HB 734 Modifies provisions of law relating to child protection

Current Bill Summary

- Prepared by Senate Research -


SCS/HCS/HB 734 - This act grants the Office of the Child Advocate the authority to conduct an independent performance review of any entity within a county that has experienced 3 or more review requests within a calendar year. These entities can include the Children's Division, or the Juvenile Office, or guardian ad litem. The Office may make any necessary inquiries and review any relevant information and records necessary to conduct the review and may make recommendations for changes in the entity's policies and procedures based upon the results of the review. No information or records protected by the attorney-client privilege shall be disclosed. The Office shall submit any findings and recommendations to the Children's Division and the Office of State Courts Administrator.

This act also re-labels "child assessment centers" as "child advocacy centers."

These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in SB 464 (2015), HCS/HB 1074 (2015), and HCS/SCS/SB 341 (2015), and similar to HB 1074 (2015).

This act provides that when the Children's Division receives a report concerning a juvenile with problem sexual behavior, the division shall immediately communicate the report to the appropriate local office, which will then use a family assessment and services approach to respond to the report. For the purposes of family assessments performed under this act, the alleged abuse does not have to be committed by a person responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child.

Nothing in this act prevents the local office from commencing an investigation if, during the family assessment and services approach, the local office determines that an investigation is warranted. Such an investigation may include requesting assistance from the appropriate law enforcement agency. A juvenile with problem sexual behavior is defined as any person, under fourteen years of age, who has allegedly committed sexual abuse against another child.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SS/SCS/HB 556 (2015), SCS/HB 556 (2015), SCS/HCS/HB 976 (2015), HCS/SCS/SB 341 (2015), and SCS/SB 341 (2015). These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in HB 713 (2015), HCS/HB 976 (2015), and SB 341 (2015).

Under current law, a person commits sexual trafficking of a child by knowingly recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a child to participate in a commercial sex act, a sexual performance, or the production of sexually explicit material. This act adds, as an element of sexual trafficking of a child, advertising the availability of a child to participate in a commercial sex act, a sexual performance, or the production of explicit sexual material.

These provisions are identical to provisions in CCS/SCS/HB 152 (2015), SCS/HB 152 (2015), SCS/HCS/HB 807 (2015), and similar to provisions in HCS/SB 340 (2015), HCS/HB 807 (2015), and HB 152 (2015).

SARAH HASKINS


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