HCS/SB 195 - This act modifies provisions regarding child abuse and neglect, foster care, information provided to parents during a Children's Division investigation, and delegating child custody through a power of attorney.
JOINT COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (21.771)
This act extends the expiration date of provisions relating to the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect from January 15, 2018, to January 15, 2023.
This provision is identical to a provision in the truly agreed to and finally passed version of SB 160 (2017) and SCS/HCS/HB 1158 (2017).
DEFINITIONS OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (210.110)
This act modifies the definition of child abuse and the definition of child neglect to include victims of sex trafficking or severe forms of trafficking. Additionally, the definition of "those responsible for the care, custody, and control of the child" is modified to add any person who takes control of the child by deception, force, or coercion.
This provision has an emergency clause.
This provision is identical to a provision in the truly agreed to and finally passed version of SB 160 (2017), SCS/HCS/HB 260 (2017), HB 1112 (2017), SCS/HCS/HB 1158 (2017).
RECORDS OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (210.152)
Under current law, the Children's Division is required to retain certain investigation reports and accompanying identifying information. In instances involving investigation reports where the Division has sufficient evidence to determine that a child was abused or neglected, but not sufficient evidence to identify a specific perpetrator or perpetrators, the Division shall retain all identifying information for use in subsequent investigations or family assessments of the same child, the child's family, or members of the child's household. If the Division made a finding of abuse or neglect against an unknown perpetrator prior to August 28, 2017, the Division shall remove the unknown perpetrator from the central registry, but shall retain and utilize all identifying information for use under this act. The Division shall notify the parents of the child that it has been unable to determine the identity of the perpetrator and that the Division shall retain, utilize, and disclose all information and findings as provided for in current law in family assessment and services cases.
Under current law, the Division may reopen a case for review upon the request of specified persons if new evidence is obtained that the Division's decision was based on fraud or misrepresentation of material facts and there is evidence that the Division's decision would have been different. This act removes those requirements. Instead, the Division may reopen a case for review if new, specific, and credible evidence is obtained.
This provision has an emergency clause.
This provision is identical to a provision in the truly agreed to and finally passed version of SB 160 (2017), SCS/HCS/HB 1158 (2017), and SCS/HCS/HB 260 (2017), and substantially similar to SB 535 (2017).
FOSTER CARE KINSHIP PLACEMENTS (210.565)
This act modifies foster child placement statutes to expand the definition of "relative" to include a person who is not related to the child, but has a close relationship with the child or child's family, as well as modifies the order or preference for placement to include those relatives unrelated by blood or affinity within the third degree.
This provision is identical to a provision in the truly agreed to and finally passed version of SB 160 (2017) and SCS/HCS/HB 260 (2017).
CUSTODY OF A CHILD THROUGH A POWER OF ATTORNEY (210.1109,475.600 475.602, 475.604)
These provisions of the act may be known as the "Supporting and Strengthening Families Act". The act provides that during a child protective investigation if the child is at risk for possible removal, the Children's Division shall provide information to the parent about community service programs that provide support services for families in crisis.
Additionally, a parent or legal custodian of a child may delegate to an attorney-in-fact, without compensation, any powers regarding the care and custody of a child for a period not to exceed one year, unless an exception applies as specified in the act. Such delegation does not change parental or legal rights established by a court order or deprive the parent or legal custodian of any rights regarding child custody, visitation, or support.
A parent who intentionally uses a power of attorney to permanently avoid legal responsibility for the care of the child is guilty of violating current law on transferring child custody without a court order. A child subject to the power of attorney shall not be considered placed in foster care and the parties shall not be subject to any licensing regulations for foster care or community care for children.
Community service programs for families in crisis must conduct a background check of an attorney-in-fact and any adult members of his or her household prior to the placement of the child.
An attorney-in-fact must make arrangements to ensure that the child attends classes at an appropriate school based upon the residency requirements of the school, and the child's school shall be notified of the existence of the power of attorney and be provided a copy of the power of attorney. The delegation of care under the act shall not modify a child's eligibility for the benefits, such as free or reduced lunch, that the child is receiving at the time of the execution of the power of attorney.
Finally, this act specifies the information to be included on a form delegating any powers regarding the care and custody of a child under this act.
These provisions are identical to provisions contained in the truly agreed to and finally passed version of SB 128 (2017) and SCS/HCB 1 (2017) and similar to SB 801 (2016), HB 1433 (2016), and HB 684 (2015).