Comments: IN SB0001 | 2019 | Regular Session

Bill Title: Department of child services. Specifies that all decisions made by the department of child services (department) in specified statutes shall be made in consideration of the best interests of the child. Provides that a petition for adoption of an adult is not required to include a report regarding the health status and medical history of the adoptee. States that a court shall determine that consent to adoption is not required from a parent if the parent is convicted of crimes in another state that are substantially similar to specified crimes. Requires the department to implement and make available telephone contacts for family case managers to provide access to assistance in finding suitable placement for a child. Allows the department to waive the limits on the number of children who may be placed in a single foster home under certain circumstances. Provides for a right to intervene in a: (1) child in need of services proceeding; or (2) termination of parent-child relationship proceeding; by a foster parent, long term foster parent, or person who has been a foster parent of the child, and sets forth hearing requirements on the petition to intervene. Allows a court to find that a child is not a child in need of services based on credible evidence presented by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian that the parent, guardian, or custodian: (1) is financially unable to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, or shelter; and (2) has not failed, refused, or demonstrated an inability to seek financial or other reasonable means to do so. Requires the department and the office of judicial administration (office) to prepare a form that may be used to provide written testimony by certain individuals and allows foster parents to provide written testimony in a format other than the form. Provides that a dispositional decree must require the department to continue exercising due diligence to identify all adult relatives and adult siblings of the child who may be considered as out-of-home placements for the child. Requires the department to include in a progress report prepared for a case review hearing or permanency hearing information concerning the department's continued effort to identify all adult relatives and adult siblings of the child who may be considered as out-of-home placements for the child. Provides that before a child who was: (1) placed in an out-of-home placement; and (2) moved from the out-of-home placement to an in-home placement; may be returned to an out-of-home placement, the court and the department shall make a reasonable attempt to place the child in the previous out-of-home placement. Provides that if: (1) a child has been removed from a parent and has been under the supervision of the department for 15 months of the most recent 22 months; and (2) a petition to terminate the child's parent-child relationship has not been filed; a foster parent, relative of the child, or de facto custodian with whom the child has been placed for at least six months may file a notice with the court. Provides that if the notice is filed with the court, the court shall schedule a hearing within 30 days. Requires the department and the office to jointly provide a report to the general assembly before July 1, 2020, that includes information concerning: (1) the office's progress in providing training and technical assistance to judicial officers regarding foster parents' statutory right to be heard by the court; and (2) the department's progress in improving opportunities for foster parents to provide oral and written testimony to a court.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Republican 40-9)

Status: (Passed) 2019-05-05 - Public Law 210 [SB0001 Detail]

Text: Latest bill text (Enrolled) [PDF]

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