(1) As part of the department's quality assurance program, the department shall provide an immediate multiagency investigation of certain child deaths or other serious incidents. The purpose of such investigation is to identify root causes and rapidly determine the need to change policies and practices related to child protection and child welfare.
(2) An immediate onsite investigation conducted by a critical incident rapid response team is required for all child deaths reported to the department if the child or another child in his or her family was the subject of a verified report of suspected abuse or neglect during the previous 12 months. The secretary may direct an immediate investigation for other cases involving death or serious injury to a child, including, but not limited to, a death or serious injury occurring during an open investigation.
(3) Each investigation shall be conducted by a multiagency team of at least five professionals with expertise in child protection, child welfare, and organizational management. The team may consist of employees of the department, community-based care lead agencies, Children's Medical Services, and community-based care provider organizations; faculty from the institute consisting of public and private universities offering degrees in social work established pursuant to s. 1004.615 ; or any other person with the required expertise. The team shall include, at a minimum, a child protection team medical director. The majority of the team must reside in judicial circuits outside the location of the incident. The secretary shall appoint a team leader for each group assigned to an investigation.
(4) An investigation shall be initiated as soon as possible, but not later than 2 business days after the case is reported to the department. A preliminary report on each case shall be provided to the secretary no later than 30 days after the investigation begins.
(5) Each member of the team is authorized to access all information in the case file.
(6) All employees of the department or other state agencies and all personnel from community-based care lead agencies and community-based care lead agency subcontractors must cooperate with the investigation by participating in interviews and timely responding to any requests for information. The members of the team may only access the records and information of contracted provider organizations which are available to the department by law.
(7) The secretary shall develop cooperative agreements with other entities and organizations as necessary to facilitate the work of the team.
(8) The members of the team may be reimbursed by the department for per diem, mileage, and other reasonable expenses as provided in s. 112.061 . The department may also reimburse the team member's employer for the associated salary and benefits during the time the team member is fulfilling the duties required under this section.
(9) Upon completion of the investigation, the department shall make the team's final report, excluding any confidential information, available on its website.
(10) The secretary, in conjunction with the institute established pursuant to s. 1004.615 , shall develop guidelines for investigations conducted by critical incident rapid response teams and provide training to team members. Such guidelines must direct the teams in the conduct of a root-cause analysis that identifies, classifies, and attributes responsibility for both direct and latent causes for the death or other incident, including organizational factors, preconditions, and specific acts or omissions resulting from either error or a violation of procedures. The department shall ensure that each team member receives training on the guidelines before conducting an investigation.
(11) The secretary shall appoint an advisory committee made up of experts in child protection and child welfare, including the Statewide Medical Director for Child Protection under the Department of Health, a representative from the institute established pursuant to s. 1004.615 , an expert in organizational management, and an attorney with experience in child welfare, to conduct an independent review of investigative reports from the critical incident rapid response teams and to make recommendations to improve policies and practices related to child protection and child welfare services. The advisory committee shall meet at least once each quarter and shall submit quarterly reports to the secretary which include findings and recommendations. The secretary shall submit each report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
FindLaw Codes are provided courtesy of Thomson Reuters Westlaw, the industry-leading online legal research system. For more detailed codes research information, including annotations and citations, please visit Westlaw.
FindLaw Codes may not reflect the most recent version of the law in your jurisdiction. Please verify the status of the code you are researching with the state legislature or via Westlaw before relying on it for your legal needs.