HB 2151 Modifies provisions relating to child protection

     Handler: Arthur

Current Bill Summary

- Prepared by Senate Research -


SS/SCS/HCS/HB 2151 - This act modifies several provisions relating to child protection, including: (1) missing children; (2) lead mitigation in school drinking water; (3) early learning programs; (4) administration of epinephrine auto syringes; (5) criminal background checks for persons having contact with students; (6) the transfer of authority of certain child care facility programs to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; (7) diligent searches; (8) Children's Division employees, programs, and residential congregate setting placements; (9) day and summer camps; (10) family child care homes; (11) neighborhood youth development programs; (12) the "Correctional Center Nursery Program"; and (13) identifying information of minors in court documents.

MISSING CHILDREN (Section 43.400)

Current law defines a "missing child" or "missing juvenile" when referencing certain missing persons statutes as including any person under the age of 17. This act modifies that definition to include person under the age of 18.

This provision is identical to provisions in HCS/SS#2/SB 823 and HB 1559 (2022).

LEAD MITIGATION IN SCHOOL DRINKING WATER (Section 160.077)

This act establishes the "Get the Lead Out of School Drinking Water Act". Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year and for each subsequent school year, each school shall provide drinking water with a lead concentration below five parts per billion (5 ppb). Before January 1, 2024, each school shall complete requirements outlined in the act including: conducting an inventory of all drinking water outlets and nonpotable water fixtures in each school building, removing certain drinking watercoolers that are not lead-free, installing filters to reduce lead in drinking water, and providing general information on the health effects of lead contamination to employees and parents of children at each school. Schools shall prioritize early childhood, kindergarten, and elementary school buildings in updating and filtering drinking water outlets for lead as stated in the act.

Within 60 days of installing filters, and annually thereafter, schools shall conduct testing for lead as stated in the act. Within 2 weeks after receiving test results, schools shall make all testing results and any remediation plans available on the school's website and shall submit the annual results to the Safe Drinking Water Commission.

The act outlines procedures to be undertaken if a sample draw shows a lead concentration of 5 ppb or greater. Affected schools with test results greater than 5 ppb shall contact parents and staff within 7 business days of receiving such result. If, in the 10 years prior to the 2023-24 school year, a fixture tested above 5 ppb for lead, such fixture does not need repeat testing but instead shall be remediated.

Subject to appropriation, the Department of Natural Resources, with support from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Health and Senior Services, is authorized to give schools additional funding for filtration, testing, and other remediation of drinking water systems. A school district may seek reimbursement from several federal sources for costs associated with expenses districts may incur for compliance with the act.

The Safe Drinking Water Commission and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall publish a report biennially based on the findings of the water testing conducted under the act.

No school building constructed after January 4, 2014, shall be required to install, maintain, or replace filters.

Finally, any school that tests and does not find a drinking water source with a lead concentration above 5 ppb shall be required to test such sources only every 5 years.

This provision is similar to SCS/SB 1075 (2022).

EARLY LEARNING PROGRAMS (Section 161.217)

Currently, a voluntary early learning quality assurance report program exists as a pilot program and expires on August 28, 2022. This act removes the designation of the program as a pilot program and removes the expiration date.

This provision is identical to HB 2365 (2022), provisions of HCS/SCS/SB 982 (2022), and SCS/HCS/HB 2376 (2022) and similar to SB 800 (2022), SB 846 (2022), and a provision in HCS/HB 2376 (2022).

ADMINISTRATION OF EPINEPHRINE AUTO SYRINGES (Section 167.630)

This act authorizes school contracted agents trained by a nurse to administer an epinephrine auto syringe on any student who is having a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. This act also provides that trained contracted agents shall be immune from civil liability in the administration of a prefilled auto syringe.

This provision is identical to a provision in the perfected SS#2/SB 823 (2022) and SB 1170 (2022).

CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR PERSONS HAVING CONTACT WITH STUDENTS (Section 171.097)

Under this act, school districts shall ensure that a state criminal history background check consisting of open records is conducted on any person who is 18 years old or older who is not counted in the school district's average daily attendance when such person requests enrollment in a course that will take place on school property at a time when K-12 students are present. Such background check shall be processed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the person seeking admission shall pay the fees for such background checks as provided in current law.

A person found to have been convicted of a crime or offense for which a certificate of license to teach would be revoked or not issued shall be prohibited from enrolling in the course.

This provision is identical to SB 691 (2022) and similar to SCS/SB 136 (2021), HB 1483 (2020), and HCS/HB 836 (2019).

TRANSFER OF AUTHORITY OF CERTAIN CHILD CARE FACILITY PROGRAMS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (Sections 208.044, 208.046, 208.053, 210.027, 210.102, 210.203, 210.211, 210.221, 210.223, 210.231, 210.241, 210.245, 210.251, 210.252, 210.254, 210.255, 210.256, 210.258, 210.275, 210.1007, and 210.1080 and the repeal of Section 210.199)

This act modifies current law relating to child care subsidies and child care facility licensing by transferring supervision and implementation authority from the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Senior Services to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order creating the Office of Childhood within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

These provisions are identical to the perfected SCS/SB 982 (2022) and provisions in the perfected SS#2/SB 823 (2022) and the perfected SS/SCS/SB 683 (2022).

DILIGENT SEARCHES (Sections 210.127, 210.305, and 210.565)

Under current law, the Children's Division shall conduct a diligent search for the biological parent or parents of a child in the custody of the Division if the location or identity of such parent or parents is unknown. This act requires such search to be active, thorough, and timely and if a child is removed from a home and placed in the custody of the Division, the search shall be conducted immediately following the removal of a child.

Additionally, current law requires the Division to immediately begin diligent efforts to locate and place a child with a suitable grandparent when an initial emergency placement of a child is deemed necessary. This act changes "diligent efforts" to "diligent search" and expands the search to include relatives other than grandparents. A diligent search for relatives shall occur within thirty days from the time the emergency placement is deemed necessary for the child. The Division shall continue to search for suitable relatives for the child's placement until a suitable relative is identified and located or the court excuses further search.

Finally, whenever a court determines that a foster home placement with a child's relative is appropriate, the Division shall complete a diligent search to locate and notify the child's grandparents, adult siblings, parents of siblings, and all other relatives of the child's possible placement.

These provisions are identical to provisions in the perfected SS/SCS/SB 683 (2022) and HB 1563 (2022).

CHILDREN'S DIVISION EMPLOYEES, PROGRAMS, AND RESIDENTIAL CONGREGATE SETTINGS (Sections 210.135, 210.140, 210.147, 210.715, 210.762, and 211.081)

This act modifies existing statutory immunity from liability for certain persons involved with reporting, investigating, or responding to allegations of child abuse or neglect to include employees of the Department of Social Services, as well as to include additional provisions of law under which such individuals' actions may receive immunity from liability.

This act modifies existing statutory exceptions against recognizing privileged communications in situations of child abuse or neglect to include cooperation with the Children's Division in its activities under additional provisions of law, including child abuse or neglect investigations, termination of parental rights, and adoption and foster care.

Under current law, all information provided at a family support team meeting relating to the removal of a child from the child's home is confidential. This act modifies this provision so that all information provided at the meeting is confidential.

Under this act, the Department of Social Services shall establish programs to implement the provisions of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act by providing support to children and their families to prevent foster care placements when doing so is safe for the children and by limiting the use of residential setting placements.

If a child is placed in a residential congregate setting, the Children's Division shall arrange for a qualified individual to complete an assessment of the child within 30 days to determine the child's placement options and short-term and long-term goals, as specified in the act. The Children's Division shall assemble a family support team for the child. A qualified individual working with the child to develop the child's assessment shall have unlimited access to the child's records, including medical, educational, mental health, and placement records. The assessment shall be provided to all parties in a juvenile proceeding and admitted into evidence, with redactions as needed.

Within 60 days of the start of a placement in a residential setting, the court shall assess the appropriateness of the child's placement and make specific findings of fact, as described in the act. The court shall reassess the appropriateness for the child to remain in a residential setting placement at every subsequent hearing, but not less than every 6 months, until the child is discharged to a less restrictive, non-residential setting.

This act modifies current law regarding family support team meetings to permit biological family members and relatives, as appropriate, as well as professionals who are a resource to the child's family, to participate in the family support team meetings. In the case of a child who is age 14 or older, the team shall include members selected by the child. The Children's Division may exclude an individual from a meeting or make alternative arrangements for an individual to express his or her views if the individual becomes disruptive.

These provisions are identical to provisions in the perfected SS#2/SB 823 (2022).

DAY AND SUMMER CAMPS (Sections 210.201 and 210.211)

This act modifies child care facility licensure statutes by adding "day camps", as defined in the act, to the list of facilities exempt from licensure. Under this act, every child care facility shall disclose the licensure status of the facility and parents or guardians utilizing an unlicensed child care facility shall sign a written notice acknowledging the unlicensed status of the facility.

These provisions are identical to provisions in the perfected SS/SCS/SB 683 (2022) and SCS/SB 916 (2022), substantially similar to HCS/HB 1550 (2022), and similar to HB 1191 (2021).

FAMILY CHILD CARE HOMES (Sections 210.211 and B)

This act excludes from the number of children counted toward the maximum number of children for which a family child care home is licensed up to two children who are five years or older and who are related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to, adopted by, or under court appointed guardianship or legal custody of a child care provider who is responsible for the daily operation of a licensed family child care home organized as a legal entity in Missouri. If more than one member of the legal entity is responsible for the daily operation of the family child care home, then the related children of only one such member shall be excluded. A family child care home caring for such children shall provide notice to parents or guardians as specified in the act. Additionally, nothing in the act shall prohibit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from enforcing existing licensing regulations, including supervision requirements and capacity limitations based on the amount of child care space available.

This provision has an emergency clause.

This provision is identical to provisions in the perfected SS/SCS/SB 683 (2022), substantially similar to SCS/SB 132 (2021) and provisions in SCS/HS/HB 432 (2021), and similar to SB 1026 (2020) and HB 1257 (2020).

NEIGHBORHOOD YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS (Section 210.278)

Under current law, neighborhood youth development programs that provide activities to children ages 6 to 17 are exempt from child care licensure. This act changes the age range to 5 to 18.

This provision is identical to SB 826 (2022) and provisions in the perfected SS/SCS/SB 683 (2022).

THE "CORRECTIONAL CENTER NURSERY PROGRAM" (Section 217.940, 217.941, 217.942, 217.943, 217.944, 217.945, 217.946, and 217.947)

This act establishes the "Correctional Center Nursery Program" which requires the Department of Corrections to establish a correctional center nursery in one or more of the correctional centers for women operated by the Department by July 1, 2025. The program allows eligible inmates and children born to them while in the custody of the Department to reside together in the institution for up to eighteen months post-delivery. Nothing in this act shall affect, modify, or interfere with the inmate's custodial rights to the child nor establish legal custody of the child with the Department.

An inmate is eligible for the program if:

• She delivers the child while in custody of the Department;

• She gives birth on or after the program is implemented;

• She has a presumptive release date of 18 months or less from the date she applies to participate in the program;

• She has no dangerous felony, sexual offense, or offenses against the family convictions; and

• She meets any other criteria established by the Department.

To participate in the program, the inmate must agree to abide by certain requirements set forth in the act. Any inmate's participation in the program can be terminated by the Department for reasons set forth in the act.

The Division of Child Support Enforcement shall collect support payments made under the assignment and such payments shall be deposited in the inmate's banking account. The Department may accept donations on behalf of the program, but no donations shall be made on behalf of one particular inmate or child. Any financial donations for a specific inmate shall be made through the inmate banking system.

This act also established the "Correctional Center Nursery Program Fund" which shall be used to maintain the program.

This act provides that neither the Department of Corrections, nor the program, shall be subject to regulation, licensing, or oversight by the Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Social Services, Children's Division, juvenile officer of any jurisdiction, or Office of Childhood unless the Department of Corrections agrees to voluntary regulation, licensing, or oversight.

Finally, the operation of a correctional center nursery program under this act and the presence of inmates' children in the program shall not be considered a dangerous condition that would result in the waiver of sovereign immunity.

These provisions are identical to provisions in the perfected SS/SCS/SB 683 (2022) and substantially similar to the perfected SS/SCS/SB 834 (2022).

IDENTIFYING INFORMATION OF MINORS IN COURT DOCUMENTS (Section 509.520)

This act prohibits pleadings, attachments, and exhibits filed with the court from including any personal identifying information of a minor and any next friend, except as provided in a confidential information filing sheet.

This provision is identical to a provision in the perfected SS#2/SB 823 (2022).

SARAH HASKINS


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