
985.035 Opening hearings.
(1) All hearings, except as provided in this section, must be open to the public, and no person may be excluded except on special order of the court. The court, in its discretion, may close any hearing to the public when the public interest and the welfare of the child are best served by so doing. Hearings involving more than one child may be held simultaneously when the children were involved in the same transactions.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (1), nothing in this section shall prohibit the publication of proceedings in a hearing.
History.s. 13, ch. 97-238; s. 8, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 985.205.
985.036 Rights of victims; juvenile proceedings.
(1) Nothing in this chapter prohibits:
(a) The victim of the offense;
(b) The victim’s parent or guardian if the victim is a minor;
(c) The lawful representative of the victim or of the victim’s parent or guardian if the victim is a minor; or
(d) The next of kin if the victim is a homicide victim,

from the right, upon request, to be informed of, to be present during, and to be heard at all stages of the proceedings involving the juvenile offender. A person enumerated in this section may not reveal to any outside party any confidential information obtained under this subsection regarding a case involving a juvenile offense, except as is reasonably necessary to pursue legal remedies.

(2) A law enforcement agency may release a copy of the juvenile offense report to the victim of the offense. However, information gained by the victim under this chapter, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, regarding any case handled in juvenile court must not be revealed to any outside party, except as is reasonably necessary in pursuit of legal remedies.
History.s. 1, ch. 92-66; s. 14, ch. 97-238; s. 9, ch. 2006-120; s. 3, ch. 2022-106.
Note.Former s. 39.0515; s. 985.206.
985.037 Punishment for contempt of court; alternative sanctions.
(1) CONTEMPT OF COURT; LEGISLATIVE INTENT.The court may punish any child for contempt for interfering with the court or with court administration, or for violating any provision of this chapter or order of the court relative thereto. It is the intent of the Legislature that the court restrict and limit the use of contempt powers with respect to commitment of a child to a secure facility. A child who commits direct contempt of court or indirect contempt of a valid court order may be taken into custody and ordered to serve an alternative sanction or placed in a secure facility, as authorized in this section, by order of the court.
(2) PLACEMENT IN A SECURE DETENTION FACILITY.A child may be placed in a secure detention facility for purposes of punishment for contempt of court if alternative sanctions are unavailable or inappropriate, or if the child has already been ordered to serve an alternative sanction but failed to comply with the sanction. A delinquent child who has been held in direct or indirect contempt may be placed in a secure detention facility not to exceed 5 days for a first offense and not to exceed 15 days for a second or subsequent offense.
(3) ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS.Each judicial circuit shall have an alternative sanctions coordinator who shall serve under the chief administrative judge of the juvenile division of the circuit court, and who shall coordinate and maintain a spectrum of contempt sanction alternatives in conjunction with the circuit plan implemented in accordance with s. 790.22(4)(c). Upon determining that a child has committed direct contempt of court or indirect contempt of a valid court order, the court may immediately request the alternative sanctions coordinator to recommend the most appropriate available alternative sanction and shall order the child to perform up to 50 hours of community-service manual labor or a similar alternative sanction, unless an alternative sanction is unavailable or inappropriate, or unless the child has failed to comply with a prior alternative sanction. Alternative contempt sanctions may be provided by local industry or by any nonprofit organization or any public or private business or service entity that has entered into a contract with the Department of Juvenile Justice to act as an agent of the state to provide voluntary supervision of children on behalf of the state in exchange for the manual labor of children and limited immunity in accordance with s. 768.28(11).
(4) CONTEMPT OF COURT SANCTIONS; PROCEDURE AND DUE PROCESS.
(a) If a child is charged with direct contempt of court, including traffic court, the court may impose an authorized sanction immediately. The court must hold a hearing to determine if the child committed direct contempt. Due process must be afforded to the child during this hearing.
(b) If a child is charged with indirect contempt of court, the court must hold a hearing within 24 hours to determine whether the child committed indirect contempt of a valid court order. At the hearing, the following due process rights must be provided to the child:
1. Right to a copy of the order to show cause alleging facts supporting the contempt charge.
2. Right to an explanation of the nature and the consequences of the proceedings.
3. Right to legal counsel and the right to have legal counsel appointed by the court if the juvenile is indigent, under s. 985.033.
4. Right to confront witnesses.
5. Right to present witnesses.
6. Right to have a transcript or record of the proceeding.
7. Right to appeal to an appropriate court.

The child’s parent or guardian may address the court regarding the due process rights of the child. Upon motion by the defense attorney or state attorney, the court shall review the placement of the child to determine whether it is appropriate for the child to remain in the facility.

(c) The court may not order that a child be placed in a secure detention facility for punishment for contempt unless the court determines that an alternative sanction is inappropriate or unavailable or that the child was initially ordered to an alternative sanction and did not comply with the alternative sanction. The court is encouraged to order a child to perform community service, up to the maximum number of hours, where appropriate before ordering that the child be placed in a secure detention facility as punishment for contempt of court.
(d) In addition to any other sanction imposed under this section, the court may direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of, or suspend, a child’s driver license or driving privilege. The court may order that a child’s driver license or driving privilege be withheld or suspended for up to 1 year for a first offense of contempt and up to 2 years for a second or subsequent offense. If the child’s driver license or driving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason at the time the sanction for contempt is imposed, the court shall extend the period of suspension or revocation by the additional period ordered under this paragraph. If the child’s driver license is being withheld at the time the sanction for contempt is imposed, the period of suspension or revocation ordered under this paragraph shall begin on the date on which the child is otherwise eligible to drive.
(5) ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS COORDINATOR.There is created the position of alternative sanctions coordinator within each judicial circuit, pursuant to subsection (3). Each alternative sanctions coordinator shall serve under the direction of the chief administrative judge of the juvenile division as directed by the chief judge of the circuit. The alternative sanctions coordinator shall act as the liaison between the judiciary, local department officials, district school board employees, and local law enforcement agencies. The alternative sanctions coordinator shall coordinate within the circuit community-based alternative sanctions, including supervised release detention programs, community service projects, and other juvenile sanctions, in conjunction with the circuit plan implemented in accordance with s. 790.22(4)(c).
History.s. 14, ch. 94-209; s. 4, ch. 95-267; s. 24, ch. 97-238; s. 1, ch. 97-281; s. 15, ch. 98-207; s. 10, ch. 2000-134; s. 25, ch. 2000-135; s. 10, ch. 2006-120; s. 5, ch. 2014-162; s. 3, ch. 2018-86.
Note.Former s. 39.0145; s. 985.216.
985.039 Cost of supervision; cost of care.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) or subsection (4):
(a) When any child is placed into supervised release detention, probation, or other supervision status with the department, or is committed to the minimum-risk nonresidential restrictiveness level, the court shall order the parent of such child to pay to the department a fee for the cost of the supervision of such child in the amount of $1 per day for each day that the child is in such status.
(b) When any child is placed into secure detention or placed on committed status and the temporary legal custody of such child is placed with the department, the court shall order the parent of such child to pay to the department a fee for the cost of the care of such child in the amount of $5 per day for each day that the child is in the temporary legal custody of the department.
(2) The parent of any child who has been placed under the supervision or care of the department shall provide to the department his or her name, address, social security number, date of birth, driver license number or identification card number, and sufficient financial information so as to assist the court in determining the parent’s ability to pay any fee associated with the cost of the child’s supervision or care. If the parent refuses to provide the department with the information required by this subsection, the court shall order the parent to provide such information. The failure of the parent to comply with such order of the court constitutes contempt of court, and the court may punish the parent accordingly.
(3) At the time of any detention or disposition hearing, the court shall receive the information described in subsection (2), as well as any other verbal or written information offered as to the ability of the parent of a child who is being placed under the supervision or care of the department to pay any fee imposed pursuant to this section and whether the payment of such fee will create a significant financial hardship. The court may apportion the obligation for the fee to each parent in a manner it deems appropriate; however, the total amount of the daily fee may not exceed the amounts specified in this section. Any finding made by the court as to the ability of the parent to pay such fee, including any finding of indigency or significant financial hardship, shall be in writing and shall contain a detailed description of the facts supporting such finding. If the court makes a finding of indigency and significant financial hardship, the court shall waive the fee or reduce it to an amount deemed appropriate.
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3), the court may reduce or waive the fee as to each parent if the court makes a finding on the record that the parent was the victim of the delinquent act or violation of law for which the child has been placed under the supervision or care of the department and that the parent is cooperating or has cooperated with the investigation of the offense.
(5) The court shall order the payment of any fees required in this section as part of the detention or disposition order. Such order must include specific written findings as to what fees are ordered, reduced, or waived. If the court fails to enter an order as required by this section, the parent is deemed to have an obligation to pay to the department a fee in the amount of $1 per day for each day that the child is under the supervision of the department and $5 per day for each day that the child remains in the care of the department.
(6) Notwithstanding subsection (1), with respect to a child who reaches the age of 18 prior to the detention or disposition hearing, the court may elect to direct an order required by this section to such child, rather than to the child’s parent. With regard to a child who reaches 18 while under the supervision or care of the department, the court may, upon proper motion of any party, hold a hearing as to whether any party should be further obligated to pay any fee associated with cost of the supervision or care of such child. If the court does not enter an order under this subsection, it shall be presumed that the court intended for the parent to pay or to continue to pay the fees specified in this section. Any order entered pursuant to this subsection must include specific findings as to what fees are ordered, reduced, or waived as to the child.
(7) With respect to a child who has been placed under the supervision or care of the department and whose parent receives public assistance for any portion of such child’s care, the department must seek a federal waiver to garnish or otherwise order the payment of a portion of the public assistance relating to such child, in an amount not to exceed the amount of the parent’s obligation, in order to offset the costs to the department associated with providing supervision or care of such child.
(8) If any order entered pursuant to this section affects the guardianship of an estate, a certified copy of such order shall be delivered to the judge having jurisdiction over the guardianship of the estate.
(9) The department may employ a collection agency for the purpose of receiving, collecting, and managing the payment of any fees ordered pursuant to this section that have gone delinquent or unpaid for 90 days or more. The collection agency must be registered and in good standing under chapter 559. The department may pay for the services of the collection agency from available authorized funds or from funds generated by any collections under this subsection. Alternatively, the department may authorize the collection agency to withhold a specified amount of any fee collected as payment for its services.
(10) The department or the collection agency shall provide to the payor documentation of the payment of any fee paid pursuant to this section. Except as provided in subsection (9), all payments received by the department or the collection agency pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the department’s Grants and Donations Trust Fund.
(11) Under no circumstance shall the court or the department extend the child’s length of stay in the department’s supervision or care solely for the purpose of collecting the fees specified in this section.
(12) No parent or child shall be liable for any fee provided in this section unless:
(a) The child is adjudicated delinquent, or has adjudication of delinquency withheld, for the offense that gave rise to the supervision or care; or
(b) The child is found to have violated an order of the court, including any order of supervision or care, and the costs are associated with the violation of such order.

If any funds are paid for the supervision or care of a child who is determined not to meet the criteria specified in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), such funds shall be refunded to the payor forthwith.

(13) For purposes of this section, “parent” means any person who meets the definition of “parent” or “legal custody or guardian” in s. 985.03.
History.s. 1, ch. 2004-241; s. 7, ch. 2005-263; s. 11, ch. 2006-120; s. 6, ch. 2014-162; s. 4, ch. 2018-86.
Note.Former s. 985.2311.
PART II
RECORDS AND INFORMATION
985.04 Oaths; records; confidential information.
985.045 Court records.
985.046 Statewide information-sharing system; interagency workgroup.
985.047 Information systems.
985.04 Oaths; records; confidential information.
(1)(a) Except as provided in subsections (2), (3), (6), and (7) and s. 943.053, all information obtained under this chapter in the discharge of official duty by any judge, any employee of the court, any authorized agent of the department, the Florida Commission on Offender Review, the Department of Corrections, the juvenile justice circuit boards, any law enforcement agent, or any licensed professional or licensed community agency representative participating in the assessment or treatment of a juvenile is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. This exemption applies to information obtained before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption.
(b) Such confidential and exempt information may be disclosed only to the authorized personnel of the court, the department and its designees, the Department of Corrections, the Florida Commission on Offender Review, law enforcement agents, school superintendents and their designees, any licensed professional or licensed community agency representative participating in the assessment or treatment of a juvenile, and others entitled under this chapter to receive that information, or upon order of the court.
(c) Within each county, the sheriff, the chiefs of police, the district school superintendent, and the department shall enter into an interagency agreement for the purpose of sharing information about juvenile offenders among all parties. The agreement must specify the conditions under which summary criminal history information is to be made available to appropriate school personnel, and the conditions under which school records are to be made available to appropriate department personnel. Such agreement shall require notification to any classroom teacher of assignment to the teacher’s classroom of a juvenile who has been placed in a probation or commitment program for a felony offense. The agencies entering into such agreement must comply with s. 943.0525, and must maintain the confidentiality of information that is otherwise exempt from s. 119.07(1), as provided by law.
(2)(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the name, photograph, address, and crime or arrest report of a child:
1. Taken into custody by a law enforcement officer for a violation of law which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony;
2. Charged with a violation of law which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony;
3. Found to have committed an offense which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony; or
4. Transferred to adult court pursuant to part X of this chapter,

are not considered confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) solely because of the child’s age.

(b) A public records custodian may choose not to electronically publish on the custodian’s website the arrest or booking photographs of a child which are not confidential and exempt under this section or otherwise restricted from publication by law; however, this paragraph does not restrict public access to records as provided by s. 119.07.
(3) A law enforcement agency may release a copy of the juvenile offense report to the victim of the offense. However, information gained by the victim under this chapter, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, regarding any case handled in juvenile court, must not be revealed to any outside party, except as is reasonably necessary in pursuit of legal remedies.
(4)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, when a child of any age is taken into custody by a law enforcement officer for an offense that would have been a felony if committed by an adult, or a crime of violence, the law enforcement agency must notify the superintendent of schools that the child is alleged to have committed the delinquent act.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) or any other provision of this section, when a child of any age is formally charged by a state attorney with a felony or a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, the state attorney shall notify the superintendent of the child’s school that the child has been charged with such felony or delinquent act. The information obtained by the superintendent of schools under this section must be released within 48 hours after receipt to appropriate school personnel, including the principal of the school of the child and the director of transportation. The principal must immediately notify the child’s immediate classroom teachers, the child’s assigned bus driver, and any other school personnel whose duties include direct supervision of the child. Upon notification, the principal is authorized to begin disciplinary actions under s. 1006.09(1)-(4).
(c) The superintendent must notify the other school personnel whose duties include direct supervision of the child of the disposition of the charges against the child.
(d) The department shall disclose to the school superintendent the presence of any child in the care and custody or under the jurisdiction or supervision of the department who has a known history of criminal sexual behavior with other juveniles; is alleged to have committed juvenile sexual abuse as defined in s. 39.01; or has pled guilty or nolo contendere to, or has been found to have committed, a violation of chapter 794, chapter 796, chapter 800, s. 827.071, or s. 847.0133, regardless of adjudication. Any employee of a district school board who knowingly and willfully discloses such information to an unauthorized person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(5) Authorized agents of the department may administer oaths and affirmations.
(6)(a) Records maintained by the department, including copies of records maintained by the court, which pertain to a child found to have committed a delinquent act which, if committed by an adult, would be a crime specified in s. 435.04 may not be destroyed under this section for 25 years after the youth’s final referral to the department, except in cases of the death of the child. Such records, however, shall be sealed by the court for use only in meeting the screening requirements for personnel in s. 402.3055 and the other sections cited above, or under departmental rule; however, current criminal history information must be obtained from the Department of Law Enforcement in accordance with s. 943.053. The information shall be released to those persons specified in the above cited sections for the purposes of complying with those sections. The court may punish by contempt any person who releases or uses the records for any unauthorized purpose.
(b) Sexual offender and predator registration information as required in ss. 775.21, 943.0435, 944.606, 944.607, 985.481, and 985.4815 is a public record pursuant to s. 119.07(1) and as otherwise provided by law.
(7)(a) Records in the custody of the department regarding children are not open to inspection by the public. Such records may be inspected only upon order of the Secretary of Juvenile Justice or his or her authorized agent by persons who have sufficient reason and upon such conditions for their use and disposition as the secretary or his or her authorized agent deems proper. The information in such records may be disclosed only to other employees of the department who have a need therefor in order to perform their official duties; to other persons as authorized by rule of the department; and, upon request, to the Department of Corrections. The secretary or his or her authorized agent may permit properly qualified persons to inspect and make abstracts from records for statistical purposes under whatever conditions upon their use and disposition the secretary or his or her authorized agent deems proper, provided adequate assurances are given that children’s names and other identifying information will not be disclosed by the applicant.
(b) The destruction of records pertaining to children committed to or supervised by the department pursuant to a court order, which records are retained until a child reaches the age of 24 years or until a serious or habitual delinquent child reaches the age of 26 years, shall be subject to chapter 943.
(8) Criminal history information made available to governmental agencies by the Department of Law Enforcement or other criminal justice agencies shall not be used for any purpose other than that specified in the provision authorizing the releases.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 14, ch. 91-57; s. 14, ch. 93-39; s. 2, ch. 93-196; s. 6, ch. 93-200; s. 23, ch. 93-230; s. 33, ch. 94-209; s. 1344, ch. 95-147; s. 117, ch. 95-418; s. 17, ch. 96-369; s. 18, ch. 96-388; s. 26, ch. 97-234; s. 4, ch. 97-238; s. 8, ch. 98-158; s. 128, ch. 99-3; s. 11, ch. 99-284; s. 19, ch. 2000-135; s. 15, ch. 2001-125; s. 120, ch. 2002-1; s. 1051, ch. 2002-387; s. 23, ch. 2004-267; s. 12, ch. 2006-120; s. 10, ch. 2007-209; s. 55, ch. 2010-114; s. 1, ch. 2010-192; s. 58, ch. 2014-191; s. 42, ch. 2014-224; s. 62, ch. 2016-24; s. 1, ch. 2016-78; s. 20, ch. 2016-104; s. 2, ch. 2021-118; s. 29, ch. 2021-156.
Note.Former s. 39.045.
985.045 Court records.
(1) The clerk of the court shall make and keep records of all cases brought before it under this chapter. The court shall preserve the records pertaining to a child charged with committing a delinquent act or violation of law until the child reaches 24 years of age or reaches 26 years of age if he or she is a serious or habitual delinquent child, until 5 years after the last entry was made, or until 3 years after the death of the child, whichever is earlier, and may then destroy them, except that records made of traffic offenses in which there is no allegation of delinquency may be destroyed as soon as this can be reasonably accomplished. The court shall make official records of all petitions and orders filed in a case arising under this chapter and of any other pleadings, certificates, proofs of publication, summonses, warrants, and writs that are filed pursuant to the case.
(2) The clerk shall keep all official records required by this section separate from other records of the circuit court, except those records pertaining to motor vehicle violations, which shall be forwarded to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Except as provided in ss. 943.053 and 985.04(6)(b) and (7), official records required by this chapter are not open to inspection by the public, but may be inspected only upon order of the court by persons deemed by the court to have a proper interest therein, except that a child and the parents, guardians, or legal custodians of the child and their attorneys, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Juvenile Justice and its designees, the Florida Commission on Offender Review, the Department of Corrections, and the Justice Administrative Commission shall always have the right to inspect and copy any official record pertaining to the child. Offices of the public defender and criminal conflict and civil regional counsel shall have access to official records of juveniles on whose behalf they are expected to appear in detention or other hearings before an appointment of representation. The court may permit authorized representatives of recognized organizations compiling statistics for proper purposes to inspect, and make abstracts from, official records under whatever conditions upon the use and disposition of such records the court may deem proper and may punish by contempt proceedings any violation of those conditions.
(3) All orders of the court entered under this chapter must be in writing and signed by the judge, except that the clerk or deputy clerk may sign a summons or notice to appear.
(4) A court record of proceedings under this chapter is not admissible in evidence in any other civil or criminal proceeding, except that:
(a) Orders transferring a child for trial as an adult are admissible in evidence in the court in which he or she is tried, but create no presumption as to the guilt of the child; nor may such orders be read to, or commented upon in the presence of, the jury in any trial.
(b) Orders binding an adult over for trial on a criminal charge, made by the committing trial court judge, are admissible in evidence in the court to which the adult is bound over.
(c) Records of proceedings under this chapter forming a part of the record on appeal must be used in the appellate court in the manner provided in s. 985.534.
(d) Records are admissible in evidence in any case in which a person is being tried upon a charge of having committed perjury, to the extent such records are necessary to prove the charge.
(e) Records of proceedings under this chapter may be used to prove disqualification under ss. 110.1127, 393.0655, 394.457, 397.4073, 402.305, 402.313, 409.175, 409.176, and 985.644.
(5) This chapter does not prohibit a circuit court from providing a restitution order containing the information prescribed in s. 985.0301(5)(d) to a collection court or a private collection agency for the sole purpose of collecting unpaid restitution ordered in a case in which the circuit court has retained jurisdiction over the child and the child’s parent or legal guardian. The collection court or private collection agency shall maintain the confidential status of the information to the extent such confidentiality is provided by law.
History.s. 5, ch. 97-238; s. 116, ch. 2000-349; s. 51, ch. 2004-11; s. 64, ch. 2005-236; s. 13, ch. 2006-120; s. 11, ch. 2007-209; s. 7, ch. 2012-56; s. 10, ch. 2013-109; s. 7, ch. 2014-162; s. 59, ch. 2014-191; s. 12, ch. 2016-78; s. 34, ch. 2017-173; s. 15, ch. 2022-195.
Note.Former s. 985.05.
985.046 Statewide information-sharing system; interagency workgroup.
(1) The Department of Education, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Department of Law Enforcement shall create an information-sharing workgroup for the purpose of developing and implementing a workable statewide system of sharing information among school districts, state and local law enforcement agencies, providers, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Department of Education. The system shall build on processes previously authorized in statute and on any revisions to federal statutes on confidentiality. The information to be shared shall focus on youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system, youth who have been tried as adults and found guilty of felonies, and students who have been serious discipline problems in schools. The participating agencies shall implement improvements that maximize the sharing of information within applicable state and federal statutes and rules and that utilize statewide databases and data delivery systems to streamline access to the information needed to provide joint services to disruptive, violent, and delinquent youth.
(2) The interagency workgroup shall be coordinated through the Department of Education and shall include representatives from the state agencies specified in subsection (1), school superintendents, school district information system directors, principals, teachers, juvenile court judges, police chiefs, county sheriffs, clerks of the circuit court, the Department of Children and Families, providers of juvenile services including a provider from a juvenile substance abuse program, and circuit juvenile justice managers.
(3) The interagency workgroup shall, at a minimum, address the following:
(a) The use of the Florida Information Resource Network and other statewide information access systems as means of delivering information to school personnel or providing an initial screening for purposes of determining whether further access to information is warranted.
(b) A statewide information delivery system that will provide local access by participating agencies and schools.
(c) The need for cooperative agreements among agencies which may access information.
(d) Legal considerations and the need for legislative action necessary for accessing information by participating agencies.
(e) Guidelines for how the information shall be accessed, used, and disseminated.
(f) The organizational level at which information may be accessed and shared.
(g) The specific information to be maintained and shared through the system.
(h) The cost implications of an improved system.
(4) The Department of Education, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Department of Law Enforcement shall implement improvements leading to the statewide information access and delivery system, to the extent feasible, and shall develop a cooperative agreement specifying their roles in such a system.
(5) Members of the interagency workgroup shall serve without added compensation and each participating agency shall support the travel, per diem, and other expenses of its representatives.
History.s. 61, ch. 95-267; s. 5, ch. 97-101; s. 6, ch. 97-238; s. 77, ch. 99-5; s. 20, ch. 2000-135; s. 14, ch. 2006-120; s. 344, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.0573; s. 985.06.
985.047 Information systems.
(1)(a) For the purpose of assisting in law enforcement administration and decisionmaking, such as juvenile diversion from continued involvement with the law enforcement and judicial systems, the sheriff of the county in which juveniles are taken into custody is encouraged to maintain a central identification file on serious habitual juvenile offenders and on juveniles who are at risk of becoming serious habitual juvenile offenders by virtue of having an arrest record.
(b) The central identification file shall contain, but not be limited to, pertinent dependency record information maintained by the Department of Children and Families and delinquency record information maintained by the Department of Juvenile Justice; pertinent school records, including information on behavior, attendance, and achievement; pertinent information on delinquency and dependency maintained by law enforcement agencies and the state attorney; and pertinent information on delinquency and dependency maintained by those agencies charged with screening, assessment, planning, and treatment responsibilities. The information obtained shall be used to develop a multiagency information sheet on serious habitual juvenile offenders or juveniles who are at risk of becoming serious habitual juvenile offenders. The agencies and persons specified in this paragraph shall cooperate with the law enforcement agency or county in providing needed information and in developing the multiagency information sheet to the greatest extent possible.
(c) As used in this section, “a juvenile who is at risk of becoming a serious habitual juvenile offender” means a juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent and who meets one or more of the following criteria:
1. Is arrested for a capital, life, or first degree felony offense or sexual battery.
2. Has five or more arrests, at least three of which are for felony offenses. Three of such arrests must have occurred within the preceding 12-month period.
3. Has 10 or more arrests, at least 2 of which are for felony offenses. Three of such arrests must have occurred within the preceding 12-month period.
4. Has four or more arrests, at least one of which is for a felony offense and occurred within the preceding 12-month period.
5. Has 10 or more arrests, at least 8 of which are for any of the following offenses:
a. Petit theft;
b. Misdemeanor assault;
c. Possession of a controlled substance;
d. Weapon or firearm violation; or
e. Substance abuse.

Four of such arrests must have occurred within the preceding 12-month period.

6. Meets at least one of the criteria for criminal gang membership.
(2)(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, confidentiality of records information does not apply to juveniles who have been arrested for an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult, regarding the sharing of the information on the juvenile with the law enforcement agency or county and any agency or person providing information for the development of the multiagency information sheet as well as the courts, the child, the parents or legal custodians of the child, their attorneys, or any other person authorized by the court to have access. A public or private educational agency shall provide pertinent records to and cooperate with the law enforcement agency or county in providing needed information and developing the multiagency information sheet to the greatest extent possible. Neither these records provided to the law enforcement agency or county nor the records developed from these records for serious habitual juvenile offenders nor the records provided or developed from records provided to the law enforcement agency or county on juveniles at risk of becoming serious habitual juvenile offenders shall be available for public disclosure and inspection under s. 119.07.
(b) The department shall notify the sheriffs of both the prior county of residence and the new county of residence immediately upon learning of the move or other relocation of a juvenile offender who has been adjudicated or had adjudication withheld for a violent misdemeanor or violent felony.
(3) A law enforcement agency or county that implements a juvenile offender information system must annually provide information gathered during the previous year to the delinquency and gang prevention council of the judicial circuit in which the county is located. This information must include the number, types, and patterns of delinquency tracked by the juvenile offender information system.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 5, ch. 92-287; s. 4, ch. 93-196; s. 4, ch. 93-230; s. 49, ch. 94-209; s. 17, ch. 95-267; s. 19, ch. 96-388; s. 166, ch. 97-101; s. 8, ch. 97-238; s. 14, ch. 2006-120; s. 31, ch. 2008-238; s. 168, ch. 2010-102; s. 345, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.0585; s. 985.08.
PART III
CUSTODY AND INTAKE;
INTERVENTION AND DIVERSION
985.101 Taking a child into custody.
985.11 Fingerprinting and photographing.
985.115 Release or delivery from custody.
985.12 Civil citation or similar prearrest diversion programs.
985.125 Prearrest or postarrest diversion programs.
985.126 Diversion programs; data collection; denial of participation or expunged record.
985.13 Probable cause affidavits.
985.135 Juvenile assessment centers.
985.14 Intake and case management system.
985.145 Responsibilities of the department during intake; screenings and assessments.
985.15 Filing decisions.
985.155 Neighborhood restorative justice.
985.16 Community arbitration.
985.17 Prevention services.
985.175 The PACE Center for Girls.
985.101 Taking a child into custody.
(1) A child may be taken into custody under the following circumstances:
(a) Pursuant to an order of the circuit court issued under this chapter, based upon sworn testimony, either before or after a petition is filed.
(b) For a delinquent act or violation of law, pursuant to Florida law pertaining to a lawful arrest. If such delinquent act or violation of law would be a felony if committed by an adult or involves a crime of violence, the arresting authority shall immediately notify the district school superintendent, or the superintendent’s designee, of the school district with educational jurisdiction of the child. Such notification shall include other education providers such as the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, university developmental research schools, and private elementary and secondary schools. The information obtained by the superintendent of schools pursuant to this section must be released within 48 hours after receipt to appropriate school personnel, including the principal of the child’s school, or as otherwise provided by law. The principal must immediately notify the child’s immediate classroom teachers. Information provided by an arresting authority under this paragraph may not be placed in the student’s permanent record and shall be removed from all school records no later than 9 months after the date of the arrest.
(c) By a law enforcement officer for failing to appear at a court hearing after being properly noticed. However, before a court issues an order to take a child into custody for failing to appear, it must consider all of the following information relating to whether the child’s nonappearance was willful:
1. Whether notice was sent to the child’s address included in the official court record.
2. Whether any person provided notice to the child in any format.
3. If the child is represented by counsel, whether counsel for the child has information that the nonappearance was not willful or was otherwise beyond the child’s control.
4. Whether a department representative had contact or attempted to have contact with the child.
5. Whether the department has any other specific information to assist the court in making the determination.
(d) By a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that the child is in violation of the conditions of the child’s probation, supervised release detention, postcommitment probation, or conditional release supervision; has absconded from nonresidential commitment; or has escaped from residential commitment.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow the detention of a child who does not meet the detention criteria in part V.

(2) Except in emergency situations, a child may not be placed into or transported in any police car or similar vehicle that at the same time contains an adult under arrest, unless the adult is alleged or believed to be involved in the same offense or transaction as the child.
(3) When a child is taken into custody as provided in this section, the person taking the child into custody shall attempt to notify the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child. The person taking the child into custody shall continue such attempt until the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child is notified or the child is delivered to the department under ss. 985.14 and 985.145, whichever occurs first. If the child is delivered to the department before the parent, guardian, or legal custodian is notified, the department shall continue the attempt to notify until the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child is notified. Following notification, the parent or guardian must provide identifying information, including name, address, date of birth, social security number, and driver license number or identification card number of the parent or guardian to the person taking the child into custody or the department.
(4) Taking a child into custody is not an arrest except for the purpose of determining whether the taking into custody or the obtaining of any evidence in conjunction therewith is lawful.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 3, ch. 92-130; s. 7, ch. 92-287; ss. 26, 31, ch. 94-209; s. 1340, ch. 95-147; s. 7, ch. 95-267; ss. 15, 23, ch. 97-238; ss. 8, 13, ch. 98-207; s. 12, ch. 99-284; s. 6, ch. 2000-134; s. 22, ch. 2000-135; s. 16, ch. 2001-125; s. 2, ch. 2005-263; s. 15, ch. 2006-120; s. 8, ch. 2014-162; s. 5, ch. 2018-86; s. 2, ch. 2021-219.
Note.Subsections (1), (3), (4) former s. 39.037; s. 985.207. Subsection (2) former s. 39.044(3); s. 985.215(3).
985.11 Fingerprinting and photographing.
(1)(a) A child who is charged with or found to have committed an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult shall be fingerprinted and the fingerprints must be submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement as provided in s. 943.051(3)(a).
(b) Unless the child is issued a civil citation or is participating in a similar diversion program pursuant to s. 985.12, a child who is charged with or found to have committed one of the following offenses shall be fingerprinted, and the fingerprints shall be submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement as provided in s. 943.051(3)(b):
1. Assault, as defined in s. 784.011.
2. Battery, as defined in s. 784.03.
3. Carrying a concealed weapon, as defined in s. 790.01(2).
4. Unlawful use of destructive devices or bombs, as defined in s. 790.1615(1).
5. Neglect of a child, as defined in s. 827.03(1)(e).
6. Assault on a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, or other specified officers, as defined in s. 784.07(2)(a).
7. Open carrying of a weapon, as defined in s. 790.053.
8. Exposure of sexual organs, as defined in s. 800.03.
9. Unlawful possession of a firearm, as defined in s. 790.22(5).
10. Petit theft, as defined in s. 812.014.
11. Cruelty to animals, as defined in s. 828.12(1).
12. Arson, resulting in bodily harm to a firefighter, as defined in s. 806.031(1).
13. Unlawful possession or discharge of a weapon or firearm at a school-sponsored event or on school property as defined in s. 790.115.

A law enforcement agency may fingerprint and photograph a child taken into custody upon probable cause that such child has committed any other violation of law, as the agency deems appropriate. Such fingerprint records and photographs shall be retained by the law enforcement agency in a separate file, and these records and all copies thereof must be marked “Juvenile Confidential.” These records are not available for public disclosure and inspection under s. 119.07(1) except as provided in ss. 943.053 and 985.04(2), but shall be available to other law enforcement agencies, criminal justice agencies, state attorneys, the courts, the child, the parents or legal custodians of the child, their attorneys, and any other person authorized by the court to have access to such records. In addition, such records may be submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement for inclusion in the state criminal history records and used by criminal justice agencies for criminal justice purposes. These records may, in the discretion of the court, be open to inspection by anyone upon a showing of cause. The fingerprint and photograph records shall be produced in the court whenever directed by the court. Any photograph taken pursuant to this section may be shown by a law enforcement officer to any victim or witness of a crime for the purpose of identifying the person who committed such crime.

(c) The court shall be responsible for the fingerprinting of any child at the disposition hearing if the child has been adjudicated or had adjudication withheld for any felony in the case currently before the court.
(2) If the child is not referred to the court, or if the child is found not to have committed a violation of law, the court may, after notice to the law enforcement agency involved, order the originals and copies of the fingerprints and photographs destroyed. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, if the child is found to have committed an offense which would be a felony if it had been committed by an adult, then the law enforcement agency having custody of the fingerprint and photograph records shall retain the originals and immediately thereafter forward adequate duplicate copies to the court along with the written offense report relating to the matter for which the child was taken into custody. Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, the clerk of the court, after the disposition hearing on the case, shall forward duplicate copies of the fingerprints and photographs, together with the child’s name, address, date of birth, age, and sex, to:
(a) The sheriff of the county in which the child was taken into custody, in order to maintain a central child identification file in that county.
(b) The law enforcement agency of each municipality having a population in excess of 50,000 persons and located in the county of arrest, if so requested specifically or by a general request by that agency.
(3) This section does not prohibit the fingerprinting or photographing of child traffic violators. All records of such traffic violations shall be kept in the full name of the violator and shall be open to inspection and publication in the same manner as adult traffic violations. This section does not apply to the photographing of children by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 6, ch. 93-204; s. 28, ch. 94-209; s. 8, ch. 95-267; s. 2, ch. 96-293; s. 20, ch. 96-322; s. 17, ch. 96-388; s. 13, ch. 96-406; s. 162, ch. 97-101; s. 20, ch. 97-238; s. 14, ch. 99-284; s. 2, ch. 2002-51; s. 17, ch. 2006-120; s. 7, ch. 2007-112; s. 64, ch. 2013-116; s. 346, ch. 2014-19; s. 10, ch. 2014-162; s. 3, ch. 2015-46; s. 13, ch. 2016-78; s. 35, ch. 2023-18.
Note.Former s. 39.039; s. 985.212.
985.115 Release or delivery from custody.
(1) A child taken into custody shall be released from custody as soon as is reasonably possible.
(2) Unless otherwise ordered by the court under s. 985.255 or s. 985.26, and unless there is a need to hold the child, a person taking a child into custody shall attempt to release the child as follows:
(a) To the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian or, if the child’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian is unavailable, unwilling, or unable to provide supervision for the child, to any responsible adult. Prior to releasing the child to a responsible adult, other than the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, the person taking the child into custody may conduct a criminal history background check of the person to whom the child is to be released. If the person has a prior felony conviction, or a conviction for child abuse, drug trafficking, or prostitution, that person is not a responsible adult for the purposes of this section. The person to whom the child is released shall agree to inform the department or the person releasing the child of the child’s subsequent change of address and to produce the child in court at such time as the court may direct, and the child shall join in the agreement.
(b) Contingent upon specific appropriation, to a shelter approved by the department or to an authorized agent.
(c) If the child is believed to be suffering from a serious physical condition which requires either prompt diagnosis or prompt treatment, to a law enforcement officer who shall deliver the child to a hospital for necessary evaluation and treatment.
(d) If the child is believed to be mentally ill as defined in s. 394.463(1), to a law enforcement officer who shall take the child to a designated public receiving facility as defined in s. 394.455 for examination under s. 394.463.
(e) If the child appears to be intoxicated and has threatened, attempted, or inflicted physical harm on himself or herself or another, or is incapacitated by substance abuse, to a law enforcement officer who shall deliver the child to a hospital, addictions receiving facility, or treatment resource.
(f) If available, to a juvenile assessment center equipped and staffed to assume custody of the child for the purpose of assessing the needs of the child in custody. The center may then release or deliver the child under this section with a copy of the assessment.
(3) Upon taking a child into custody, a law enforcement officer may deliver the child, for temporary custody not to exceed 6 hours, to a secure booking area of a jail or other facility intended or used for the detention of adults, for the purpose of fingerprinting or photographing the child or awaiting appropriate transport to the department or as provided in s. 985.13(2), provided no regular sight and sound contact between the child and adult inmates or trustees is permitted and the receiving facility has adequate staff to supervise and monitor the child’s activities at all times.
(4) Nothing in this section or s. 985.13 shall prohibit the proper use of law enforcement diversion programs. Law enforcement agencies may initiate and conduct diversion programs designed to divert a child from the need for department custody or judicial handling. Such programs may be cooperative projects with local community service agencies.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 9, ch. 92-287; s. 27, ch. 94-209; s. 1341, ch. 95-147; s. 19, ch. 97-238; s. 18, ch. 2006-120; s. 9, ch. 2012-105; s. 6, ch. 2014-161; s. 10, ch. 2017-164.
Note.Former s. 39.038(1), (2), (5), (7); s. 985.211(1), (2), (5), (7).
985.12 Civil citation or similar prearrest diversion programs.
(1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.The Legislature finds that the creation and implementation of civil citation or similar prearrest diversion programs at the judicial circuit level promotes public safety, aids interagency cooperation, and provides the greatest chance of success for civil citation and similar prearrest diversion programs. The Legislature further finds that the widespread use of civil citation and similar prearrest diversion programs has a positive effect on the criminal justice system and contributes to an overall reduction in the crime rate and recidivism in the state. The Legislature encourages but does not mandate that counties, municipalities, and public or private educational institutions participate in a civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program created by their judicial circuit under this section.
(2) JUDICIAL CIRCUIT CIVIL CITATION OR SIMILAR PREARREST DIVERSION PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, IMPLEMENTATION, AND OPERATION.
(a) A civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program for misdemeanor offenses shall be established in each judicial circuit in the state. The state attorney and public defender of each circuit, the clerk of the court for each county in the circuit, and representatives of participating law enforcement agencies in the circuit shall create a civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program and develop its policies and procedures. In developing the program’s policies and procedures, input from other interested stakeholders may be solicited. The department shall annually develop and provide guidelines on best practice models for civil citation or similar prearrest diversion programs to the judicial circuits as a resource.
(b) Each judicial circuit’s civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program must specify:
1. The misdemeanor offenses that qualify a juvenile for participation in the program;
2. The eligibility criteria for the program;
3. The program’s implementation and operation;
4. The program’s requirements, including, but not limited to, the completion of community service hours, payment of restitution, if applicable, and intervention services indicated by a needs assessment of the juvenile, approved by the department, such as family counseling, urinalysis monitoring, and substance abuse and mental health treatment services; and
5. A program fee, if any, to be paid by a juvenile participating in the program. If the program imposes a fee, the clerk of the court of the applicable county must receive a reasonable portion of the fee.
(c) The state attorney of each circuit shall operate a civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program in each circuit. A sheriff, police department, county, municipality, locally authorized entity, or public or private educational institution may continue to operate an independent civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program that is in operation as of October 1, 2018, if the independent program is reviewed by the state attorney of the applicable circuit and he or she determines that the independent program is substantially similar to the civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program developed by the circuit. If the state attorney determines that the independent program is not substantially similar to the civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program developed by the circuit, the operator of the independent diversion program may revise the program and the state attorney may conduct an additional review of the independent program.
(d) A judicial circuit may model an existing sheriff’s, police department’s, county’s, municipality’s, locally authorized entity’s, or public or private educational institution’s independent civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program in developing the civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program for the circuit.
(e) If a juvenile does not successfully complete the civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program, the arresting law enforcement officer shall determine if there is good cause to arrest the juvenile for the original misdemeanor offense and refer the case to the state attorney to determine if prosecution is appropriate or allow the juvenile to continue in the program.
(f) Each civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program shall enter the appropriate youth data into the Juvenile Justice Information System Prevention Web within 7 days after the admission of the youth into the program.
(g) At the conclusion of a juvenile’s civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program, the state attorney or operator of the independent program shall report the outcome to the department. The issuance of a civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program notice is not considered a referral to the department.
(h) Upon issuing a civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program notice, the law enforcement officer shall send a copy of the civil citation or similar prearrest diversion program notice to the parent or guardian of the child and to the victim.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 1, ch. 92-20; s. 23, ch. 94-209; s. 45, ch. 97-238; s. 19, ch. 98-207; s. 19, ch. 2006-120; s. 1, ch. 2011-124; s. 1, ch. 2015-46; s. 9, ch. 2018-127; s. 73, ch. 2019-167.
Note.Former s. 39.0255; s. 985.301.
985.125 Prearrest or postarrest diversion programs.
(1) A law enforcement agency or school district, in cooperation with the state attorney, may establish a prearrest or postarrest diversion program.
(2) As part of the prearrest or postarrest diversion program, a child who is alleged to have committed a delinquent act may be required to surrender his or her driver license, or refrain from applying for a driver license, for not more than 90 days. If the child fails to comply with the requirements of the program, the state attorney may notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in writing to suspend the child’s driver license for a period that may not exceed 90 days.
History.s. 1, ch. 99-267; s. 29, ch. 2001-125; s. 11, ch. 2001-127; s. 20, ch. 2006-120; s. 4, ch. 2016-42; s. 10, ch. 2018-127.
Note.Former s. 985.3065.
985.126 Diversion programs; data collection; denial of participation or expunged record.
(1) As used in this section, the term “diversion program” has the same meaning as provided in s. 943.0582.
(2) Upon issuance of documentation requiring a minor to participate in a diversion program, before or without an arrest, the issuing law enforcement officer shall send a copy of such documentation to the entity designated to operate the diversion program, which shall enter such information into the Juvenile Justice Information System Prevention Web within 7 days after the youth’s admission into the program.
(3)(a) Beginning October 1, 2018, each diversion program shall submit data to the department which identifies for each minor participating in the diversion program:
1. The race, ethnicity, gender, and age of that minor.
2. The offense committed, including the specific law establishing the offense.
3. The judicial circuit and county in which the offense was committed and the law enforcement agency that had contact with the minor for the offense.
4. Other demographic information necessary to properly register a case into the Juvenile Justice Information System Prevention Web, as specified by the department.
(b) Beginning October 1, 2018, each law enforcement agency shall submit to the department data that identifies for each minor who was eligible for a diversion program, but was instead referred to the department, provided a notice to appear, or arrested:
1. The data required pursuant to paragraph (a).
2. Whether the minor was offered the opportunity to participate in a diversion program. If the minor was:
a. Not offered such opportunity, the reason such offer was not made.
b. Offered such opportunity, whether the minor or his or her parent or legal guardian declined to participate in the diversion program.
(c) The data required pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be entered into the Juvenile Justice Information System Prevention Web within 7 days after the youth’s admission into the program.
(d) The data required pursuant to paragraph (b) shall be submitted on or with the arrest affidavit or notice to appear.
(4) Beginning January 1, 2019, the department shall compile and semiannually publish the data required by subsection (3) on the department’s website in a format that is, at a minimum, sortable by judicial circuit, county, law enforcement agency, race, ethnicity, gender, age, and offense committed.
(5) A minor who successfully completes a diversion program and who has been granted an expunction under s. 943.0582 may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge his or her participation in the program and such expunction of a nonjudicial arrest record, unless the inquiry is made by a criminal justice agency, as defined in s. 943.045, for a purpose described in s. 943.0582(2)(b)1.
(6) The department shall adopt rules to implement this section.
History.s. 12, ch. 2018-127; s. 74, ch. 2019-167; s. 2, ch. 2022-111.
985.13 Probable cause affidavits.
(1) If the child is released, the person taking the child into custody shall make a written report or probable cause affidavit to the appropriate juvenile probation officer within 24 hours after such release, stating the facts and the reason for taking the child into custody. Such written report or probable cause affidavit shall:
(a) Identify the child, the parents, guardian, or legal custodian, and the person to whom the child was released.
(b) Contain sufficient information to establish the jurisdiction of the court and to make a prima facie showing that the child has committed a violation of law or a delinquent act.
(2) A person taking a child into custody who determines, under part V, that the child should be detained or released to a shelter designated by the department, shall make a reasonable effort to immediately notify the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child and shall, without unreasonable delay, deliver the child to the appropriate juvenile probation officer or, if the court has so ordered under s. 985.255 or s. 985.26, to a detention center or facility. Upon delivery of the child, the person taking the child into custody shall make a written report or probable cause affidavit to the appropriate juvenile probation officer. Such written report or probable cause affidavit must:
(a) Identify the child and, if known, the parents, guardian, or legal custodian.
(b) Establish that the child was legally taken into custody, with sufficient information to establish the jurisdiction of the court and to make a prima facie showing that the child has committed a violation of law.
(3)(a) A copy of the probable cause affidavit or written report made by the person taking the child into custody shall be filed, by the law enforcement agency which employs the person making such affidavit or written report, with the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the child is taken into custody or in which the affidavit or report is made within 24 hours after the affidavit or report is made, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. Such affidavit or report is a case for the purpose of assigning a uniform case number under this subsection.
(b) Upon the filing of a copy of a probable cause affidavit or written report by a law enforcement agency with the clerk of the circuit court, the clerk shall immediately assign a uniform case number to the affidavit or report, forward a copy to the state attorney, and forward a copy to the intake office of the department which serves the county in which the case arose.
(c) Each letter of recommendation, written notice, report, or other paper required by law pertaining to the case shall bear the uniform case number of the case, and a copy shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court by the issuing agency. The issuing agency shall furnish copies to the juvenile probation officer and the state attorney.
(d) Upon the filing of a petition based on the allegations of a previously filed probable cause affidavit or written report, the agency filing the petition shall include the appropriate uniform case number on the petition.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 9, ch. 92-287; s. 27, ch. 94-209; s. 1341, ch. 95-147; s. 19, ch. 97-238; s. 12, ch. 98-207; s. 7, ch. 2000-134; s. 21, ch. 2006-120; s. 11, ch. 2017-164.
Note.Former s. 39.038(3), (4), (6); s. 985.211(3), (4), (6).
985.135 Juvenile assessment centers.
(1) As used in this section, “center” means a juvenile assessment center comprising community operated facilities and programs which provide collocated central intake and screening services for youth referred to the department.
(2) The department shall work cooperatively with substance abuse programs, mental health providers, law enforcement agencies, schools, health service providers, state attorneys, public defenders, and other agencies serving youth to establish juvenile assessment centers. Each current and newly established center shall be developed and modified through the local initiative of community agencies and local governments and shall provide a broad array of youth-related services appropriate to the needs of the community where the center is located.
(3) Each center shall be managed and governed by the participating agencies, consistent with respective statutory requirements of each agency, through an advisory committee and interagency agreements established with participating entities. The advisory committee shall guide the center’s operation and ensure that appropriate and relevant agencies are collaboratively participating in and providing services at the center. Each participating state agency shall have operational oversight of only those individual service components located and provided at the center for which the state agency has statutory authority and responsibility.
(4) Each center shall provide collocated central intake and screening services for youth referred to the department. The center shall provide sufficient services needed to facilitate the initial screening of and case processing for youth, including, at a minimum, delinquency intake; positive identification of the youth; detention admission screening; needs assessment; substance abuse screening and assessments; physical and mental health screening; and diagnostic testing as appropriate. The department shall provide sufficient staff and resources at a center to provide detention screening and intake services.
(5) Each center is authorized and encouraged to establish truancy programs. A truancy program may serve as providing the central intake and screening of truant children for a specific geographic area based upon written agreements between the center, local law enforcement agencies, and local school boards. A center may work cooperatively with any truancy program operating in the area serving the center.
(6) Each center must provide for the coordination and sharing of information among the participating agencies to facilitate the screening of and case processing for youth referred to the department.
(7) The department may utilize juvenile assessment centers to the fullest extent possible for the purpose of conducting predisposition assessments and evaluations of youth. Assessments and evaluations may be conducted by juvenile assessment center staff on a youth while he or she is in a juvenile detention center awaiting placement in a residential commitment facility. If feasible, a youth may be transported from a juvenile detention center to a juvenile assessment center for the purpose of conducting an assessment or evaluation. Such assessments and evaluations may include, but are not limited to, needs assessment; substance abuse evaluations; physical and mental health evaluations; psychological evaluations; behavioral assessments; educational assessments; aptitude testing; and vocational testing. To the extent possible, the youth’s parents or guardians and other family members should be involved in the assessment and evaluation process. All information, conclusions, treatment recommendations, and reports derived from any assessment and evaluation performed on a youth shall be included as a part of the youth’s commitment packet and shall accompany the youth to the residential commitment facility in which the youth is placed.
History.s. 36, ch. 94-209; s. 17, ch. 97-238; s. 10, ch. 98-207; s. 4, ch. 2000-327; s. 22, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 39.0471; s. 985.209.
985.14 Intake and case management system.
(1) The department shall develop an intake and a case management system whereby a child brought into intake is assigned a juvenile probation officer if the child was not released, referred to a diversionary program, referred for community arbitration, or referred to some other program or agency for the purpose of nonofficial or nonjudicial handling, and shall make every reasonable effort to provide case management services for the child; provided, however, that case management for children committed to residential programs may be transferred as provided in s. 985.46.
(2) The intake process shall be performed by the department or juvenile assessment center personnel through a case management system. The purpose of the intake process is to assess the child’s needs and risks and to determine the most appropriate treatment plan and setting for the child’s programmatic needs and risks. The intake process shall consist of a preliminary screening and may be followed by a comprehensive assessment. The comprehensive assessment may consist of a full mental health, cognitive impairment, substance abuse, or psychosexual evaluation. The intake process shall result in choosing the most appropriate services through a balancing of the interests and needs of the child with those of the family and the community. The department shall be responsible for making informed decisions and recommendations to other agencies, the state attorney, and the courts so that the child and family may receive the least intrusive service alternative throughout the judicial process. The department shall establish uniform procedures for the department to provide a preliminary screening of the child and family for substance abuse and mental health services prior to the filing of a petition or as soon as possible thereafter and prior to a disposition hearing.
(3) The intake and case management system shall facilitate consistency in the recommended placement of each child, and in the assessment, classification, and placement process, with the following purposes:
(a) An individualized, multidisciplinary assessment process that identifies the priority needs of each child for rehabilitation and treatment and identifies any needs of the child’s parents or guardians for services that would enhance their ability to provide adequate support, guidance, and supervision for the child. The process begins with the detention risk assessment instrument and decision, includes the intake preliminary screening and comprehensive assessment for substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, intellectual disability services, literacy services, and other educational and treatment services as components, additional assessment of the child’s treatment needs, and classification regarding the child’s risks to the community. The completed multidisciplinary assessment process must result in the predisposition report.
(b) A classification system that assigns a relative risk to the child and the community based upon assessments including the detention risk assessment results when available to classify the child’s risk as it relates to placement and supervision alternatives.
(c) An admissions process that facilitates for each child the utilization of the treatment plan and setting most appropriate to meet the child’s programmatic needs and provide the minimum program security needed to ensure public safety.
(4) The department shall annually advise the Legislature and the Executive Office of the Governor of the resources needed in order for the intake and case management system to maintain a staff-to-client ratio that is consistent with accepted standards and allows the necessary supervision and services for each child. The intake process and case management system shall provide a comprehensive approach to assessing the child’s needs, relative risks, and most appropriate handling, and shall be based on an individualized treatment plan.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 8, ch. 92-287; s. 7, ch. 93-230; s. 35, ch. 94-209; s. 1346, ch. 95-147; s. 163, ch. 97-101; s. 18, ch. 97-238; s. 11, ch. 98-207; s. 23, ch. 2000-135; s. 23, ch. 2006-120; s. 91, ch. 2012-5; s. 3, ch. 2012-56; s. 46, ch. 2013-162; s. 11, ch. 2014-162.
Note.Former s. 39.047(1), (2); s. 985.21(1), (2).
985.145 Responsibilities of the department during intake; screenings and assessments.
(1) The department shall serve as the primary case manager for the purpose of managing, coordinating, and monitoring the services provided to the child. Each program administrator within the Department of Children and Families shall cooperate with the primary case manager in carrying out the duties and responsibilities described in this section. In addition to duties specified in other sections and through departmental rules, the department shall be responsible for the following:
(a) Reviewing probable cause affidavit.The department shall make a preliminary determination as to whether the report, affidavit, or complaint is complete, consulting with the state attorney as may be necessary. A report, affidavit, or complaint alleging that a child has committed a delinquent act or violation of law shall be made to the intake office operating in the county in which the child is found or in which the delinquent act or violation of law occurred. Any person or agency having knowledge of the facts may make such a written report, affidavit, or complaint and shall furnish to the intake office facts sufficient to establish the jurisdiction of the court and to support a finding by the court that the child has committed a delinquent act or violation of law.
(b) Notification concerning apparent insufficiencies in probable cause affidavit.In any case where the department or the state attorney finds that the report, affidavit, or complaint is insufficient by the standards for a probable cause affidavit, the department or state attorney shall return the report, affidavit, or complaint, without delay, to the person or agency originating the report, affidavit, or complaint or having knowledge of the facts or to the appropriate law enforcement agency having investigative jurisdiction of the offense, and shall request, and the person or agency shall promptly furnish, additional information in order to comply with the standards for a probable cause affidavit.
(c) Screening.During the intake process, the department shall screen each child or shall cause each child to be screened in order to determine:
1. Appropriateness for release; referral to a diversionary program, including, but not limited to, a teen court program; referral for community arbitration; or referral to some other program or agency for the purpose of nonofficial or nonjudicial handling.
2. The presence of medical, psychiatric, psychological, substance abuse, educational, or career and technical education problems, or other conditions that may have caused the child to come to the attention of law enforcement or the department. The child shall also be screened to determine whether the child poses a danger to himself or herself or others in the community. The results of this screening shall be made available to the court and to court officers. In cases where such conditions are identified and a nonjudicial handling of the case is chosen, the department shall attempt to refer the child to a program or agency, together with all available and relevant assessment information concerning the child’s precipitating condition.
(d) Completing risk assessment instrument.The department shall ensure that a risk assessment instrument establishing the child’s eligibility for detention has been accurately completed and that the appropriate recommendation was made to the court.
(e) Rights.The department shall inquire as to whether the child understands his or her rights to counsel and against self-incrimination.
(f) Multidisciplinary assessment.The department shall coordinate the multidisciplinary assessment when required, which includes the classification and placement process that determines the child’s priority needs, risk classification, and treatment plan. When sufficient evidence exists to warrant a comprehensive assessment and the child fails to voluntarily participate in the assessment efforts, the department shall inform the court of the need for the assessment and the refusal of the child to participate in such assessment. This assessment, classification, and placement process shall develop into the predisposition report.
(g) Comprehensive assessment.The department, pursuant to uniform procedures established by the department and upon determining that the report, affidavit, or complaint is complete, shall:
1. Perform the preliminary screening and make referrals for a comprehensive assessment regarding the child’s need for substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, intellectual disability services, literacy services, or other educational or treatment services.
2. If indicated by the preliminary screening, provide for a comprehensive assessment of the child and family for substance abuse problems, using community-based licensed programs with clinical expertise and experience in the assessment of substance abuse problems.
3. If indicated by the preliminary screening, provide for a comprehensive assessment of the child and family for mental health problems, using community-based psychologists, psychiatrists, or other licensed mental health professionals who have clinical expertise and experience in the assessment of mental health problems.
(h) Referrals for services.The department shall make recommendations for services and facilitate the delivery of those services to the child, including any mental health services, educational services, family counseling services, family assistance services, and substance abuse services.
(i) Recommendation concerning a petition.Upon determining that the report, affidavit, or complaint complies with the standards of a probable cause affidavit and that the interests of the child and the public will be best served, the department may recommend that a delinquency petition not be filed. If such a recommendation is made, the department shall advise in writing the person or agency making the report, affidavit, or complaint, the victim, if any, and the law enforcement agency having investigative jurisdiction over the offense of the recommendation; the reasons therefor; and that the person or agency may submit, within 10 days after the receipt of such notice, the report, affidavit, or complaint to the state attorney for special review. The state attorney, upon receiving a request for special review, shall consider the facts presented by the report, affidavit, or complaint, and by the department who made the recommendation that no petition be filed, before making a final decision as to whether a petition or information should or should not be filed.
(j) Completing intake report.Subject to the interagency agreement authorized under this paragraph, the department shall submit a written report to the state attorney for each case in which a child is alleged to have committed a violation of law or delinquent act and is not detained. The report shall be submitted within 20 days after the date the child is taken into custody and include the original police report, complaint, or affidavit, or a copy thereof, and a copy of the child’s prior juvenile record. In cases in which the child is in detention, the intake office report must be submitted within 24 hours after the child is placed into detention. The intake office report may include a recommendation that a petition or information be filed or that no petition or information be filed and may set forth reasons for the recommendation. The state attorney and the department may, on a district-by-district basis, enter into interagency agreements denoting the cases that will require a recommendation and those for which a recommendation is unnecessary.
(2) Prior to requesting that a delinquency petition be filed or prior to filing a dependency petition, the department may request the parent or legal guardian of the child to attend a course of instruction in parenting skills, training in conflict resolution, and the practice of nonviolence; to accept counseling; or to receive other assistance from any agency in the community which notifies the clerk of the court of the availability of its services. Where appropriate, the department shall request both parents or guardians to receive such parental assistance. The department may, in determining whether to request that a delinquency petition be filed, take into consideration the willingness of the parent or legal guardian to comply with such request. The parent or guardian must provide the department with identifying information, including the parent’s or guardian’s name, address, date of birth, social security number, and driver license number or identification card number in order to comply with s. 985.039.
(3) When indicated by the comprehensive assessment, the department is authorized to contract within appropriated funds for services with a local nonprofit community mental health or substance abuse agency licensed or authorized under chapter 394 or chapter 397 or other authorized nonprofit social service agency providing related services. The determination of mental health or substance abuse services shall be conducted in coordination with existing programs providing mental health or substance abuse services in conjunction with the intake office.
(4) Client information resulting from the screening and evaluation shall be documented under rules of the department and shall serve to assist the department in providing the most appropriate services and recommendations in the least intrusive manner. Such client information shall be used in the multidisciplinary assessment and classification of the child, but such information, and any information obtained directly or indirectly through the assessment process, is inadmissible in court prior to the disposition hearing, unless the child’s written consent is obtained. At the disposition hearing, documented client information shall serve to assist the court in making the most appropriate custody, adjudicatory, and dispositional decision.
(5) If the screening and assessment indicate that the interests of the child and the public will be best served, the department, with the approval of the state attorney, may refer the child for care, diagnostic, and evaluation services; substance abuse treatment services; mental health services; intellectual disability services; a diversionary, arbitration, or mediation program; community service work; or other programs or treatment services voluntarily accepted by the child and the child’s parents or legal guardian. If a child volunteers to participate in any work program under this chapter or volunteers to work in a specified state, county, municipal, or community service organization supervised work program or to work for the victim, the child is considered an employee of the state for the purposes of liability. In determining the child’s average weekly wage, unless otherwise determined by a specific funding program, all remuneration received from the employer is considered a gratuity, and the child is not entitled to any benefits otherwise payable under s. 440.15 regardless of whether the child may be receiving wages and remuneration from other employment with another employer and regardless of the child’s future wage-earning capacity.
(6) The victim, if any, and the law enforcement agency that investigated the offense shall be notified immediately by the state attorney of the action taken under subsection (5).
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 16, ch. 93-39; s. 35, ch. 94-209; s. 12, ch. 95-267; s. 2, ch. 96-234; s. 18, ch. 97-238; s. 11, ch. 98-207; s. 2, ch. 99-257; s. 34, ch. 99-284; s. 17, ch. 2001-125; s. 2, ch. 2004-241; s. 24, ch. 2006-120; s. 47, ch. 2013-162; s. 347, ch. 2014-19; s. 12, ch. 2014-162; s. 11, ch. 2018-127; s. 75, ch. 2019-167.
Note.Former s. 39.047(3)-(5); s. 985.21(3)-(5).
985.15 Filing decisions.
(1) The state attorney may in all cases take action independent of the action or lack of action of the juvenile probation officer and shall determine the action that is in the best interest of the public and the child. If the child meets the criteria requiring prosecution as an adult under s. 985.556, the state attorney shall request the court to transfer and certify the child for prosecution as an adult or shall provide written reasons to the court for not making such a request. In all other cases, the state attorney may:
(a) File a petition for dependency;
(b) File a petition under chapter 984;
(c) File a petition for delinquency;
(d) File a petition for delinquency with a motion to transfer and certify the child for prosecution as an adult;
(e) File an information under s. 985.557;
(f) Refer the case to a grand jury;
(g) Refer the child to a diversionary, pretrial intervention, arbitration, or mediation program, or to some other treatment or care program if such program commitment is voluntarily accepted by the child or the child’s parents or legal guardian; or
(h) Decline to file.
(2) In cases in which a delinquency report, affidavit, or complaint is filed by a law enforcement agency and the state attorney determines not to file a petition, the state attorney shall advise the clerk of the circuit court in writing that no petition will be filed thereon.
History.s. 25, ch. 2006-120; s. 150, ch. 2019-167.
985.155 Neighborhood restorative justice.
(1) DEFINITIONS.For purposes of this section, the term:
(a) “Board” means a Restorative Justice Board established by the state attorney pursuant to subsection (3).
(b) “Center” means a Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center established by the state attorney pursuant to subsection (2).
(c) “First-time, nonviolent juvenile offender” means a minor who allegedly has committed a delinquent act or violation of law that would not be a crime of violence providing grounds for detention or incarceration and who does not have a previous record of being found to have committed a criminal or delinquent act or other violation of law.
(2) NEIGHBORHOOD RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CENTER.
(a) The state attorney may establish at least one Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center in designated geographical areas in the county for the purposes of operating a deferred prosecution program for first-time, nonviolent juvenile offenders.
(b) The state attorney may refer any first-time, nonviolent juvenile offender accused of committing a delinquent act to a Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center.
(3) RESTORATIVE JUSTICE BOARD.
(a) The state attorney may establish Restorative Justice Boards consisting of five volunteer members, of which: two are appointed by the state attorney; two are appointed by the public defender; and one is appointed by the chief judge of the circuit. The state attorney shall appoint a chair for each board.
(b) The board has jurisdiction to hear all matters involving first-time, nonviolent juvenile offenders who are alleged to have committed a delinquent act within the geographical area covered by the board.
(4) DEFERRED PROSECUTION PROGRAM; PROCEDURES.
(a) The participation by a juvenile in the deferred prosecution program through a Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center is voluntary. To participate in the deferred prosecution program, the juvenile who is referred to a Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center must take responsibility for the actions which led to the current accusation. The juvenile and the juvenile’s parent or legal guardian must waive the juvenile’s right to a speedy trial and the right to be represented by a public defender while in the Neighborhood Restorative Justice program. This waiver and acknowledgment of responsibility shall not be construed as an admission of guilt in future proceedings. The board or the board’s representative must inform the juvenile and the parent or legal guardian of the juvenile’s legal rights prior to the signing of the waiver.
(b) If the state attorney refers a juvenile matter to a Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center, the board shall convene a meeting within 15 days after receiving the referral.
(c) The board shall require the parent or legal guardian of the juvenile who is referred to a Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center to appear with the juvenile before the board at the time set by the board. In scheduling board meetings, the board shall be cognizant of a parent’s or legal guardian’s other obligations. The failure of a parent or legal guardian to appear at the scheduled board meeting with his or her child or ward may be considered by the juvenile court as an act of child neglect as defined by s. 39.01, and the board may refer the matter to the Department of Children and Families for investigation under the provisions of chapter 39.
(d) The board shall serve notice of a board meeting on the juvenile referred to the Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center, the juvenile’s parent or guardian, and the victim or family of the victim of the alleged offense. These persons and their representatives have the right to appear and participate in any meeting conducted by the board relative to the alleged offense in which they were the alleged juvenile offender or parent or guardian of the alleged juvenile offender, or victim or family of the victim of the alleged juvenile offender. The victim or a person representing the victim may vote with the board.
(5) SANCTIONS.After holding a meeting pursuant to paragraph (4)(d), the board may impose any of the following sanctions alone or in any combination:
(a) Require the juvenile to make restitution to the victim.
(b) Require the juvenile to perform work for the victim.
(c) Require the juvenile to make restitution to the community.
(d) Require the juvenile to perform work for the community.
(e) Recommend that the juvenile participate in counseling, education, or treatment services that are coordinated by the state attorney.
(f) Require the juvenile to surrender the juvenile’s driver license and forward a copy of the board’s resolution to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The department, upon receipt of the license, shall suspend the driving privileges of the juvenile, or the juvenile may be restricted to travel between the juvenile’s home, school, and place of employment during specified periods of time according to the juvenile’s school and employment schedule.
(g) Refer the matter to the state attorney for the filing of a petition with the juvenile court.
(h) Impose any other sanction except detention that the board determines is necessary to fully and fairly resolve the matter.
(6) WRITTEN CONTRACT.
(a) The board, on behalf of the community, and the juvenile, the juvenile’s parent or guardian, and the victim or representative of the victim, shall sign a written contract in which the parties agree to the board’s resolution of the matter and in which the juvenile’s parent or guardian agrees to ensure that the juvenile complies with the contract. The contract may provide that the parent or guardian shall post a bond payable to this state to secure the performance of any sanction imposed upon the juvenile pursuant to subsection (5).
(b) A breach of the contract by any party may be sanctioned by the juvenile court as it deems appropriate upon motion by any party.
(c) If the juvenile disagrees with the resolution of the board, the juvenile may file a notice with the board within 3 working days after the board makes its resolution that the juvenile has rejected the board’s resolution. After receiving notice of the juvenile’s rejection, the state attorney shall file a petition in juvenile court.
(7) COMPLETION OF SANCTIONS.
(a) If the juvenile accepts the resolution of the board and successfully completes the sanctions imposed by the board, the state attorney shall not file a petition in juvenile court and the board’s resolution shall not be used against the juvenile in any further proceeding and is not an adjudication of delinquency. The resolution of the board is not a conviction of a crime, does not impose any civil disabilities ordinarily resulting from a conviction, and does not disqualify the juvenile in any civil service application or appointment.
(b) If the juvenile accepts the resolution reached by the board but fails to successfully complete the sanctions imposed by it, the state attorney may file the matter with the juvenile court.
(c) Upon successful completion of the sanctions imposed by the board, the juvenile shall submit to the board proof of completion. The board shall determine the form and manner in which a juvenile presents proof of completion.
(8) CONSTRUCTION.This section shall not be construed to diminish, impair, or otherwise affect any rights conferred on victims of crimes under chapter 960, relating to victim assistance, or any other provisions of law.
History.s. 8, ch. 96-398; s. 24, ch. 97-96; s. 161, ch. 97-101; s. 47, ch. 97-238; s. 170, ch. 98-403; s. 2, ch. 2000-327; s. 26, ch. 2006-120; s. 348, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.0361; s. 985.303.
985.16 Community arbitration.
(1) PURPOSE.The purpose of community arbitration is to provide a system by which children who commit delinquent acts may be dealt with in a speedy and informal manner at the community or neighborhood level, in an attempt to reduce the ever-increasing instances of delinquent acts and permit the judicial system to deal effectively with cases which are more serious in nature.
(2) PROGRAMS.
(a) Each county may establish community arbitration programs designed to complement the department’s intake process provided in this chapter. Community arbitration programs shall provide one or more community arbitrators or community arbitration panels to hear informally cases which involve alleged commissions of certain delinquent acts by children.
(b) Cases which may be referred to a community arbitrator or community arbitration panel are limited to those which involve violations of local ordinances, those which involve misdemeanors, and those which involve third degree felonies, exclusive of third degree felonies involving personal violence, grand theft auto, or the use of a weapon.
(c) A child who has been the subject of at least one prior adjudication or adjudication withheld for any first or second degree felony offense, any third degree felony offense involving personal violence, grand theft auto, or the use of a weapon, or any other offense not eligible for arbitration, shall not be eligible for resolution of any current offense through community arbitration.
(d) Cases resolved through community arbitration shall be limited pursuant to this subsection.
1. For each child referred to community arbitration, the primary offense shall be assigned a point value.
a. Misdemeanor offenses shall be assigned two points for a misdemeanor of the second degree, four points for a nonviolent misdemeanor of the first degree, and six points for a misdemeanor of the first degree involving violence.
b. Eligible third degree felony offenses shall be assigned eight points.
2. There is not a restriction on the limit of separate incidents for which a law enforcement officer may refer a child to community arbitration, but a child who has accrued a point value of 12 or more points through community arbitration prior to the current offense shall no longer be eligible for community arbitration.
3. The point values provided in this paragraph shall also be assigned to a child’s prior adjudications or adjudications withheld on eligible offenses for cases not referred to community arbitration.
(3) COMMUNITY ARBITRATORS.The chief judge of each judicial circuit shall maintain a list of qualified persons who have agreed to serve as community arbitrators for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter. Community arbitrators shall meet the qualification and training requirements adopted in rule by the Supreme Court. Whenever possible, qualified volunteers shall be used as community arbitrators.
(a) Each community arbitrator or member of a community arbitration panel shall be selected by the chief judge of the circuit, the senior circuit court judge assigned to juvenile cases in the circuit, and the state attorney. A community arbitrator or, in the case of a panel, the chief arbitrator shall have such powers as are necessary to conduct the proceedings in a fair and expeditious manner.
(b) A community arbitrator or member of a community arbitration panel shall be trained or experienced in juvenile causes and shall be:
1. Either a graduate of an accredited law school or of an accredited school with a degree in behavioral social work or trained in conflict resolution techniques; and
2. A person of the temperament necessary to deal properly with cases involving children and with the family crises likely to be presented to him or her.
(4) PROCEDURE FOR INITIATING CASES FOR COMMUNITY ARBITRATION.
(a) Any law enforcement officer may issue a complaint, along with a recommendation for community arbitration, against any child who such officer has reason to believe has committed any offense that is eligible for community arbitration. The complaint shall specify the offense and the reasons why the law enforcement officer feels that the offense should be handled by community arbitration. Any juvenile probation officer or, at the request of the child’s parent or legal custodian or guardian, the state attorney or the court having jurisdiction, with the concurrence of the state attorney, may refer a complaint to be handled by community arbitration when appropriate. A copy of the complaint shall be forwarded to the appropriate juvenile probation officer and the parent or legal custodian or guardian of the child within 48 hours after issuance of the complaint. In addition to the complaint, the child and the parent or legal custodian or guardian shall be informed of the objectives of the community arbitration process; the conditions, procedures, and timeframes under which it will be conducted; and the fact that it is not obligatory. The juvenile probation officer shall contact the child and the parent or legal custodian or guardian within 2 days after the date on which the complaint was received. At this time, the child or the parent or legal custodian or guardian shall inform the juvenile probation officer of the decision to approve or reject the handling of the complaint through community arbitration.
(b) The juvenile probation officer shall verify accurate identification of the child and determine whether or not the child has any prior adjudications or adjudications withheld for an offense eligible for community arbitration for consideration in the point value structure. If the child has at least one prior adjudication or adjudication withheld for an offense which is not eligible for community arbitration, or if the child has already surpassed the accepted level of points on prior community arbitration resolutions, the juvenile probation officer shall consult with the state attorney regarding the filing of formal juvenile proceedings.
(c) If the child or the parent or legal custodian or guardian rejects the handling of the complaint through community arbitration, the juvenile probation officer shall consult with the state attorney for the filing of formal juvenile proceedings.
(d) If the child or the parent or legal custodian or guardian accepts the handling of the complaint through community arbitration, the juvenile probation officer shall provide copies of the complaint to the arbitrator or panel within 24 hours.
(e) The community arbitrator or community arbitration panel shall, upon receipt of the complaint, set a time and date for a hearing within 7 days and shall inform the child’s parent or legal custodian or guardian, the complaining witness, and any victims of the time, date, and place of the hearing.
(5) HEARINGS.
(a) The law enforcement officer who issued the complaint need not appear at the scheduled hearing. However, prior to the hearing, the officer shall file with the community arbitrator or the community arbitration panel a comprehensive report setting forth the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegation.
(b) Records and reports submitted by interested agencies and parties, including, but not limited to, complaining witnesses and victims, may be received in evidence before the community arbitrator or the community arbitration panel without the necessity of formal proof.
(c) The testimony of the complaining witness and any alleged victim may be received when available.
(d) Any statement or admission made by the child appearing before the community arbitrator or the community arbitration panel relating to the offense for which he or she was cited is privileged and may not be used as evidence against the child either in a subsequent juvenile proceeding or in any subsequent civil or criminal action.
(e) If a child fails to appear on the original hearing date, the matter shall be referred back to the juvenile probation officer who shall consult with the state attorney regarding the filing of formal juvenile proceedings.
(6) DISPOSITION OF CASES.
(a) Subsequent to any hearing held as provided in subsection (5), the community arbitrator or community arbitration panel may:
1. Recommend that the state attorney decline to prosecute the child.
2. Issue a warning to the child or the child’s family and recommend that the state attorney decline to prosecute the child.
3. Refer the child for placement in a community-based nonresidential program.
4. Refer the child or the family to community counseling.
5. Refer the child to a safety and education program related to delinquent children.
6. Refer the child to a work program related to delinquent children and require up to 100 hours of work by the child.
7. Refer the child to a nonprofit organization for volunteer work in the community and require up to 100 hours of work by the child.
8. Order restitution in money or in kind in a case involving property damage; however, the amount of restitution shall not exceed the amount of actual damage to property.
9. Continue the case for further investigation.
10. Require the child to undergo urinalysis monitoring.
11. Impose any other restrictions or sanctions that are designed to encourage responsible and acceptable behavior and are agreed upon by the participants of the community arbitration proceedings.

The community arbitrator or community arbitration panel shall determine an appropriate timeframe in which the disposition must be completed. The community arbitrator or community arbitration panel shall report the disposition of the case to the juvenile probation officer.

(b) Any person or agency to whom a child is referred pursuant to this section shall periodically report the progress of the child to the referring community arbitrator or community arbitration panel in the manner prescribed by such arbitrator or panel.
(c) Any child who is referred by the community arbitrator or community arbitration panel to a work program related to delinquent children or to a nonprofit organization for volunteer work in the community, and who is also ordered to pay restitution to the victim, may be paid a reasonable hourly wage for work, to the extent that funds are specifically appropriated or authorized for this purpose; provided, however, that such payments shall not, in total, exceed the amount of restitution ordered and that such payments shall be turned over by the child to the victim.
(d) If a child consents to an informal resolution and, in the presence of the parent or legal custodian or guardian and the community arbitrator or community arbitration panel, agrees to comply with any disposition suggested or ordered by such arbitrator or panel and subsequently fails to abide by the terms of such agreement, the community arbitrator or community arbitration panel may, after a careful review of the circumstances, forward the case back to the juvenile probation officer, who shall consult with the state attorney regarding the filing of formal juvenile proceedings.
(7) REVIEW.Any child or his or her parent or legal custodian or guardian who is dissatisfied with the disposition provided by the community arbitrator or the community arbitration panel may request a review of the disposition to the appropriate juvenile probation officer within 15 days after the community arbitration hearing. Upon receipt of the request for review, the juvenile probation officer shall consult with the state attorney who shall consider the request for review and may file formal juvenile proceedings or take such other action as may be warranted.
(8) FUNDING.Funding for the provisions of community arbitration may be provided through appropriations from the state or from local governments, through federal or other public or private grants, through any appropriations as authorized by the county participating in the community arbitration program, and through donations.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 48, ch. 97-238; s. 20, ch. 98-207; s. 133, ch. 99-3; s. 27, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 39.026; s. 985.304.
985.17 Prevention services.
(1) The Legislature finds that prevention services decrease recidivism by addressing the needs of at-risk youth and their families, preventing further involvement of such youth in the juvenile justice system, protecting the safety of the public, and facilitating successful reentry of at-risk youth into the community. To assist with decreasing recidivism, the department’s prevention services shall strengthen protective factors and reduce risk factors using tested and effective approaches.
(2) A goal of the department’s prevention services shall be to develop the capacity for local communities to serve their youth.
(a) The department shall engage faith and community-based organizations to provide a full range of voluntary programs and services to prevent and reduce juvenile delinquency, including, but not limited to, chaplaincy services, crisis intervention counseling, mentoring, and tutoring.
(b) The department shall establish volunteer coordinators in each circuit and encourage the recruitment of volunteers to serve as mentors for youth in department services.
(c) The department shall promote the sale of the Invest in Children license plate to help fund programs and services to prevent juvenile delinquency. The department shall allocate money for programs and services within each county based on that county’s proportionate share of the license plate annual use fees collected by the county.
(3) The department’s prevention services for youth at risk of becoming delinquent should:
(a) Focus on preventing initial or further involvement of such youth in the juvenile justice system by including services such as literacy services, gender-specific programming, recreational services, and after-school services, and should include targeted services to troubled, truant, ungovernable, abused, trafficked, or runaway youth. To decrease the likelihood that a youth will commit a delinquent act, the department should use mentoring and may provide specialized services addressing the strengthening of families, job training, and substance abuse.
(b) Address the multiple needs of such youth in order to decrease the prevalence of disproportionate minority representation in the juvenile justice system.
(4) The department shall expend funds related to the prevention services in a manner consistent with the policies expressed in ss. 984.02 and 985.01 and in a manner that maximizes accountability to the public and ensures the documentation of outcomes.
(a) As a condition of receipt of state funds, all entities that receive or use state moneys to fund prevention services through contracts with the department or grants from any entity dispersed by the department shall:
1. Design the programs providing such services to further one or more of the following strategies:
a. Encouraging youth to attend and succeed in school, which may include special assistance and tutoring to address deficiencies in academic performance and collecting outcome data to reveal the number of days youth attended school while participating in the program.
b. Engaging youth in productive and wholesome activities during nonschool hours that build positive character, instill positive values, and enhance educational experiences.
c. Encouraging youth to avoid the use of violence.
d. Assisting youth in acquiring the skills needed to find meaningful employment, which may include assisting the youth in finding a suitable employer.
2. Provide the department with demographic information, dates of services, and types of interventions received by each youth.
(b) The department shall monitor output and outcome measures for each program strategy in paragraph (a) and annually report the outputs and outcomes in the Comprehensive Accountability Report as provided in s. 985.632.
(c) The department shall monitor all state-funded programs that receive or use state moneys to fund the prevention services through contracts or grants with the department for compliance with all provisions in the contracts and grants.
History.s. 13, ch. 2014-162.
985.175 The PACE Center for Girls.As authorized by and consistent with funding appropriated in the General Appropriations Act, the department may contract, in accordance with s. 985.644, with the PACE Center for Girls, a nonprofit organization exempt from taxation pursuant to s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, to provide alternatives to institutionalization or commitment for girls and young women through services including, but not limited to, education, counseling, training, and advocacy.
History.s. 1, ch. 2020-121.
PART IV
EXAMINATIONS AND EVALUATIONS
985.18 Medical, psychiatric, psychological, substance abuse, and educational examination and treatment.
985.185 Evaluations for disposition.
985.19 Incompetency in juvenile delinquency cases.
985.195 Transfer to other treatment services.
985.18 Medical, psychiatric, psychological, substance abuse, and educational examination and treatment.
(1) After a detention petition or a petition for delinquency has been filed, the court may order the child named in the petition to be examined by a physician. The court may also order the child to be evaluated by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, by a district school board educational needs assessment team, or, if a developmental disability is suspected or alleged, by a developmental disabilities diagnostic and evaluation team with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. If it is necessary to place a child in a residential facility for such evaluation, the criteria and procedures established in chapter 393, chapter 394, or chapter 397, whichever is applicable, shall be used.
(2) If a child has been found to have committed a delinquent act, or before such finding with the consent of any parent or legal custodian of the child, the court may order the child to be treated by a physician. The court may also order the child to receive mental health, substance abuse, or intellectual disability services from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other appropriate service provider. If it is necessary to place the child in a residential facility for such services, the procedures and criteria established in chapter 393, chapter 394, or chapter 397, as applicable, must be used. After a child has been adjudicated delinquent, if an educational needs assessment by the district school board or the Department of Children and Families has been conducted, the court shall order the report included in the child’s court record in lieu of a new assessment. For purposes of this section, an educational needs assessment includes, but is not limited to, reports of intelligence and achievement tests, screening for learning and other disabilities, and screening for the need for alternative education.
(3) When any child is detained pending a hearing, the person in charge of the detention center or facility or his or her designated representative may authorize a triage examination as a preliminary screening device to determine if the child is in need of medical care or isolation or provide or cause to be provided such medical or surgical services as may be deemed necessary by a physician.
(4) Whenever a child found to have committed a delinquent act is placed by order of the court within the care and custody or under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice and it appears to the court that there is no parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis who is capable of authorizing or willing to authorize medical, surgical, dental, or other remedial care or treatment for the child, the court may, after due notice to the parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis, if any, order that a representative of the Department of Juvenile Justice may authorize such medical, surgical, dental, or other remedial care for the child by licensed practitioners as may from time to time appear necessary.
(5) Upon specific appropriation, the department may obtain comprehensive evaluations, including, but not limited to, medical, academic, psychological, behavioral, sociological, and vocational needs of a youth with multiple arrests for all level criminal acts or a youth committed to a minimum-risk or low-risk commitment program.
(6) A physician must be immediately notified by the person taking the child into custody or the person having custody if there are indications of physical injury or illness, or the child shall be taken to the nearest available hospital for emergency care. A child may be provided mental health, substance abuse, or intellectual disability services in emergency situations pursuant to chapter 393, chapter 394, or chapter 397, as applicable. After a hearing, the court may order the custodial parent or parents, guardian, or other custodian, if found able to do so, to reimburse the county or state for the expense involved in such emergency treatment or care.
(7) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to eliminate the right of the parents or the child to consent to examination or treatment for the child, except that consent of a parent shall not be required if the physician determines there is an injury or illness requiring immediate treatment and the child consents to such treatment or an ex parte court order is obtained authorizing treatment.
(8) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the permanent sterilization of any child unless such sterilization is the result of or incidental to medically necessary treatment to protect or preserve the life of the child.
(9) Except as provided in this section, nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude a court from ordering services or treatment to be provided to a child by a duly accredited practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing in accordance with the tenets and practices of a church or religious organization, when requested by the child.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 15, ch. 93-39; s. 34, ch. 94-209; s. 1345, ch. 95-147; s. 42, ch. 95-267; s. 5, ch. 96-398; s. 3, ch. 97-101; ss. 23, 32, ch. 97-238; s. 13, ch. 98-207; s. 4, ch. 2005-263; s. 28, ch. 2006-120; s. 67, ch. 2006-227; s. 48, ch. 2013-162; s. 349, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Subsections (1)-(4), (6)-(9) former s. 39.046; s. 985.224. Subsection (5) former s. 39.044(10)(e); s. 985.215(10)(e).
985.185 Evaluations for disposition.
(1) A comprehensive evaluation for physical health, mental health, substance abuse, academic, educational, or vocational problems shall be ordered for any child for whom a residential commitment disposition is anticipated or recommended by an officer of the court or by the department.
(2) Prior to making a final disposition of the case, the court may order additional evaluations and studies to be performed by the department, by the county school system, or by any social, psychological, or psychiatric agencies of the state. The court shall order the educational needs assessment completed under s. 985.18(2) to be included in the assessment and predisposition report.
History.s. 37, ch. 97-238; s. 29, ch. 2000-135; s. 29, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 985.229(1), (2).
985.19 Incompetency in juvenile delinquency cases.
(1) If, at any time prior to or during a delinquency case, the court has reason to believe that the child named in the petition may be incompetent to proceed with the hearing, the court on its own motion may, or on the motion of the child’s attorney or state attorney must, stay all proceedings and order an evaluation of the child’s mental condition.
(a) Any motion questioning the child’s competency to proceed must be served upon the child’s attorney, the state attorney, the attorneys representing the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the attorneys representing the Department of Children and Families. Thereafter, any motion, notice of hearing, order, or other legal pleading relating to the child’s competency to proceed with the hearing must be served upon the child’s attorney, the state attorney, the attorneys representing the Department of Juvenile Justice, and the attorneys representing the Department of Children and Families.
(b) All determinations of competency shall be made at a hearing, with findings of fact based on an evaluation of the child’s mental condition made by not less than two nor more than three experts appointed by the court. The basis for the determination of incompetency must be specifically stated in the evaluation. In addition, a recommendation as to whether residential or nonresidential treatment or training is required must be included in the evaluation. Experts appointed by the court to determine the mental condition of a child shall be allowed reasonable fees for services rendered. State employees may be paid expenses pursuant to s. 112.061. The fees shall be taxed as costs in the case.
(c) All court orders determining incompetency must include specific written findings by the court as to the nature of the incompetency and whether the child requires secure or nonsecure treatment or training environments.
(d) For incompetency evaluations related to mental illness, the Department of Children and Families shall maintain and annually provide the courts with a list of available mental health professionals who have completed a training program approved by the Department of Children and Families to perform the evaluations.
(e) For incompetency evaluations related to intellectual disability or autism, the court shall order the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to examine the child to determine if the child meets the definition of “intellectual disability” or “autism” in s. 393.063 and, if so, whether the child is competent to proceed with delinquency proceedings.
(f) A child is competent to proceed if the child has sufficient present ability to consult with counsel with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and the child has a rational and factual understanding of the present proceedings. The report must address the child’s capacity to:
1. Appreciate the charges or allegations against the child.
2. Appreciate the range and nature of possible penalties that may be imposed in the proceedings against the child, if applicable.
3. Understand the adversarial nature of the legal process.
4. Disclose to counsel facts pertinent to the proceedings at issue.
5. Display appropriate courtroom behavior.
6. Testify relevantly.
(g) Immediately upon the filing of the court order finding a child incompetent to proceed, the clerk of the court shall notify the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and fax or hand deliver to the department and to the agency a referral packet that includes, at a minimum, the court order, the charging documents, the petition, and the court-appointed evaluator’s reports.
(h) After placement of the child in the appropriate setting, the Department of Children and Families in consultation with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, as appropriate, must, within 30 days after placement of the child, prepare and submit to the court a treatment or training plan for the child’s restoration of competency. A copy of the plan must be served upon the child’s attorney, the state attorney, and the attorneys representing the Department of Juvenile Justice.
(2) A child who is adjudicated incompetent to proceed, and who has committed a delinquent act or violation of law, either of which would be a felony if committed by an adult, must be committed to the Department of Children and Families for treatment or training. A child who has been adjudicated incompetent to proceed because of age or immaturity, or for any reason other than for mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism, must not be committed to the department or to the Department of Children and Families for restoration-of-competency treatment or training services. For purposes of this section, a child who has committed a delinquent act or violation of law, either of which would be a misdemeanor if committed by an adult, may not be committed to the department or to the Department of Children and Families for restoration-of-competency treatment or training services.
(3) If the court finds that a child has mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism and adjudicates the child incompetent to proceed, the court must also determine whether the child meets the criteria for secure placement. A child may be placed in a secure facility or program if the court makes a finding by clear and convincing evidence that:
(a) The child has mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism and because of the mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism:
1. The child is manifestly incapable of surviving with the help of willing and responsible family or friends, including available alternative services, and without treatment or training the child is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for self, and such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to the child’s well-being; or
2. There is a substantial likelihood that in the near future the child will inflict serious bodily harm on self or others, as evidenced by recent behavior causing, attempting, or threatening such harm; and
(b) All available less restrictive alternatives, including treatment or training in community residential facilities or community settings which would offer an opportunity for improvement of the child’s condition, are inappropriate.
(4) A child who is determined to have mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism, who has been adjudicated incompetent to proceed, and who meets the criteria set forth in subsection (3), must be committed to the Department of Children and Families and receive treatment or training in a secure facility or program that is the least restrictive alternative consistent with public safety. Any placement of a child to a secure residential program must be separate from adult forensic programs. If the child attains competency, custody, case management, and supervision of the child shall be transferred to the department in order to continue delinquency proceedings; however, the court retains authority to order the Department of Children and Families to provide continued treatment or training to maintain competency.
(a) A child adjudicated incompetent due to intellectual disability or autism may be ordered into a secure program or facility designated by the Department of Children and Families for children who have intellectual disabilities or autism.
(b) A child adjudicated incompetent due to mental illness may be ordered into a secure program or facility designated by the Department of Children and Families for children having mental illnesses.
(c) If a child is placed in a secure residential facility, the department shall provide transportation to the secure residential facility for admission and from the secure residential facility upon discharge.
(d) The purpose of the treatment or training is the restoration of the child’s competency to proceed.
(e) The service provider must file a written report with the court pursuant to the applicable Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure within 6 months after the date of commitment, or at the end of any period of extended treatment or training, and at any time the Department of Children and Families, through its service provider, determines the child has attained competency or no longer meets the criteria for secure placement, or at such shorter intervals as ordered by the court. A copy of a written report evaluating the child’s competency must be filed by the provider with the court and with the state attorney, the child’s attorney, the department, and the Department of Children and Families.
(5)(a) If a child is determined to be incompetent to proceed, the court shall retain jurisdiction of the child for up to 2 years after the date of the order of incompetency, with reviews at least every 6 months to determine competency.
(b) Whenever the provider files a report with the court informing the court that the child will never become competent to proceed, the Department of Children and Families will develop a discharge plan for the child prior to any hearing determining whether the child will ever become competent to proceed and send the plan to the court, the state attorney, the child’s attorney, and the attorneys representing the Department of Juvenile Justice. The provider will continue to provide services to the child until the court issues the order finding the child will never become competent to proceed.
(c) If the court determines at any time that the child will never become competent to proceed, the court may dismiss the delinquency petition. If, at the end of the 2-year period following the date of the order of incompetency, the child has not attained competency and there is no evidence that the child will attain competency within a year, the court must dismiss the delinquency petition. If appropriate, the court may order that proceedings under chapter 393 or chapter 394 be instituted. Such proceedings must be instituted not less than 60 days prior to the dismissal of the delinquency petition.
(6)(a) If a child is determined to have mental illness, intellectual disability, or autism and is found to be incompetent to proceed but does not meet the criteria set forth in subsection (3), the court shall commit the child to the Department of Children and Families and order the Department of Children and Families to provide appropriate treatment and training in the community. The purpose of the treatment or training is the restoration of the child’s competency to proceed.
(b) All court-ordered treatment or training must be the least restrictive alternative that is consistent with public safety. Any placement by the Department of Children and Families to a residential program must be separate from adult forensic programs.
(c) If a child is ordered to receive competency restoration services, the services shall be provided by the Department of Children and Families. The department shall continue to provide case management services to the child and receive notice of the competency status of the child.
(d) The service provider must file a written report with the court pursuant to the applicable Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, not later than 6 months after the date of commitment, at the end of any period of extended treatment or training, and at any time the service provider determines the child has attained competency or will never attain competency, or at such shorter intervals as ordered by the court. A copy of a written report evaluating the child’s competency must be filed by the provider with the court, the state attorney, the child’s attorney, the Department of Children and Families, and the department.
(7) The provisions of this section shall be implemented only subject to specific appropriation.
History.s. 4, ch. 96-398; s. 164, ch. 97-101; s. 31, ch. 97-238; s. 16, ch. 98-207; s. 72, ch. 2000-139; s. 30, ch. 2006-120; s. 24, ch. 2006-195; s. 49, ch. 2013-162; s. 350, ch. 2014-19.
Note.Former s. 39.0517; s. 985.223.
985.195 Transfer to other treatment services.Any child committed to the department may be transferred to intellectual disability, mental health, or substance abuse treatment facilities for diagnosis and evaluation pursuant to chapter 393, chapter 394, or chapter 397, as applicable, for up to 90 days.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 17, ch. 93-39; s. 78, ch. 97-238; s. 30, ch. 2006-120; s. 50, ch. 2013-162.
Note.Former s. 39.063; s. 985.418.
PART V
DETENTION
985.24 Use of detention; prohibitions.
985.245 Risk assessment instrument.
985.25 Detention intake.
985.255 Detention criteria; detention hearing.
985.26 Length of detention.
985.265 Detention transfer and release; education; adult jails.
985.27 Postdisposition detention while awaiting residential commitment placement.
985.275 Detention of escapee or absconder on authority of the department.
985.24 Use of detention; prohibitions.
(1) All determinations and court orders regarding the use of detention care shall be based primarily upon findings that the child:
(a) Presents a substantial risk of not appearing at a subsequent hearing;
(b) Presents a substantial risk of inflicting bodily harm on others as evidenced by recent behavior, including the illegal possession or use of a firearm;
(c) Presents a history of committing a property offense prior to adjudication, disposition, or placement;
(d) Has committed contempt of court by:
1. Intentionally disrupting the administration of the court;
2. Intentionally disobeying a court order; or
3. Engaging in a punishable act or speech in the court’s presence which shows disrespect for the authority and dignity of the court; or
(e) Requests protection from imminent bodily harm.
(2) A child who is placed on supervised release detention care may be required to comply with any available condition established by the department or ordered by the court, including electronic monitoring, if the court finds such a condition is necessary to preserve public safety or to ensure the child’s safety or appearance in court.
(3) A child alleged to have committed a delinquent act or violation of law may not be placed into secure or supervised release detention care for any of the following reasons:
(a) To allow a parent to avoid his or her legal responsibility.
(b) To permit more convenient administrative access to the child.
(c) To facilitate further interrogation or investigation.
(d) Due to a lack of more appropriate facilities.
(4) A child who is alleged to be dependent under chapter 39, but who is not alleged to have committed a delinquent act or violation of law, may not, under any circumstances, be placed into secure detention care.
(5) The department shall continue to identify and develop supervised release detention options and annually submit them to the Legislature for authorization and appropriation.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 3, ch. 93-408; ss. 29, 30, ch. 94-209; ss. 21, 22, ch. 97-238; s. 80, ch. 98-280; s. 31, ch. 2006-120; s. 14, ch. 2014-162; s. 6, ch. 2018-86; s. 1, ch. 2022-181; s. 4, ch. 2023-87.
Note.Subsection (1) former s. 39.042(1); s. 985.213(1). Subsections (3), (4) former s. 39.043; s. 985.214. Subsection (5) former s. 39.042(4); s. 985.213(4).
985.245 Risk assessment instrument.
(1) All determinations and court orders regarding placement of a child into detention care shall comply with all requirements and criteria provided in this part and shall be based on a risk assessment of the child, unless the child is placed into detention care as provided in s. 985.255(2).
(2)(a) The risk assessment instrument for detention care placement determinations and orders shall be developed by the department in agreement with representatives appointed by the following associations: the Conference of Circuit Judges of Florida, the Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Public Defenders Association, the Florida Sheriffs Association, and the Florida Association of Chiefs of Police. Each association shall appoint two individuals, one representing an urban area and one representing a rural area. The parties involved shall evaluate and revise the risk assessment instrument as is considered necessary using the method for revision as agreed by the parties.
(b) The risk assessment instrument shall take into consideration, but need not be limited to, pending felony and misdemeanor offenses, offenses committed pending adjudication, prior offenses, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, prior history of failure to appear, violations of supervision, and supervision status at the time the child is taken into custody. The risk assessment instrument shall also take into consideration all statutory mandates for detention care. The risk assessment instrument shall also include any information concerning the child’s history of abuse and neglect. The risk assessment shall indicate whether detention care is warranted, and, if detention care is warranted, whether the child should be placed into secure or supervised release detention care.
(3) If, at the detention hearing, the court finds a material error in the scoring of the risk assessment instrument, the court may amend the score to reflect factual accuracy.
(4) For a child who is under the supervision of the department through probation, supervised release detention, conditional release, postcommitment probation, or commitment and who is charged with committing a new offense, the risk assessment instrument may be completed and scored based on the underlying charge for which the child was placed under the supervision of the department.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 7, ch. 92-287; s. 21, ch. 93-230; s. 3, ch. 93-408; s. 29, ch. 94-209; s. 9, ch. 95-267; s. 21, ch. 97-238; s. 79, ch. 98-280; s. 8, ch. 2000-134; s. 18, ch. 2001-125; s. 16, ch. 2002-55; s. 32, ch. 2006-120; s. 15, ch. 2014-162; s. 12, ch. 2017-164; s. 7, ch. 2018-86; s. 5, ch. 2023-87.
Note.Former s. 39.042(2); s. 985.213(2).
985.25 Detention intake.
(1) The department shall receive custody of a child who has been taken into custody from the law enforcement agency or court and shall review the facts in the law enforcement report or probable cause affidavit and make such further inquiry as may be necessary to determine whether detention care is appropriate.
(a) During the period of time from the taking of the child into custody to the date of the detention hearing, the initial decision as to the child’s placement into detention care shall be made by the department under ss. 985.24 and 985.245(1).
(b) The department shall base the decision whether to place the child into detention care on an assessment of risk in accordance with the risk assessment instrument and procedures developed by the department under s. 985.245, except that a child shall be placed in secure detention care until the child’s detention hearing if the child meets the criteria specified in s. 985.255(1)(f), is charged with possessing or discharging a firearm on school property in violation of s. 790.115, or is charged with any other offense involving the possession or use of a firearm.
(c) If the final score on the child’s risk assessment instrument indicates detention care is appropriate, but the department otherwise determines the child should be released, the department shall contact the state attorney, who may authorize release.
(d) If the final score on the risk assessment instrument indicates detention is not appropriate, the child may be released by the department in accordance with ss. 985.115 and 985.13.

Under no circumstances shall the department or the state attorney or law enforcement officer authorize the detention of any child in a jail or other facility intended or used for the detention of adults, without an order of the court.

(2) The arresting law enforcement agency shall complete and present its investigation of an offense to the appropriate state attorney’s office within 8 days after placement of the child in secure detention. The investigation shall include, but is not limited to, police reports and supplemental police reports, witness statements, and evidence collection documents. The failure of a law enforcement agency to complete and present its investigation within 8 days shall not entitle a juvenile to be released from secure detention or to a dismissal of any charges.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 31, ch. 94-209; s. 1343, ch. 95-147; s. 10, ch. 95-267; s. 23, ch. 97-238; s. 13, ch. 98-207; s. 4, ch. 99-284; s. 9, ch. 2000-134; s. 33, ch. 2006-120; s. 16, ch. 2014-162; s. 2, ch. 2017-164; s. 8, ch. 2018-86; s. 6, ch. 2023-87.
Note.Subsection (1) former s. 39.044(1); s. 985.215(1). Subsection (2) former s. 985.215(5)(b).
985.255 Detention criteria; detention hearing.
(1) Subject to s. 985.25(1), a child taken into custody and placed into detention care shall be given a hearing within 24 hours after being taken into custody. At the hearing, the court may order a continued detention status if:
(a) The result of the risk assessment instrument pursuant to s. 985.245 indicates secure or supervised release detention.
(b) The child is alleged to be an escapee from a residential commitment program; or an absconder from a nonresidential commitment program, a probation program, or conditional release supervision; or is alleged to have escaped while being lawfully transported to or from a residential commitment program.
(c) The child is wanted in another jurisdiction for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony.
(d) The child is charged with a delinquent act or violation of law and requests in writing through legal counsel to be detained for protection from an imminent physical threat to his or her personal safety.
(e) The child is detained on a judicial order for failure to appear and has previously willfully failed to appear, after proper notice:
1. For an adjudicatory hearing on the same case regardless of the results of the risk assessment instrument; or
2. At two or more court hearings of any nature on the same case regardless of the results of the risk assessment instrument.

A child may be held in secure detention for up to 72 hours in advance of the next scheduled court hearing pursuant to this paragraph. The child’s failure to keep the clerk of court and defense counsel informed of a current and valid mailing address where the child will receive notice to appear at court proceedings does not provide an adequate ground for excusal of the child’s nonappearance at the hearings.

(f) The child is a prolific juvenile offender. A child is a prolific juvenile offender if the child:
1. Is charged with a delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult;
2. Has been adjudicated or had adjudication withheld for a felony offense, or delinquent act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, before the charge under subparagraph 1.; and
3. In addition to meeting the requirements of subparagraphs 1. and 2., has five or more of any of the following, at least three of which must have been for felony offenses or delinquent acts that would have been felonies if committed by an adult:
a. An arrest event for which a disposition, as defined in s. 985.26, has not been entered;
b. An adjudication; or
c. An adjudication withheld.

As used in this subparagraph, the term “arrest event” means an arrest or referral for one or more criminal offenses or delinquent acts arising out of the same episode, act, or transaction.

(2) A child who is charged with committing an offense that is classified as an act of domestic violence as defined in s. 741.28 and whose risk assessment instrument indicates secure detention is not appropriate may be held in secure detention if the court makes specific written findings that:
(a) Respite care for the child is not available.
(b) It is necessary to place the child in secure detention in order to protect the victim from injury.

The child may not be held in secure detention under this subsection for more than 48 hours unless ordered by the court. After 48 hours, the court shall hold a hearing if the state attorney or victim requests that secure detention be continued. The child may continue to be held in detention care if the court makes a specific, written finding that detention care is necessary to protect the victim from injury. However, the child may not be held in detention care beyond the time limits set forth in this section or s. 985.26.

(3)(a) The purpose of the detention hearing required under subsection (1) is to determine the existence of probable cause that the child has committed the delinquent act or violation of law that he or she is charged with and the need for continued detention. The court shall use the results of the risk assessment performed by the department and, based on the criteria in subsection (1), shall determine the need for continued detention. If the child is a prolific juvenile offender who is detained under s. 985.26(2)(c), the court shall use the results of the risk assessment performed by the department and the criteria in subsection (1) or subsection (2) only to determine whether the prolific juvenile offender should be held in secure detention.
(b) If the court orders a placement more restrictive than indicated by the results of the risk assessment instrument, the court shall state, in writing, clear and convincing reasons for such placement.
(c) Except as provided in s. 790.22(8) or s. 985.27, when a child is placed into detention care, or into a respite home or other placement pursuant to a court order following a hearing, the court order must include specific instructions that direct the release of the child from such placement no later than 5 p.m. on the last day of the detention period specified in s. 985.26 or 1s. 985.27, whichever is applicable, unless the requirements of such applicable provision have been met or an order of continuance has been granted under s. 985.26(4). If the court order does not include a release date, the release date shall be requested from the court on the same date that the child is placed in detention care. If a subsequent hearing is needed to provide additional information to the court for safety planning, the initial order placing the child in detention care shall reflect the next detention review hearing, which shall be held within 3 calendar days after the child’s initial detention placement.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 4, ch. 92-79; s. 6, ch. 92-287; s. 31, ch. 94-209; s. 1343, ch. 95-147; s. 10, ch. 95-267; s. 5, ch. 96-398; s. 23, ch. 97-238; s. 13, ch. 98-207; s. 4, ch. 99-284; s. 9, ch. 2000-134; s. 24, ch. 2000-135; s. 37, ch. 2001-64; s. 19, ch. 2001-125; s. 17, ch. 2002-55; s. 4, ch. 2005-263; s. 34, ch. 2006-120; s. 17, ch. 2014-162; ss. 3, 13, ch. 2017-164; s. 9, ch. 2018-86.
1Note.The time period for release was deleted from referenced s. 985.27 by s. 6, ch. 2017-164.
Note.Former s. 39.044(2); s. 985.215(2).
985.26 Length of detention.
(1) A child may not be placed into or held in detention care for longer than 24 hours unless the court orders such detention care, and the order includes specific instructions that direct the release of the child from such detention care, in accordance with s. 985.255. The order shall be a final order, reviewable by appeal under s. 985.534 and the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. Appeals of such orders shall take precedence over other appeals and other pending matters.
(2)(a)1. A court may order a child to be placed on supervised release detention care for any time period until an adjudicatory hearing is completed. However, if a child has served 60 days on supervised release detention care, the court must conduct a hearing within 15 days after the 60th day, to determine the need for continued supervised release detention care. At the hearing, and upon good cause being shown that the nature of the charge requires additional time for the prosecution or defense of the case or that the totality of the circumstances, including the preservation of public safety, warrants an extension, the court may order the child to remain on supervised release detention care until the adjudicatory hearing is completed.
2. Except as provided in paragraph (b) or paragraph (c), a child may not be held in secure detention care under a special detention order for more than 21 days unless an adjudicatory hearing for the case has been commenced in good faith by the court.
3. This section does not prohibit a court from transitioning a child to and from secure detention care and supervised release detention care, including electronic monitoring, when the court finds such a placement necessary, or no longer necessary, to preserve public safety or to ensure the child’s safety, appearance in court, or compliance with a court order. Each period of secure detention care or supervised release detention care counts toward the time limitations in this subsection whether served consecutively or nonconsecutively.
(b) Upon good cause being shown that the nature of the charge requires additional time for the prosecution or defense of the case or that the totality of the circumstances, including the preservation of public safety, warrants an extension, the court may extend the length of secure detention care for up to an additional 21 days if the child is charged with an offense which, if committed by an adult, would be a capital felony, a life felony, a felony of the first degree or the second degree, a felony of the third degree involving violence against any individual, or any other offense involving the possession or use of a firearm. The court may continue to extend the period of secure detention care in increments of up to 21 days each by conducting a hearing before the expiration of the current period to determine the need for continued secure detention of the child. At the hearing, the court must make the required findings in writing to extend the period of secure detention. If the court extends the time period for secure detention care, it shall ensure an adjudicatory hearing for the case commences as soon as is reasonably possible considering the totality of the circumstances. The court shall prioritize the efficient disposition of cases in which the child has served 60 or more days in secure detention care.
(c) A prolific juvenile offender under s. 985.255(1)(f) shall be placed on supervised release detention care with electronic monitoring or in secure detention care under a special detention order until disposition. If secure detention care is ordered by the court, it must be authorized under this part and may not exceed:
1. Twenty-one days unless an adjudicatory hearing for the case has been commenced in good faith by the court or the period is extended by the court pursuant to paragraph (b); or
2. Fifteen days after the entry of an order of adjudication.

As used in this paragraph, the term “disposition” means a declination to file under s. 985.15(1)(h), the entry of nolle prosequi for the charges, the filing of an indictment under s. 985.56 or an information under s. 985.557, a dismissal of the case, or an order of final disposition by the court.

(d) A prolific juvenile offender under s. 985.255(1)(f) who is taken into custody for a violation of the conditions of his or her supervised release detention must be held in secure detention until a detention hearing is held.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (2), a child may not be held in detention care for more than 15 days after the entry of an order of adjudication.
(4) The time limits in subparagraph (2)(a)2. and subsection (3) do not include periods of delay resulting from a continuance granted by the court for cause on motion of the child or his or her counsel or of the state. Upon the issuance of an order granting a continuance for cause on a motion by either the child, the child’s counsel, or the state, the court shall conduct a hearing at the end of each 72-hour period, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, to determine the need for continued secure detention of the child and the need for further continuance of proceedings for the child or the state.
(5) A child who was not in secure detention at the time of the adjudicatory hearing, but for whom residential commitment is anticipated or recommended, may be placed under a special detention order for a period not to exceed 72 hours, excluding weekends and legal holidays, for the purpose of conducting a comprehensive evaluation as provided in s. 985.185. Motions for the issuance of such special detention order may be made subsequent to a finding of delinquency. Upon said motion, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine the appropriateness of such special detention order and shall order the least restrictive level of detention necessary to complete the comprehensive evaluation process that is consistent with public safety. Such special detention order may be extended for an additional 72 hours upon further order of the court.
(6) If a child is detained and a petition for delinquency is filed, the child shall be arraigned in accordance with the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure within 48 hours after the filing of the petition for delinquency.
(7) Any electronic monitoring ordered by a court as a condition of supervised release detention care under this section may be supervised by the department, a law enforcement agency, or the department and a law enforcement agency working in partnership. However, nothing in this subsection requires a law enforcement agency to supervise a child placed on electronic monitoring.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 31, ch. 94-209; s. 1343, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 96-398; s. 23, ch. 97-238; s. 13, ch. 98-207; s. 9, ch. 2000-134; s. 24, ch. 2000-135; s. 4, ch. 2005-263; s. 35, ch. 2006-120; s. 18, ch. 2014-162; s. 4, ch. 2017-164; ss. 10, 11, ch. 2018-86; s. 151, ch. 2019-167; s. 172, ch. 2020-2; s. 2, ch. 2022-181; s. 135, ch. 2023-8; s. 7, ch. 2023-87.
Note.Subsection (1) former s. 39.044(5)(a); s. 985.215(5)(a). Subsection (2) former s. 39.044(5)(b); s. 985.215(5)(c), (g). Subsection (3) former s. 39.044(5)(c); s. 985.215(5)(d). Subsection (4) former s. 39.044(5)(d); s. 985.215(5)(f). Subsection (5) former s. 985.215(5)(e). Subsection (6) former s. 39.044(7); s. 985.215(7).
985.265 Detention transfer and release; education; adult jails.
(1) If a child is detained under this part, the department may transfer the child from supervised release detention care to secure detention care only if significantly changed circumstances warrant such transfer.
(2) If a child is on release status and not detained under this part, the child may be placed into detention care only pursuant to a court hearing in which the original risk assessment instrument and the newly discovered evidence or changed circumstances are introduced into evidence with a rescored risk assessment instrument.
(3)(a) When a juvenile sexual offender is placed in detention, detention staff shall provide appropriate monitoring and supervision to ensure the safety of other children in the facility.
(b) When a juvenile is released from secure detention or transferred to supervised release detention, detention staff shall immediately notify the appropriate law enforcement agency, school personnel, and victim if the juvenile is charged with committing any of the following offenses or attempting to commit any of the following offenses:
1. Murder, under s. 782.04;
2. Sexual battery, under chapter 794;
3. Stalking, under s. 784.048; or
4. Domestic violence, as defined in s. 741.28.
(4)(a) While a child who is currently enrolled in school is in supervised release detention care, the child shall continue to attend school unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(b) While a child is in secure detention care, the child shall receive education commensurate with his or her grade level and educational ability.
(5) The court shall order the delivery of a child to a jail or other facility intended or used for the detention of adults:
(a) When the child has been transferred or indicted for criminal prosecution as an adult under part X, except that the court may not order or allow a child alleged to have committed a misdemeanor who is being transferred for criminal prosecution pursuant to either s. 985.556 or s. 985.557 to be detained or held in a jail or other facility intended or used for the detention of adults; however, such child may be held temporarily in a detention facility; or
(b) When a child taken into custody in this state is wanted by another jurisdiction for prosecution as an adult.

The child shall be housed separately from adult inmates to prohibit a child from having regular contact with incarcerated adults, including trusties. “Regular contact” means sight and sound contact. Separation of children from adults shall permit no more than haphazard or accidental contact. The receiving jail or other facility shall contain a separate section for children and shall have an adequate staff to supervise and monitor the child’s activities at all times. Supervision and monitoring of children includes physical observation and documented checks by jail or receiving facility supervisory personnel at intervals not to exceed 10 minutes. This subsection does not prohibit placing two or more children in the same cell. Under no circumstances shall a child be placed in the same cell with an adult.

History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 3, ch. 93-408; ss. 29, 31, ch. 94-209; s. 1342, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 95-266; s. 44, ch. 95-267; s. 5, ch. 96-398; ss. 21, 23, ch. 97-238; s. 13, ch. 98-207; s. 36, ch. 2006-120; s. 19, ch. 2014-162; s. 105, ch. 2015-2; s. 23, ch. 2016-24; s. 31, ch. 2017-37; s. 16, ch. 2017-107; s. 5, ch. 2017-164; s. 12, ch. 2018-86; s. 95, ch. 2019-167; s. 173, ch. 2020-2.
Note.Subsections (1), (2), (3) former s. 39.044(8), (9), (11); s. 985.215(8), (9), (11). Subsection (4) former s. 39.042(3); s. 985.213(3). Subsection (5) former s. 39.044(4); s. 985.215(4).
985.27 Postdisposition detention while awaiting residential commitment placement.The court must place all children who are adjudicated and awaiting placement in a nonsecure, high-risk, or maximum-risk residential commitment program in secure detention care until the placement or commitment is accomplished.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 31, ch. 94-209; s. 42, ch. 95-267; s. 5, ch. 96-398; s. 23, ch. 97-238; s. 13, ch. 98-207; s. 9, ch. 2000-134; s. 5, ch. 2000-327; s. 19, ch. 2001-125; s. 4, ch. 2005-263; s. 37, ch. 2006-120; s. 20, ch. 2014-162; s. 6, ch. 2017-164.
Note.Former s. 39.044(10)(a)-(d); s. 985.215(10)(a)-(d), (f).
985.275 Detention of escapee or absconder on authority of the department.
(1) If an authorized agent of the department has reasonable grounds to believe that any delinquent child committed to the department has escaped from a residential commitment facility or from being lawfully transported thereto or therefrom, or has absconded from a nonresidential commitment facility, the agent shall notify law enforcement and, if the offense would require notification under chapter 960, notify the victim. The agent shall make every reasonable effort as permitted within existing resources provided to the department to locate the delinquent child, and the child may be returned to the facility or, if it is closer, to a detention center for return to the facility. However, a child may not be held in detention longer than 24 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, unless a special order so directing is made by the judge after a detention hearing resulting in a finding that detention is required based on the criteria in s. 985.255. The order shall state the reasons for such finding. The reasons shall be reviewable by appeal or in habeas corpus proceedings in the district court of appeal.
(2) Any sheriff or other law enforcement officer, upon the request of the secretary of the department or duly authorized agent, shall take a child who has escaped from a residential commitment facility or from being lawfully transported thereto or therefrom, or has absconded from a nonresidential commitment facility, into custody and deliver the child to the appropriate juvenile probation officer.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 7, ch. 92-287; s. 54, ch. 94-209; s. 16, ch. 97-238; s. 9, ch. 98-207; s. 13, ch. 99-284; s. 3, ch. 2005-263; s. 38, ch. 2006-120; s. 21, ch. 2014-162; s. 14, ch. 2017-164.
Note.Former s. 39.064; s. 985.208.
PART VI
PETITION, ARRAIGNMENT,
AND ADJUDICATION
985.318 Petition.
985.319 Process and service.
985.325 Threatening or dismissing an employee prohibited.
985.331 Court and witness fees.
985.335 No answer to petition required.
985.345 Delinquency pretrial intervention programs.
985.35 Adjudicatory hearings; withheld adjudications; orders of adjudication.
985.318 Petition.
(1) All proceedings seeking a finding that a child has committed a delinquent act or violation of law shall be initiated by the state by the filing of a petition for delinquency by the state attorney.
(2) The petition shall be in writing and shall be signed by the state attorney under oath.
(3) The state attorney shall represent the state in all proceedings in which a petition alleges delinquency.
(4) When a petition has been filed and the child or his or her counsel has advised the state attorney that the truth of the allegations is admitted and that no contest is to be made of the allegations in the petition, the state attorney may request that the case be set for an adjudicatory hearing. If the child changes the plea at the adjudicatory hearing, the court shall continue the hearing to permit the state attorney to prepare and present the case for the state.
(5) The form of the petition and its contents shall be determined by rules of procedure adopted by the Supreme Court.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 14, ch. 93-230; s. 221, ch. 95-147; s. 26, ch. 97-238; s. 81, ch. 98-280; s. 36, ch. 99-284; s. 39, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 39.048; s. 985.218.
985.319 Process and service.
(1) Personal appearance of any person in a hearing before the court obviates the necessity of serving process on that person.
(2) Upon the filing of a petition containing allegations of facts which, if true, would establish that the child committed a delinquent act or violation of law, and upon the request of the petitioner, the clerk or deputy clerk shall issue a summons.
(3) The summons must have a copy of the petition attached and must require the person on whom it is served to appear for a hearing at a time and place specified. If the hearing is to be held through audio or audio-video communication technology, the summons must provide instructions on how to attend the hearing. Except in cases of medical emergency, the time may not be less than 24 hours after service of the summons. If the child is not detained by an order of the court, the summons must require the custodian of the child to produce the child at the said time and place.
(4) Law enforcement agencies shall act upon subpoenas received and serve process within 7 days after arraignment or as soon thereafter as is possible, except that no service shall be made on Sundays.
(5) The summons shall be directed to, and shall be served upon, the following persons:
(a) The child, in the same manner as an adult;
(b) The parents of the child; and
(c) Any legal custodians, actual custodians, guardians, and guardians ad litem of the child.
(6) If the petition alleges that the child has committed a delinquent act or violation of law and the judge deems it advisable to do so, under the criteria of s. 985.255, the judge may, by endorsement upon the summons and after the entry of an order in which valid reasons are specified, order the child to be taken into custody immediately, and in such case the person serving the summons shall immediately take the child into custody.
(7) If the identity or residence of the parents, custodians, or guardians of the child is unknown after a diligent search and inquiry, if the parents, custodians, or guardians are residents of a state other than Florida, or if the parents, custodians, or guardians evade service, the person who made the search and inquiry shall file in the case a certificate of those facts, and the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child, if appropriate. If the parent, custodian, or guardian of the child fails to obey a summons, the court may, by endorsement upon the summons and after the entry of an order in which valid reasons are specified, order the parent, custodian, or guardian to be taken into custody immediately to show cause why the parent, guardian, or custodian should not be held in contempt for failing to obey the summons. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child, if appropriate.
(8) Upon the application of the child or the state attorney, the clerk or deputy clerk shall issue, and the court on its own motion may issue, subpoenas requiring attendance and testimony of witnesses and production of records, documents, or other tangible objects at any hearing.
(9) All process and orders issued by the court shall be served or executed as other process and orders of the circuit court and, in addition, may be served or executed by authorized agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice at the department’s discretion.
(10) Subpoenas may be served within the state by any person over 18 years of age who is not a party to the proceeding.
(11) No fee shall be paid for service of any process or other papers by an agent of the department. If any process, orders, or other papers are served or executed by any sheriff, the sheriff’s fees shall be paid by the county.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 7, ch. 92-287; s. 39, ch. 94-209; s. 1347, ch. 95-147; s. 27, ch. 97-238; s. 11, ch. 2000-134; s. 40, ch. 2006-120; s. 15, ch. 2017-164; s. 9, ch. 2023-302.
Note.Former s. 39.049(1)-(6), (8)-(11); s. 985.219(1)-(7), (9)-(12).
985.325 Threatening or dismissing an employee prohibited.
(1) An employer, or the employer’s agent, may not dismiss from employment an employee who is summoned to appear before the court under s. 985.319 solely because of the nature of the summons or because the employee complies with the summons.
(2) If an employer, or the employer’s agent, threatens an employee with dismissal, or dismisses an employee, who is summoned to appear under s. 985.319, the court may hold the employer in contempt.
History.s. 40, ch. 94-209; s. 1348, ch. 95-147; s. 28, ch. 97-238; s. 41, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 39.0495; s. 985.22.
985.331 Court and witness fees.In any proceeding under this chapter, court fees shall not be charged against, nor witness fees allowed to, any party to a delinquency petition or any parent or legal guardian or custodian or child named in a summons. Other witnesses shall be paid the witness fees fixed by law.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 29, ch. 97-238; s. 42, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 39.073; s. 985.221.
985.335 No answer to petition required.No answer to the petition alleging that a child has committed a delinquent act or violation of law need be filed by any child or his or her parent, legal custodian, or guardian. Any matters which might be set forth in an answer or other pleading may be pleaded orally before the court. An answer admitting the allegations of the petition may be filed by the child joined by a parent or the child’s counsel. The answer must acknowledge that the child has been advised of the right to counsel, of the right to remain silent, and of the possible dispositions available to the court. It shall provide for a waiver of the adjudicatory hearing, a statement of consent to an order of adjudication, and an authorization for the court to proceed with a disposition hearing. Upon the filing of such an order, a disposition hearing shall be set at the earliest practicable time that will allow for the completion of the assessment and classification process resulting in the predisposition report.
History.s. 5, ch. 90-208; s. 222, ch. 95-147; s. 30, ch. 97-238; s. 42, ch. 2006-120.
Note.Former s. 39.051; s. 985.222.
985.345 Delinquency pretrial intervention programs.
(1)(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a child who is charged with a felony of the second or third degree for purchase or possession of a controlled substance under chapter 893; tampering with evidence; solicitation for purchase of a controlled substance; or obtaining a prescription by fraud, and who has not previously been adjudicated for a felony, is eligible for voluntary admission into a delinquency pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program, including a treatment-based drug court program established pursuant to s. 397.334, approved by the chief judge or alternative sanctions coordinator of the circuit to the extent that funded programs are available, for a period based on the program requirements and the treatment services that are suitable for the offender, upon motion of either party or the court’s own motion. However, if the state attorney believes that the facts and circumstances of the case suggest the child’s involvement in the dealing and selling of controlled substances, the court shall hold a preadmission hearing. If the state attorney establishes by a preponderance of the evidence at such hearing that the child was involved in the dealing and selling of controlled substances, the court shall deny the child’s admission into a delinquency pretrial intervention program.
(b) While enrolled in a delinquency pretrial intervention program authorized by this subsection, a child is subject to a coordinated strategy developed by a drug court team under s. 397.334(4). The coordinated strategy may include a protocol of sanctions that may be imposed upon the child for noncompliance with program rules. The protocol of sanctions may include, but is not limited to, placement in a substance abuse treatment program offered by a licensed service provider as defined in s. 397.311 or serving a period of secure detention under this chapter. The coordinated strategy must be provided in writing to the child before the child agrees to enter the pretrial treatment-based drug court program or other pretrial intervention program. A child whose charges are dismissed after successful completion of the treatment-based drug court program, if otherwise eligible, may have his or her arrest record and plea of nolo contendere to the dismissed charges expunged under s. 943.0585.
(c) At the end of the delinquency pretrial intervention period, the court shall consider the recommendation of the state attorney and the program administrator as to disposition of the pending charges. The court shall determine, by written finding, whether the child has successfully completed the delinquency pretrial intervention program. Notwithstanding the coordinated strategy developed by a drug court team pursuant to s. 397.334(4), if the court finds that the child has not successfully completed the delinquency pretrial intervention program, the court may order the child to continue in an education, treatment, or drug testing program if resources and funding are available or order that the charges revert to normal channels for prosecution. The court may dismiss the charges upon a finding that the child has successfully completed the delinquency pretrial intervention program.
(2)(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a child who has been identified as having a mental illness and who has not been previously adjudicated for a felony is eligible for voluntary admission into a delinquency pretrial mental health court intervention program, established pursuant to s. 394.47892, approved by the chief judge of the circuit, for a period to be determined by the court, based on the clinical needs of the child, upon motion of either party or the court’s own motion if the child is charged with:
1. A misdemeanor;
2. A nonviolent felony, as defined in s. 948.01(8);
3. Resisting an officer with violence under s. 843.01, if the law enforcement officer and state attorney consent to the child’s participation;
4. Battery on a law enforcement officer under s. 784.07, if the law enforcement officer and state attorney consent to the child’s participation; or
5. Aggravated assault, if the victim and state attorney consent to the child’s participation.
(b) At the end of the delinquency pretrial mental health court intervention period, the court shall consider the recommendation of the state attorney and the program administrator as to disposition of the pending charges. The court shall determine, by written finding, whether the child has successfully completed the program. If the court finds that the child has not successfully completed the program, the court may order the child to continue in an education, treatment, or monitoring program if resources and funding are available or order that the charges revert to normal channels for prosecution. The court may dismiss the charges upon a finding that the child has successfully completed the program.
(c) A child whose charges are dismissed after successful completion of the delinquency pretrial mental health court intervention program, if otherwise eligible, may have his or her criminal history record for such charges expunged under s. 943.0585.
(3) Any entity, whether public or private, providing pretrial substance abuse education, treatment intervention, drug testing, or a mental health court program under this section must contract with the county or appropriate governmental entity, and the terms of the contract must include, but need not be limited to, the requirements established for private entities under s. 948.15(3). It is the intent of the Legislature that public or private entities providing substance abuse education and treatment intervention programs involve the active participation of parents, schools, churches, businesses, law enforcement agencies, and the department or its contract providers.
History.s. 3, ch. 93-196; s. 37, ch. 94-209; s. 13, ch.