Florida Senate - 2021 SB 1336



By Senator Gibson





6-01509-21 20211336__
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to the Gold Seal Quality Care program;
3 amending ss. 39.604, 212.08, and 402.26, F.S.;
4 conforming provisions and cross-references to changes
5 made by the act; transferring, renumbering, and
6 amending s. 402.281, F.S.; revising the requirements
7 of the Gold Seal Quality Care program; requiring the
8 State Board of Education to adopt specified rules;
9 specifying requirements for an accrediting entity,
10 rather than an accrediting association, to be approved
11 for participation in such program; requiring the
12 Department of Education to establish a verification
13 process for accrediting entities and providing
14 requirements therefor; requiring the department to
15 recommend to the state board termination of an
16 accrediting entity’s participation under certain
17 circumstances; providing that each child care provider
18 accredited by a terminated accrediting entity has up
19 to 1 year to obtain new accreditation; deleting a
20 provision requiring the department to consult with
21 certain entities for specified purposes; providing
22 that an accrediting entity is liable for repayment of
23 certain rate differentials if the accrediting entity
24 granted accreditation to specified entities under
25 fraudulent terms or failed to conduct onsite
26 verifications; authorizing the department to remove an
27 accrediting entity from being an approved accrediting
28 entity if the accrediting entity has accredited 10 or
29 fewer child care providers in the previous 5 years;
30 authorizing the department to recommend the
31 maintenance of Gold Seal Quality Care designation for
32 certain child care facilities; providing an exemption
33 from ad valorem taxation and rate differentials for
34 certain child care facilities; providing for a type
35 two transfer of the Gold Seal Quality Care program
36 within the Department of Children and Families to the
37 Department of Education within a specified timeframe;
38 providing for the continuation of certain contracts
39 and agreements; amending ss. 402.315, 1002.55,
40 1002.69, and 1002.895, F.S.; conforming cross
41 references; providing an effective date.
42
43 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
44
45 Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of section
46 39.604, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
47 39.604 Rilya Wilson Act; short title; legislative intent;
48 child care; early education; preschool.—
49 (5) EDUCATIONAL STABILITY.—Just as educational stability is
50 important for school-age children, it is also important to
51 minimize disruptions to secure attachments and stable
52 relationships with supportive caregivers of children from birth
53 to school age and to ensure that these attachments are not
54 disrupted due to placement in out-of-home care or subsequent
55 changes in out-of-home placement.
56 (b) If it is not in the best interest of the child for him
57 or her to remain in his or her child care or early education
58 setting upon entry into out-of-home care, the caregiver must
59 work with the case manager, guardian ad litem, child care and
60 educational staff, and educational surrogate, if one has been
61 appointed, to determine the best setting for the child. Such
62 setting may be a child care provider that receives a Gold Seal
63 Quality Care designation pursuant to s. 1002.945 s. 402.281, a
64 provider participating in a quality rating system, a licensed
65 child care provider, a public school provider, or a license
66 exempt child care provider, including religious-exempt and
67 registered providers, and nonpublic schools.
68 Section 2. Paragraph (m) of subsection (5) of section
69 212.08, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
70 212.08 Sales, rental, use, consumption, distribution, and
71 storage tax; specified exemptions.—The sale at retail, the
72 rental, the use, the consumption, the distribution, and the
73 storage to be used or consumed in this state of the following
74 are hereby specifically exempt from the tax imposed by this
75 chapter.
76 (5) EXEMPTIONS; ACCOUNT OF USE.—
77 (m) Educational materials purchased by certain child care
78 facilities.—Educational materials, such as glue, paper, paints,
79 crayons, unique craft items, scissors, books, and educational
80 toys, purchased by a child care facility that meets the
81 standards delineated in s. 402.305, is licensed under s.
82 402.308, holds a current Gold Seal Quality Care designation
83 pursuant to s. 1002.945 s. 402.281, and provides basic health
84 insurance to all employees are exempt from the taxes imposed by
85 this chapter. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “basic
86 health insurance” shall be defined and promulgated in rules
87 developed jointly by the Department of Children and Families,
88 the Agency for Health Care Administration, and the Financial
89 Services Commission.
90 Section 3. Subsection (6) of section 402.26, Florida
91 Statutes, is amended to read:
92 402.26 Child care; legislative intent.—
93 (6) It is the intent of the Legislature that a child care
94 facility licensed pursuant to s. 402.305 or a child care
95 facility exempt from licensing pursuant to s. 402.316, that
96 achieves Gold Seal Quality status pursuant to s. 402.281, be
97 considered an educational institution for the purpose of
98 qualifying for exemption from ad valorem tax pursuant to s.
99 196.198.
100 Section 4. Section 402.281, Florida Statutes, is
101 transferred, renumbered as section 1002.945, Florida Statutes,
102 and amended to read:
103 1002.945 402.281 Gold Seal Quality Care program.—
104 (1)(a) There is established within the Department of
105 Education the Gold Seal Quality Care program.
106 (b) A child care facility, large family child care home, or
107 family day care home that is accredited by an accrediting entity
108 association approved by the department under subsection (3) and
109 meets all other requirements shall, upon application to the
110 department, receive a separate “Gold Seal Quality Care”
111 designation.
112 (2) The State Board of Education department shall adopt
113 rules establishing Gold Seal Quality Care accreditation
114 standards using nationally recognized accrediting standards and
115 input from accrediting entities based on the applicable
116 accrediting standards of the National Association for the
117 Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Association of
118 Family Child Care, and the National Early Childhood Program
119 Accreditation Commission.
120 (3)(a) In order to be approved by the department for
121 participation in the Gold Seal Quality Care program, an
122 accrediting entity association must apply to the department and
123 demonstrate that it:
124 1. Has qualified personnel experienced in the accreditation
125 of child care facilities, large family child care homes, or
126 family day care homes Is a recognized accrediting association.
127 2. Has accrediting standards that substantially meet, or
128 exceed, the Gold Seal Quality Care standards adopted by the
129 state board department under subsection (2).
130 3. Has proven expertise with accrediting standards that are
131 substantially similar to the Gold Seal Quality Care standards
132 adopted by the state board under subsection (2).
133 4. Is a registered corporation with the Department of
134 State.
135 5. Can provide evidence that the accreditation process has,
136 at a minimum, all of the following components:
137 a. Clearly defined prerequisites that a child care provider
138 must meet before beginning the accreditation process. However,
139 accreditation may not be granted to a child care facility, large
140 family child care home, or family day care home before the site
141 is operational and is attended by children.
142 b. Procedures for completion of a self-study and
143 comprehensive onsite verification process for each classroom
144 which documents compliance with accrediting standards.
145 c. A training process for accreditation verifiers to ensure
146 inter-rater reliability.
147 d. Ongoing compliance procedures that include requiring
148 each accredited child care facility, large family child care
149 home, and family day care home to file an annual report with the
150 accrediting entity and risk-based onsite auditing protocols for
151 accredited child care facilities, large family child care homes,
152 and family day care homes.
153 e. Procedures for the revocation of accreditation due to
154 failure to maintain accrediting standards as evidenced by sub
155 subparagraph d. or any other relevant information received by
156 the accrediting entity.
157 f. Accreditation renewal procedures that include an onsite
158 verification occurring at least every 5 years.
159 g. A process for verifying continued accreditation
160 compliance in the event of a transfer of ownership of
161 facilities.
162 h. A process to communicate issues that arise during the
163 accreditation period with governmental entities that have a
164 vested interest in the Gold Seal Quality Care program, including
165 the department, the Department of Children and Families, the
166 Department of Health, local licensing entities if applicable,
167 and the early learning coalition.
168 (b) The department shall establish a process that verifies
169 that the accrediting entity meets the provisions of paragraph
170 (a), which must include an auditing program and any other
171 procedures that may reasonably determine an accrediting entity’s
172 compliance with this section. If an accrediting entity is not in
173 compliance and fails to cure its deficiencies within 30 days,
174 the department shall recommend to the state board termination of
175 the accrediting entity’s participation in the program for a
176 period of at least 2 years but not more than 5 years. If an
177 accrediting entity’s participation in the program is terminated,
178 each child care provider accredited by that entity shall have up
179 to 1 year to obtain a new accreditation from a department
180 approved accrediting entity In approving accrediting
181 associations, the department shall consult with the Department
182 of Education, the Florida Head Start Directors Association, the
183 Florida Association of Child Care Management, the Florida Family
184 Child Care Home Association, the Florida Children’s Forum, the
185 Florida Association for the Education of the Young, the Child
186 Development Education Alliance, the Florida Association of
187 Academic Nonpublic Schools, the Association of Early Learning
188 Coalitions, providers receiving exemptions under s. 402.316, and
189 parents.
190 (c) If an accrediting entity has granted accreditation to a
191 child care facility, large family child care home, or family day
192 care under fraudulent terms or failed to conduct onsite
193 verifications, the accrediting entity shall be liable for the
194 repayment of any rate differentials paid under subsection (6).
195 (d) The department may remove an accrediting entity from
196 being an approved accrediting entity if the accrediting entity
197 has accredited 10 or fewer child care providers in the previous
198 5 years.
199 (4) In order to obtain and maintain a designation as a Gold
200 Seal Quality Care provider, a child care facility, large family
201 child care home, or family day care home must meet the following
202 additional criteria:
203 (a) The child care provider must not have had any class I
204 violations, as defined by rule of the Department of Children and
205 Families, within the 2 years preceding its application for
206 designation as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider. Commission of
207 a class I violation shall be grounds for termination of the
208 designation as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider until the
209 provider has no class I violations for a period of 2 years.
210 (b) The child care provider must not have had three or more
211 class II violations, as defined by rule of the Department of
212 Children and Families, within the 2 years preceding its
213 application for designation as a Gold Seal Quality Care
214 provider. Commission of three or more class II violations within
215 a 2-year period shall be grounds for termination of the
216 designation as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider until the
217 provider has no class II violations for a period of 1 year.
218 (c) The child care provider must not have been cited for
219 the same class III violation, as defined by rule of the
220 Department of Children and Families, three or more times and
221 failed to correct the violation within 1 year after the date of
222 each citation, within the 2 years preceding its application for
223 designation as a Gold Seal Quality Care provider. Commission of
224 the same class III violation three or more times and failure to
225 correct within the required time during a 2-year period may be
226 grounds for termination of the designation as a Gold Seal
227 Quality Care provider until the provider has no class III
228 violations for a period of 1 year.
229 (d) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), if the department
230 determines through a formal process that a child care provider
231 has been in business for at least 5 years and has no other class
232 I violations recorded, the department may recommend to the state
233 board that the provider maintain its Gold Seal Quality Care
234 designation. The state board’s determination regarding such
235 provider’s designation is final.
236 (5) A child care facility licensed pursuant to s. 402.305
237 or a child care facility exempt from licensing pursuant to s.
238 402.316 which achieves Gold Seal Quality Care designation under
239 this section shall be considered an educational institution for
240 the purpose of qualifying for an exemption from ad valorem
241 taxation under s. 196.198.
242 (6) A child care facility licensed pursuant to s. 402.305
243 or a child care facility exempt from licensing pursuant to s.
244 402.316 which achieves Gold Seal Quality Care status under this
245 section and which participates in the school readiness program
246 shall receive a minimum of a 20 percent rate differential for
247 each enrolled school readiness child by care level and unit of
248 child care.
249 (7)(5) The state board Department of Children and Families
250 shall adopt rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 which provide
251 criteria and procedures for reviewing and approving accrediting
252 entities associations for participation in the Gold Seal Quality
253 Care program and, conferring and revoking designations of Gold
254 Seal Quality Care providers, and classifying violations.
255 Section 5. (1) Before July 1, 2026, all powers, duties,
256 functions, records, offices, personnel, associated
257 administrative support positions, property, pending issues,
258 existing contracts, administrative authority, administrative
259 rules, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations,
260 and other funds relating to the Gold Seal Quality Care program
261 within the Department of Children and Families are transferred
262 by a type two transfer, as defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida
263 Statutes, to the Department of Education.
264 (2) Any binding contract or interagency agreement existing
265 before July 1, 2021, between the Department of Children and
266 Families, or an entity or agent of the department, and any other
267 agency, entity, or person relating to the Gold Seal Quality Care
268 program shall continue as a binding contract or interagency
269 agreement for the remainder of the term of the contract or
270 agreement on the successor entity responsible for the program,
271 activity, or function relative to the contract or agreement.
272 Section 6. Subsection (5) of section 402.315, Florida
273 Statutes, is amended to read:
274 402.315 Funding; license fees.—
275 (5) All moneys collected by the department for child care
276 licensing shall be held in a trust fund of the department to be
277 reallocated to the department during the following fiscal year
278 to fund child care licensing activities, including the Gold Seal
279 Quality Care program created pursuant to s. 1002.945 s. 402.281.
280 Section 7. Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section
281 1002.55, Florida Statutes, is am