HCS/SB 693 - This act modifies provisions relating to foster care and adoption promotion.
FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION PARENTS RECRUITMENT FUND
This act establishes a Foster Care and Adoptive Parents Recruitment and Retention Fund. The fund shall consist of all gifts, donations, transfers, and moneys appropriated by the General Assembly. The fund shall be administered by the Department of Social Services.
Moneys in the fund shall be used for the department, either in-house or through private partnerships, to promote foster care and adoption promotion recruitment programs.
This act also creates a check-off on the Missouri individual and corporate income tax forms for contributions to the fund.
The provisions of this act will automatically sunset six years from the effective date of the act. Section 143.1015, 453.600
These provisions are identical to your SCS/SB 536 (2009).
PREFERRED PERSON FOSTER HOME PLACEMENT
This act requires the Children's Division to give foster home placement to preferred persons in addition to relatives of the child. "Preferred person" is defined as a godparent, trusted adult, foster parent with a shared religious background, or foster parent who is currently licensed and capable of accepting placement. The act lists the order or preference for placement of a child under foster home placement: (1) Grandparents and relatives, (2) a trusted adult, (3) foster parent with same religious background as the child, and (4) any foster parent who is currently licensed and capable of accepting placement of the child. Section 210.565
This act requires the Children's Division to make reasonable efforts to place siblings in the same foster care, kinship, guardianship, or adoptive placement unless doing so would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings. If such placement is not possible, reasonable efforts shall be made for frequent visitation in such settings. SECTION 210.566
MISSOURI STATE FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION BOARD
This act establishes the Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board to provide consultation and assistance to the Department of Social Services. The Board shall also draft and provide independent review of the Children's Division policies and procedures related to the provision of foster care and adoption in Missouri. Additionally, the board shall determine the nature and content of in-service training which shall be provided to foster and adoptive parents. The additional duties of the board are prescribed in the act.
The board shall be comprised of foster and adoptive parents from each of the seven children's division areas. Area members shall be appointed or elected by the Governor from recommendations by regional foster care and adoption boards, or other similar entities. Statewide foster care and adoption association representatives shall be voting members of the board as approved by the board. SECTION 210.617
OFFICE OF THE CHILD ADVOCATE
This act modifies the duties and authority of the Office of the Child Advocate. The court shall join the Office as a party to all proceedings in cases where a child is in protective custody of the state and the Office has made an appearance in court on the case. In such instances, the Office shall prepare independent recommendations to the court after consultation with the juvenile office, guardians ad litem and the court appointed special advocate if one has been appointed. In addition, the Office shall, at its discretion, seek to be joined as a party to the case of a child or children in the state's custody, when the Office feels that such action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, welfare, or civil rights of the child. Such requests shall be honored by the court.
The Office shall also have the authority to file pleadings necessary to intervene on behalf of a child at the appropriate judicial level utilizing the resources of the Attorney General's Office. The Office shall also have authority to convene meetings with the Departments of Social Services, Mental Health, the Juvenile Court and juvenile officers and to make recommendations to such state agencies for necessary action.
Current law provides that for information obtained directly by the Office, the Office shall be subject to the same disclosure and confidentiality requirements that apply to the Children's Division regarding information obtained during a child abuse and neglect investigation resulting in an unsubstantiated report. This act modifies current law to provide that any findings and recommendations resulting from such investigation may be released upon request with names and other such identifying information redacted. SECTION 37.710, 37.715
FOSTER PARENT CHOICE OF EDUCATION
The Child Advocate, the Children's Division, juvenile authorities, and the family courts shall not discriminate against the educational choices of a foster parent or parents so long as the foster child's education is in compliance with current law regarding compulsory school attendance. The foster parent, custodial parent, guardian, or any person who is parenting the child shall have sole discretion on how the child is educated, whether it is in public school, home school, private school, or parochial school. SECTION 1