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The Florida Statutes

The 2017 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX
PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 402
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
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F.S. 402.404
402.404 Child Protection and Child Welfare Personnel Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
(1) There is established within the department the Child Protection and Child Welfare Personnel Student Loan Forgiveness Program. The purpose of the program is to increase employment and retention of high-performing individuals who have either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in social work and work in child protection or child welfare for the department, a community-based care lead agency, or a community-based care subcontractor by making payments toward loans received by students from federal or state programs or commercial lending institutions for the support of prior postsecondary study in accredited social work programs.
(2) To be eligible for the program, a candidate must:
(a) Be employed by the department as a child protective investigator or a child protective investigation supervisor or be employed by a community-based care lead agency or subcontractor as a case manager or case manager supervisor;
(b) Be determined by the department or his or her employer to have a high level of performance based on his or her personal evaluation; and
(c) Have graduated from an accredited social work program with either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in social work.
(3) Only loans to pay the costs of tuition, books, fees, and living expenses shall be covered.
(4) The department or lead agency may make loan payments of up to $3,000 each year for up to 4 years on behalf of selected graduates of an accredited social work program from the funds appropriated for this purpose. All payments are contingent upon continued proof of employment and shall be made directly to the holder of the loan.
(5) A student who receives a tuition exemption pursuant to s. 402.403 is not eligible to participate in the Child Protection and Child Welfare Personnel Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
(6) All child protection and child welfare personnel who participate in the student loan forgiveness program established under this section must remain employed by the department, a state agency, or a contracted provider for 5 years after completion of a graduate level social work program. If employment ends before the 5-year period, the benefit shall be repaid according to a pro rata calculation based on the number of years of service.
(7) The department shall prioritize funds appropriated for this purpose to regions with high-average caseloads and low workforce-retention rates.
History.s. 25, ch. 2014-224.