SCS/HB 1149 - This act modifies provisions relating to youth in the custody of the Division of Youth Services.
This act creates a definition of youth for purposes of Chapter 219, Youth Services. A youth is defined as a person under 21 years of age committed to the custody of the Division of Youth Services. The term "youth" replaces references to "child" in a provision detailing when the Division of Youth Services may maintain custody of a youth after he or she turns 18.
Under current law, the juvenile court may object to a decision by the Division of Youth Services to release a youth under the age of 21 in its custody. The division director's response to the objection must be provided within five working days of the court's objection. This act specifies that the response must be made within five working days of the service of the court's objection.
Current law allows the division to authorize the commitment of children with mental, communicable, or infectious diseases for treatment and training when facilities for the treatment of such diseases are available at a facility. This act provides that such children may be committed when services for treatment of such diseases are available at the facility and removes the reference to the training of such children.
Under current law, the division must investigate a child who has been committed to facilitate the placement of the child in the most appropriate program and no child committed for a status offense may be placed in either the W.E. Sears Youth Center at Poplar Bluff or the Hogan Street Regional Youth Center at St. Louis. This act provides that the investigation of the child is to facilitate the placement and treatment of the child, removes the references to the specific facilities, and provides that children committed for status offenses may not be placed in a residential facility designated as a maximum security facility.
This act modifies the nonexhaustive list of programs and facilities the division may operate.
This act repeals a provision of current law allowing the division to offer on-the-job vocational training that does not exceed eight hours per day and a provision specifying that the state park board may pay up to $15 a month to children working in a state park or park work camp. Additionally, provisions specifying how that money is paid to the child are repealed. This act provides that the state park board may pay wages to youth out of its appropriations. Also, this act specifies that the division may provide for the payment of reasonable wages to the youth and that such wages are the youth's property. The division, however, may restrict access to the funds as deemed appropriate to the youth's interests and the security of the division's facilities.
Current law requires the division to establish a community work program whereby children who are 14 to 18 years old may work on projects developed by various executive branch departments. This act provides that the division may establish such a program and youth under the age of 21 may participate. This act also increases the number of youth who may participate in such a work project to 13 from 11. In addition, this act modifies requirements for staff supervising the work projects.
This act creates a special class of trust funds to be known as "DYS Trust Funds". The funds must be established at each Division of Youth Services facility where youth are being held and are to be used to hold the wages and other money of any youth at the facility. Any earnings attributable to a particular youth's account is to be credited to that youth's trust fund. In addition, this act creates a special trust fund to be known as the "DYS Child Benefits Fund" within the state treasury. Payments from the Social Security Administration to a child in the custody of the division are to be paid to the DYS Child Benefits Fund. This act specifies the division's and treasurer's duties with regard to the trust funds. The division is granted rulemaking authority to establish procedures for the use and accounting of the money.
Each youth must receive an annual statement of every transaction involving funds that have been deposited with the division on the youth's behalf.
This act specifies how money in a youth's trust fund is to be disbursed if the youth dies and requires the division to use proper diligence to promptly disburse money in a youth's account upon release from the division's custody. If the money remains in the trust after the division has used reasonable methods to disburse the money, the money must be reported pursuant to laws governing the uniform disposition of unclaimed property.