News Release: Governor's Press Office
June 25, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced he has signed House Bill 561, which requires the appointment of an attorney to represent dependent children who have special needs, unless a pro bono attorney represents the child.
Governor Rick Scott said, “I’m happy to sign this legislation today to ensure that children who have disabilities and are in the care of the state are guaranteed that advocate to represent them in legal matters. We must do everything to protect our children and this legislation provides greater support to those who need it most.”
The bill states that an attorney shall be appointed for a dependent child with disabilities who meets one or more of the following criteria:
• Resides in a skilled nursing facility or is being considered for placement in a skilled nursing home;
• Is prescribed a psychotropic medication but declines assent to the medication;
• Has a diagnosis of a developmental disability as defined in law;
• Is being placed in a residential treatment center or being considered for placement in a residential treatment center; or
• Is a victim of human trafficking.