Missouri State Senate

House Committee Substitute

HCS/SCS/SB 873 - This act modifies procedures relating to children.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (21.771)

This act adds new duties to the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect regarding the role of judges, the Children's Division, the juvenile officer, the guardian ad litem and the foster parents.

This provision is identical to a provision in SCS/HB 1092 (2014) and HCS/SS/SB 869 (2014).

OFFICE OF THE CHILD ADVOCATE (37.710)

This act allows the Office of the Child Advocate within the Office of Administration to file any pleadings necessary in order to intervene on behalf of a child at the appropriate judicial level using the resources of the Office of the Attorney General.

This provision is identical to SB 973 (2014); and to a provision in SCS/HB 1092 (2014) and HCS/SS/SB 869 (2014).

REQUIREMENTS FOR STATE-FUNDED CHILD CARE PROVIDERS (210.027)

This act modifies provisions relating to rules and requirements by the Department of Social Services for child-care providers who receive state or federal funds for providing such services.

The new provisions establish increased child care provider training requirements as well as building and physical premises requirements. The Department is required to establish a publicly available website listing provider specific information about health and licensing requirements, inspections and history of violations and compliance actions taken. With assistance from state-wide stakeholders, including child care provider and parents, and statewide advocates, the Department is also required to provide information to establish a transparent system of quality indicators to provide parents with a way to differentiate between child care providers available in their community. A hotline shall also be established for parents to submit provider complaints. Nothing in the act shall be construed as authorizing a quality ratings system for child care services.

These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in SS/SCS/SB 720 (2014); SS/HB 1184 (2014); CCS/SCS/HCS/HB 1831 (2014); and HCS/SS/SB 869 (2014).

CHILD PLACEMENT, BACKGROUND CHECKS AND FINGERPRINTS (210.117; 210.487; 211.038)

Under current law, it is prohibited for a child who has been taken into the custody of the state or the jurisdiction of a juvenile court, to be reunited with a parent or be placed back in the home in which the parent or any person living in the home has been found guilty or plead guilty to certain sexual related offenses or offenses against the family when a child was the victim. This act adds pornography related offenses to the list of prohibited offenses. (Section 210.117.1 and 211.038.1)

This act provides that when the Children's Division is unable to obtain the necessary information for the purpose of child placement for children who have been taken into the custody of the state or the jurisdiction of a juvenile court, the Children's Division may obtain fingerprints for any person over the age of 17 in the household and for any child less than 17 years of age residing in the home who the Division has determined has been certified as an adult for the commission of a crime. The fingerprints shall be used by the Missouri State Highway Patrol to search the criminal history repository and shall be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for searching the federal criminal history files. The Highway Patrol shall assist the Division and provide the criminal fingerprint background information, upon request. (Section 210.117.4 and 211.038.4)

Subject to appropriation, the total cost of fingerprinting required by this act may be paid by the state, including reimbursement of persons incurring fingerprinting costs under this act. (Section 210.117.5 and 211.038.5)

Current law sets out specifically that three sets of fingerprints during a background check for child placement shall be obtained and that one of each set shall be sent to the Highway Patrol, the FBI and one to be retained by the Division. This act removes the specific requirement to obtain three sets of fingerprints. (Section 210.482.2 and 3 and 210.487.1)

CHILDREN'S DIVISION INVESTIGATIONS (210.145, 210.152, 210.183)

This act changes the time frames regarding a child abuse or neglect investigation by the Children's Division within the Department of Social Services. This act amends the time lines for the Division as follows:

-45 days, rather than the current 30 days, for updating the information and to complete the investigation except for good cause;

-If an investigation cannot be completed in 45 days, it shall be completed no later than 90 days after receipt of a report, except in cases involving sexual abuse, such cases shall be completed no later than 120 days after receipt of such report, or in cases involving a child fatality or near-fatality the investigation shall remain open until the Children's Division's investigation is completed surrounding such death or near-fatal injury. This act defines good cause to mean when certain relevant evidence outside of the Children's Division's control as specified in the act, such as medical or law enforcement tests, have not been completed or there is a pending criminal case and the issuing of a decision by the Division will adversely impact the progress of the criminal investigation.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SCS/SB 802 (2014) and SCS/HB 1092 (2014), and HCS/SS/SB 869 (2014).

GUARDIAN AD LITEM (210.160)

This act allows the judge on its own motion, or upon a motion of a party, to appoint a guardian ad litem to appear for and represent an abused or neglected child involved in proceedings arising from judicial review of a Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.

This provision is identical to a provision in HCS/SS/SB 869 (2014).

EXEMPTION FOR HOW MANY RELATED CHILDREN A LICENSED IN-HOME CHILD CARE FACILITY MAY HAVE (210.211)

Under this act, any in-home licensed child care facility that is organized as a corporation, association, firm, partnership, limited liability, or any other type of business entity in this state shall qualify for the exemption for related children for children who are related to the member of such corporation or other such business entity who is responsible for the daily operation of the child care facility, and who meets the requirements of the child care provider.

All in-home child care facilities under this act shall disclose the licensure status of the facility to the parents or guardians of children for which the facility provides care. A parent or guardian shall sign a written notice indicating he or she is aware of the licensure status of the facility. The facility shall keep a copy of this signed written notice on file. All child care facilities shall provide the parent or guardian enrolling a child in the facility with a written explanation of the disciplinary philosophy and policies of the child care facility.

This provision is identical to CCS/SCS/HB 1831 (2014).

SAFE CARE PROVIDER REIMBURSEMENT (334.950)

The department of public safety shall establish rules and make payments to SAFE CARE providers, out of appropriations made for that purpose, who provide forensic examinations of persons under eighteen years of age who are alleged victims of physical abuse.

These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in SCS/SB 802 (2014); SCS/HB 1092 (2014); CCS/HCS/SCS/SB 852(2014); SS/SCS/HCS/HB 1231 (2014); SS/HB 1184 (2014).

ADRIANE CROUSE

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