Bill Text: MS HB1313 | 2022 | Regular Session | Enrolled


Bill Title: "Representative Bill Kinkade Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (FAITH) Scholarship Program Act"; create.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 74-46)

Status: (Passed) 2022-04-18 - Approved by Governor [HB1313 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2022-HB1313-Enrolled.html

MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2022 Regular Session

To: Education; Appropriations

By: Representatives Bennett, Creekmore IV, Mickens, Crawford, Crudup, Summers, McLean, Porter, Powell, Williamson, McCarty, Aguirre, Anderson (110th), Anderson (122nd), Anthony, Arnold, Bailey, Bain, Banks, Barnett, Barton, Beckett, Bell (21st), Bell (65th), Blackmon, Bomgar, Bounds, Boyd, Brown (70th), Burnett, Busby, Byrd, Calvert, Carpenter, Clark, Clarke, Cockerham, Criswell, Currie, Darnell, Denton, Deweese, Eubanks, Eure, Evans (45th), Evans (91st), Faulkner, Felsher, Ford (54th), Ford (73rd), Foster, Gibbs (36th), Gibbs (72nd), Goodin, Guice, Gunn, Hale, Haney, Harness, Hines, Hobgood-Wilkes, Holloway, Hood, Horan, Horne, Huddleston, Jackson, Johnson, Karriem, Kinkade, Ladner, Lamar, Lancaster, Mangold, Massengill, McCray, McGee, McKnight, McLeod, Miles, Mims, Morgan, Newman, Oliver, Osborne, Owen, Paden, Patterson, Pigott, Read, Reynolds, Roberson, Robinson, Rosebud, Rushing, Sanders, Sanford, Scoggin, Scott, Shanks, Smith, Stamps, Steverson, Straughter, Taylor, Thompson, Tubb, Tullos, Turner, Walker, Wallace, Watson, Weathersby, White, Williams-Barnes, Wright, Yancey, Yates, Young, Zuber

House Bill 1313

(As Sent to Governor)

AN ACT TO CREATE THE "STATE REPRESENTATIVE BILL KINKADE FOSTERING ACCESS AND INSPIRING TRUE HOPE (FAITH) SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM," FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING FUNDS FOR CERTAIN YOUTH TO ATTEND APPROVED POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS; TO AUTHORIZE THE AWARD OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO ANY PERSON WHO WAS PLACED EITHER IN THE LEGAL CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES (MDCPS) OR AT A QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE AGENCY AT ANY TIME ON OR AFTER THE PERSON'S 13TH BIRTHDAY; TO FURTHER AUTHORIZE THE AWARD OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO ANY PERSON WHO WAS ADOPTED FROM MDCPS'S CUSTODY OR WHILE RESIDING AT A QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE AGENCY AT ANY TIME ON OR AFTER THE PERSON'S 13TH BIRTHDAY; TO FURTHER PROVIDE THAT KINKADE FAITH SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANTS MUST BE YOUNGER THAN THE AGE OF 25; TO PROVIDE THAT THE MISSISSIPPI POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BOARD SHALL ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM; TO PRESCRIBE INITIAL AND CONTINUING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR RECEIVING A KINKADE FAITH SCHOLARSHIP; TO ADDRESS SUMMER AND HOLIDAY ROOM AND BOARD ACCOMMODATIONS FOR KINKADE FAITH SCHOLARS AT APPROVED POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS; TO ESTABLISH THE STATE REPRESENTATIVE BILL KINKADE FOSTERING ACCESS AND INSPIRING TRUE HOPE (FAITH) SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM SPECIAL FUND; TO AMEND SECTION 93-19-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE PERSONS 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER TO ENTER LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACTS FOR THE LEASE OF REAL PROPERTY AND ASSOCIATED UTILITIES; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-261, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE LIMITED DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS INVOLVING CHILDREN BY MDCPS TO STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BOARDS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  (1)  This section shall be known and may be cited as the "State Representative Bill Kinkade Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (FAITH) Scholarship Program."

     (2)  As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meaning ascribed in this subsection, unless context of use clearly requires otherwise:

          (a)  "Approved postsecondary educational institution" means any public state-supported institution of higher learning, community or junior college, or any not-for-profit private institution of higher learning in the state.  The term does not include proprietary colleges or universities.

          (b)  "Board" means the Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board established in Section 37-106-9, which is authorized and empowered to administer the provisions of Title 37, Chapter 106, Mississippi Code of 1972.

          (c)  "Director" means the individual designated by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning to administer the provisions of the various financial assistance programs by promulgating the necessary rules and regulations for their effective administration.

          (d)  "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.

          (e)  "Eligible student" means:

               (i)  Any individual who is younger than twenty-five (25) years of age who was placed in the legal custody of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services by a youth court or through other legal means and who was in the legal custody of the department at any time on or after attaining thirteen (13) years of age;

               (ii)  Any individual who is younger than twenty-five (25) years of age who was placed in a qualified residential child care agency by a parent, legal guardian, court of competent jurisdiction, or other person or entity acting in the best interest of the individual and who did reside in a qualified residential child care agency at any time on or after attaining thirteen (13) years of age; or

               (iii)  Any individual who is younger than twenty-five (25) years of age who was adopted from the department's legal custody or adopted while residing at a qualified residential child care agency as described in paragraph (f) of this subsection at any time on or after attaining thirteen (13) years of age.

          (f)  "Qualified residential child care agency" means an entity that provides a home for children and was licensed by the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services at the time that the scholarship applicant was housed by the agency.

          (g) "Scholarship" means the State Representative Bill Kinkade Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (FAITH) Scholarship.

     (3)  The Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board, with the assistance of the Mississippi Department Child Protection Services shall develop and administer the Kinkade FAITH Scholarship Program for eligible students. Commencing with the 2023-2024 academic year, the board shall approve scholarships to eligible students who meet the general requirements set forth in subsection (8) of this section. Scholarships shall be used to pay up to the cost of attendance at any approved postsecondary educational institution, provided that payments to any not-for-profit private institution of higher learning shall not exceed the average cost of attendance required by all of the public state-supported institutions of higher learning.

     (4)  Payments up to the cost of attendance are considered program scholarships.

     (5)  The Kinkade FAITH Scholarship Program shall include a mentor service administered by the department as a support system for scholarship recipients.  This service shall include mentors who shall be compensated by the department, as employees or contractors, to help participants adapt to independent living, academics and other college or university activities.

     (6)  (a)  Initial recipients shall be selected from all eligible students based on rules promulgated by the board.  In the second and subsequent years of the program, priority consideration shall first be given to renewal applicants.  

          (b)  The board shall develop rules for ensuring that expenses of the scholarship program in a fiscal year do not exceed funding for the program in that fiscal year.  For that purpose, and any other provision of this section to the contrary notwithstanding, the board may limit the acceptance of scholarship applications and may limit the award of scholarships.

     (7)  The program shall pay up to the student's cost of attendance for up to five (5) years, except as otherwise provided in subsection (10) of this section.  In no event shall the cost of attendance be paid pursuant to this section for more than seventy-two (72) credit hours at a community college or one hundred forty-four (144) credit hours at a four-year college. The program shall only pay up to cost of attendance for courses leading to an undergraduate credential or degree. Scholarship funds may be disbursed only if sufficient funding for the scholarship program is available.

     (8)  To participate in the program, a scholarship applicant shall satisfy the following general eligibility requirements:

          (a)  Be an eligible student as defined in subsection (2)(e) of this section;

          (b)  Be accepted for enrollment in a degree or certificate program at an approved postsecondary educational institution; and

          (c)  Have completed and submitted to the United States Department of Education a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before each year in which he or she receives a scholarship.  He or she shall have applied for all federal student financial assistance, including Educational and Training Vouchers.

     (9)  To receive a renewal scholarship, a student shall satisfy the following continuing eligibility requirements:

          (a)  Make satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a degree or certificate as determined by rules promulgated by the board and maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA for consecutive or nonconsecutive semesters of enrollment; and

          (b)  Remain in good standing with the policies established by the approved postsecondary educational institution.

     (10)  The age limitation under subsection (2)(e) of this section shall be extended by the total number of years during which the student was on active duty status in the United States Armed Forces.  The number of months served on active duty status in the United States Armed Forces shall be rounded up to the next higher year to determine the maximum length of eligibility extension allowed.

     (11)  The scholarship will include any costs associated with room and board during institutional holidays at approved postsecondary educational institutions where such accommodations are available.

     (12)  Funds can be combined with any other federal, institutional, or private scholarships to meet the student's full cost of attendance.  No other gift aid should be reduced or supplanted by the Kinkade FAITH scholarship.  However, in no case shall the FAITH scholarship be combined with other gift aid to exceed cost of attendance.

     (13)  The board shall promulgate rules as necessary to implement and administer this section.

     (14)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to:

          (a)  Guarantee acceptance of or entrance into any approved postsecondary educational institution for an eligible student;

          (b)  Limit the participation of an eligible student in any other program of financial assistance for postsecondary education;

          (c)  Require any approved postsecondary educational institution to waive costs or fees relating to room and board; or

          (d)  Restrict any approved postsecondary educational institution, the Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board, or the Department of Child Protection Services from accessing other sources of financial assistance, except loans, that may be available to an eligible student.

     SECTION 2.  (1)  There is established in the State Treasury a special fund to be designated as the "Kinkade Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (FAITH) Scholarship Program Fund."  The special fund shall consist of funds appropriated or otherwise made available by the Legislature in any manner, and funds from any other source designated for deposit into the special fund.  Monies in the fund shall only be spent upon appropriation by the Legislature to the Mississippi Postsecondary Education Financial Assistance Board and shall only be used by the Board for the purpose of implementing the scholarship program established in Section 1 of this act.

     (2)  Unexpended amounts remaining in the special fund at the end of a fiscal year shall not lapse into the State General Fund but shall remain in the Kinkade FAITH Scholarship Program Fund.  Any investment earnings or interest earned on amounts in the special fund shall be deposited to the credit of the special fund.

     SECTION 3.  Section 93-19-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     93-19-13.  (1)  All persons eighteen (18) years of age or older, if not otherwise disqualified, or prohibited by law, shall have the capacity to enter into binding contractual relationships affecting personal property.  In addition, all persons eighteen (18) years of age or older shall have the capacity to enter into binding contractual relationships for the purpose of investing in mutual funds, stocks, bonds and any other publicly traded equities.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any contracts entered into prior to July 1, 1976.

     (2)  Any person who, upon attaining eighteen (18) years of age, but not having reached the age of majority, was in or remains in the legal custody of the Department of Human Services or Child Protection Services and residing within a qualified residential child care agency, as defined in Section 1 of this act, at any time on or after attaining thirteen (13) years of age, if not otherwise disqualified or prohibited by law, shall have the capacity to enter into binding agreements to lease real property to be occupied by the person as the actual place of residence, and to secure the necessary utility services necessary to make such place of residence habitable, including, but not limited to, electricity, natural gas, propane, water, sewage, garbage disposal and Internet services.

     (3)  In any legal action founded on a contract entered into by a person eighteen (18) years of age or older, the said person may sue in his own name as an adult and be sued in his own name as an adult and be served with process as an adult.

     SECTION 4.  Section 43-21-261, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     43-21-261.  (1)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, records involving children shall not be disclosed, other than to necessary staff or officials of the youth court, a guardian ad litem appointed to a child by the court, or a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer who may be assigned in an abuse and neglect case, except pursuant to an order of the youth court specifying the person or persons to whom the records may be disclosed, the extent of the records which may be disclosed and the purpose of the disclosure.  Such court orders for disclosure shall be limited to those instances in which the youth court concludes, in its discretion, that disclosure is required for the best interests of the child, the public safety, the functioning of the youth court, or to identify a person who knowingly made a false allegation of child abuse or neglect, and then only to the following persons:

          (a)  The judge of another youth court or member of another youth court staff;

          (b)  The court of the parties in a child custody or adoption cause in another court;

          (c)  A judge of any other court or members of another court staff, including the chancery court that ordered a forensic interview;

          (d)  Representatives of a public or private agency providing supervision or having custody of the child under order of the youth court;

          (e)  Any person engaged in a bona fide research purpose, provided that no information identifying the subject of the records shall be made available to the researcher unless it is absolutely essential to the research purpose and the judge gives prior written approval, and the child, through his or her representative, gives permission to release the information;

          (f)  The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, or its duly authorized representatives, for the purpose of a child's enrollment into the Job Corps Training Program as authorized by Title IV of the Comprehensive Employment Training Act of 1973 (29 USCS Section 923 et seq.).  However, no records, reports, investigations or information derived therefrom pertaining to child abuse or neglect shall be disclosed;

          (g)  Any person pursuant to a finding by a judge of the youth court of compelling circumstances affecting the health, safety or well-being of a child and that such disclosure is in the best interests of the child or an adult who was formerly the subject of a youth court delinquency proceeding;

          (h)  A person who was the subject of a knowingly made false allegation of child abuse or neglect which has resulted in a conviction of a perpetrator in accordance with Section 97-35-47 or which allegation was referred by the Department of Child Protection Services to a prosecutor or law enforcement official in accordance with the provisions of Section 43-21-353(4).

     Law enforcement agencies may disclose information to the public concerning the taking of a child into custody for the commission of a delinquent act without the necessity of an order from the youth court.  The information released shall not identify the child or his address unless the information involves a child convicted as an adult.

     (2)  Any records involving children which are disclosed under an order of the youth court or pursuant to the terms of this section and the contents thereof shall be kept confidential by the person or agency to whom the record is disclosed unless otherwise provided in the order.  Any further disclosure of any records involving children shall be made only under an order of the youth court as provided in this section.

     (3)  Upon request, the parent, guardian or custodian of the child who is the subject of a youth court cause or any attorney for such parent, guardian or custodian, shall have the right to inspect any record, report or investigation relevant to a matter to be heard by a youth court, except that the identity of the reporter shall not be released, nor the name of any other person where the person or agency making the information available finds that disclosure of the information would be likely to endanger the life or safety of such person.  The attorney for the parent, guardian or custodian of the child, upon request, shall be provided a copy of any record, report or investigation relevant to a matter to be heard by a youth court, but the identity of the reporter must be redacted and the name of any other person must also be redacted if the person or agency making the information available finds that disclosure of the information would be likely to endanger the life, safety or well-being of the person.  A record provided to the attorney under this section must remain in the attorney's control and the attorney may not provide copies or access to another person or entity without prior consent of a court with appropriate jurisdiction.

     (4)  Upon request, the child who is the subject of a youth court cause shall have the right to have his counsel inspect and copy any record, report or investigation which is filed with the youth court or which is to be considered by the youth court at a hearing.

     (5)  (a)  The youth court prosecutor or prosecutors, the county attorney, the district attorney, the youth court defender or defenders, or any attorney representing a child shall have the right to inspect and copy any law enforcement record involving children.

          (b)  The Department of Child Protection Services shall disclose to a county prosecuting attorney or district attorney any and all records resulting from an investigation into suspected child abuse or neglect when the case has been referred by the Department of Child Protection Services to the county prosecuting attorney or district attorney for criminal prosecution.

          (c)  Agency records made confidential under the provisions of this section may be disclosed to a court of competent jurisdiction.

          (d)  Records involving children shall be disclosed to the Division of Victim Compensation of the Office of the Attorney General upon the division's request without order of the youth court for purposes of determination of eligibility for victim compensation benefits.

     (6)  Information concerning an investigation into a report of child abuse or child neglect may be disclosed by the Department of Child Protection Services without order of the youth court to any attorney, physician, dentist, intern, resident, nurse, psychologist, social worker, family protection worker, family protection specialist, child caregiver, minister, law enforcement officer, or a public or private school employee making that report pursuant to Section 43-21-353(1) if the reporter has a continuing professional relationship with the child and a need for such information in order to protect or treat the child.

     (7)  Information concerning an investigation into a report of child abuse or child neglect may be disclosed without further order of the youth court to any interagency child abuse task force established in any county or municipality by order of the youth court of that county or municipality.

     (8)  Names and addresses of juveniles twice adjudicated as delinquent for an act which would be a felony if committed by an adult or for the unlawful possession of a firearm shall not be held confidential and shall be made available to the public.

     (9)  Names and addresses of juveniles adjudicated as delinquent for murder, manslaughter, burglary, arson, armed robbery, aggravated assault, any sex offense as defined in Section 45-33-23, for any violation of Section 41-29-139(a)(1) or for any violation of Section 63-11-30, shall not be held confidential and shall be made available to the public.

     (10)  The judges of the circuit and county courts, and presentence investigators for the circuit courts, as provided in Section 47-7-9, shall have the right to inspect any youth court records of a person convicted of a crime for sentencing purposes only.

     (11)  The victim of an offense committed by a child who is the subject of a youth court cause shall have the right to be informed of the child's disposition by the youth court.

     (12)  A classification hearing officer of the State Department of Corrections, as provided in Section 47-5-103, shall have the right to inspect any youth court records, excluding abuse and neglect records, of any offender in the custody of the department who as a child or minor was a juvenile offender or was the subject of a youth court cause of action, and the State Parole Board, as provided in Section 47-7-17, shall have the right to inspect such records when the offender becomes eligible for parole.

     (13)  The youth court shall notify the Department of Public Safety of the name, and any other identifying information such department may require, of any child who is adjudicated delinquent as a result of a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law.

     (14)  The Administrative Office of Courts shall have the right to inspect any youth court records in order that the number of youthful offenders, abused, neglected, truant and dependent children, as well as children in need of special care and children in need of supervision, may be tracked with specificity through the youth court and adult justice system, and to utilize tracking forms for such purpose.

     (15)  Upon a request by a youth court, the Administrative Office of Courts shall disclose all information at its disposal concerning any previous youth court intakes alleging that a child was a delinquent child, child in need of supervision, child in need of special care, truant child, abused child or neglected child, as well as any previous youth court adjudications for the same and all dispositional information concerning a child who at the time of such request comes under the jurisdiction of the youth court making such request.

     (16)  The Administrative Office of Courts may, in its discretion, disclose to the Department of Public Safety any or all of the information involving children contained in the office's youth court data management system known as Mississippi Youth Court Information Delivery System or "MYCIDS."

     (17)  The youth courts of the state shall disclose to the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) any youth court records in order that the number of youthful offenders, abused, neglected, truant and dependent children, as well as children in need of special care and children in need of supervision, may be tracked with specificity through the youth court and adult justice system, and to utilize tracking forms for such purpose.  The disclosure prescribed in this subsection shall not require a court order and shall be made in sortable, electronic format where possible.  The PEER Committee may seek the assistance of the Administrative Office of Courts in seeking this information.  The PEER Committee shall not disclose the identities of any youth who have been adjudicated in the youth courts of the state and shall only use the disclosed information for the purpose of monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of programs established to assist adjudicated youth, and to ascertain the incidence of adjudicated youth who become adult offenders.

     (18)  In every case where an abuse or neglect allegation has been made, the confidentiality provisions of this section shall not apply to prohibit access to a child's records by any state regulatory agency, any state or local prosecutorial agency or law enforcement agency; however, no identifying information concerning the child in question may be released to the public by such agency except as otherwise provided herein.

     (19)  In every case of child abuse or neglect, if a child's physical condition is medically labeled as medically "serious" or "critical" or a child dies, the confidentiality provisions of this section shall not apply.  In such cases, the following information may be released by the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services:  the cause of the circumstances regarding the fatality or medically serious or critical physical condition; the age and gender of the child; information describing any previous reports of child abuse or neglect investigations that are pertinent to the child abuse or neglect that led to the fatality or medically serious or critical physical condition; the result of any such investigations; and the services provided by and actions of the state on behalf of the child that are pertinent to the child abuse or neglect that led to the fatality or medically serious or critical physical condition.

     (20)  Any member of a foster care review board designated by the Department of Child Protection Services shall have the right to inspect youth court records relating to the abuse, neglect or child in need of supervision cases assigned to such member for review.

     (21)  Information concerning an investigation into a report of child abuse or child neglect may be disclosed without further order of the youth court in any administrative or due process hearing held, pursuant to Section 43-21-257, by the Department of Child Protection Services for individuals whose names will be placed on the central registry as substantiated perpetrators.

     (22)  The Department of Child Protection Services may disclose records involving children to the following:

          (a)  A foster home, residential child-caring agency or child-placing agency to the extent necessary to provide such care and services to a child;

          (b)  An individual, agency or organization that provides services to a child or the child's family in furtherance of the child's permanency plan to the extent necessary in providing those services;

          (c)  Health and mental health care providers of a child to the extent necessary for the provider to properly treat and care for the child;

          (d)  An educational institution or educational services provider where the child is enrolled or where enrollment is anticipated to the extent necessary for the school to provide appropriate services to the child; * * * and

          (e)  Any state agency or board that administers student financial assistance programs.  However, any records request under this paragraph shall be initiated by the agency or board for the purpose determining the child's eligibility for student financial assistance, and any disclosure shall be limited to the verification of the child's age during the period of time in which the child was in the department's legal custody; and

          ( * * *ef)  Any other state agency if the disclosure is necessary to the department in fulfilling its statutory responsibilities in protecting the best interests of the child.

     SECTION 5.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2022.


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