HB 557
Establishes provisions relating to the protection of children
LR Number:
Last Action:
7/14/2021 - Signed by Governor
Journal Page:
SS HCS HBs 557 & 560
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
Emergency clause
House Handler:

Current Bill Summary

SS/HCS/HBs 557 & 560 - Under this act, the Children's Division, law enforcement, or the prosecuting or circuit attorney may petition the court, as described in the act, for an order directing an exempt-from-licensure residential care facility that is subject to an investigation of child abuse or neglect to present the child or other children at the facility at a designated time and place for an assessment of the child's health, safety, and well-being. The petition and order may be made on an ex parte basis to protect the child and relevant evidence. The court shall expedite all proceedings under this act. Any person who knowingly violates these provisions shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

Under this act, officers, managers, contractors, volunteers with access to children, employees, and other support staff of licensed residential care facilities and licensed child placing agencies, as well as owners of such facilities and agencies with access to the facilities and the children, shall submit fingerprints and other information to the Missouri State Highway Patrol for state and federal fingerprint-based background checks. This act establishes similar requirements for employees, owners, volunteers, staff, and persons over 18 years of age residing at license-exempt residential care facilities. Individuals who have committed specified offenses shall be ineligible for employment or presence at the facilities.

This act establishes the "Residential Care Facility Notification Act", which sets forth certain regulations for residential care facilities, including exempt-from-licensure facilities. All residential facilities shall allow parents or guardians unencumbered access to their children in the facility without requiring prior notification to the facility. A facility shall provide for adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and other care necessary for the child's physical, mental, or emotional health or development.

Facilities shall comply with all state and local fire, safety, health, and sanitation inspections.

Exempt-from-licensure facilities shall, upon request by the Department or a law enforcement officer, provide a full census and demographic information of children at the facility, including parental or other guardian contact information, and of adults working, residing, or having access to children at the facility.

The Department, the prosecuting or circuit attorney, or the Attorney General may seek injunctive relief to cease the operation of a facility and removal of the children for violations of this act, including an immediate health or safety concern for the children at the facility, as specified in the act. If the court refers the matter to a juvenile officer, the court may also enter an order placing a child in the emergency, temporary protective custody of the Children's Division for a period not to exceed 5 days until either the parent or legal guardian makes suitable arrangements for the child or the juvenile court assumes jurisdiction of the child for further proceedings.

Nothing in this act shall give any governmental agency jurisdiction or authority to regulate or attempt to regulate, control, or influence the form, manner, or content of the religious curriculum, program, or ministry of a school or facility sponsored by a church or religious organization.

A person shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor if such person knowingly fails to complete a criminal background check as required under this act.

This act has an emergency clause.