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20.19  Department of Children and Family Services.

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(a)  The department shall, in consultation with local communities, establish a community alliance of the stakeholders, community leaders, client representatives and funders of human services in each county to provide a focal point for community participation and governance of community-based services. An alliance may cover more than one county when such arrangement is determined to provide for more effective representation. The community alliance shall represent the diversity of the community.

(b)  The duties of the community alliance shall include, but not necessarily be limited to:

1.  Joint planning for resource utilization in the community, including resources appropriated to the department and any funds that local funding sources choose to provide.

2.  Needs assessment and establishment of community priorities for service delivery.

3.  Determining community outcome goals to supplement state-required outcomes.

4.  Serving as a catalyst for community resource development.

5.  Providing for community education and advocacy on issues related to delivery of services.

6.  Promoting prevention and early intervention services.

(c)  The department shall ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that the formation of each community alliance builds on the strengths of the existing community human services infrastructure.

(d)  The initial membership of the community alliance in a county shall be composed of the following:

1.  The district administrator.

2.  A representative from county government.

3.  A representative from the school district.

4.  A representative from the county United Way.

5.  A representative from the county sheriff's office.

6.  A representative from the circuit court corresponding to the county.

7.  A representative from the county children's board, if one exists.

(e)  At any time after the initial meeting of the community alliance, the community alliance shall adopt bylaws and may increase the membership of the alliance to include individuals and organizations who represent funding organizations, are community leaders, have knowledge of community-based service issues, or otherwise represent perspectives that will enable them to accomplish the duties listed in paragraph (b), if, in the judgment of the alliance, such change is necessary to adequately represent the diversity of the population within the community alliance service districts.

(f)  Members of the community alliances shall serve without compensation, but are entitled to receive reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses, as provided in s. 112.061. Payment may also be authorized for preapproved child care expenses or lost wages for members who are consumers of the department's services and for preapproved child care expenses for other members who demonstrate hardship.

(g)  Members of a community alliance are subject to the provisions of part III of chapter 112, the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees.

(h)  Actions taken by a community alliance must be consistent with department policy and state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

(i)  Alliance members shall annually submit a disclosure statement of services interests to the department's inspector general. Any member who has an interest in a matter under consideration by the alliance must abstain from voting on that matter.

(j)  All alliance meetings are open to the public pursuant to s. 286.011 and the public records provision of s. 119.07(1).