Child services

The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee heard SB 447, sponsored by Rep. Frizzell, Rep McNamara, Rep. J. Taylor, on child services. Sen. Merritt, author, introduced the legislation, which is the Department of Child Services (DCS) bill for 2017.  It includes these provisions:

  • Allows the Department of Child Services (department) to share costs incurred making new hires in accordance with federal law with the department of workforce development.
  • Requires training for reporting and recognizing signs of child abuse and neglect for school employees and provides this training must count towards professional development.
  • Prohibits a school corporation form establishing a restricting and employee’s duty to report suspected abuse and neglect.
  • Adds a definition of “concurrent planning” for permanency to match existing DCS practices
  • Adds a definition of “nonwaivable offense” and makes numerous conforming changes throughout the juvenile code.
  • Allows the department to pay the criminal background check fee in certain adoption cases. Prohibits the department from charging a fee for state tax offsets.
  • Amends provisions concerning restricted driving licenses.
  • Provides that DCS may not grant a variance or waiver of a rule to an applicant for a: (1) child care institution; (2) foster family home; (3) group home; or (4) child placing agency; license if the applicant has been convicted of certain felonies.
  • Requires that a criminal history check be conducted on all members of the household of an applicant for a foster family home license. (Current law requires a criminal history check of household members 14 years of age or older.)
  • Amends provisions governing sharing of jurisdiction between: (1) a court which has jurisdiction over a child in a marriage dissolution or paternity action; and (2) another court hearing a delinquency or child in need of services proceeding regarding the child.
  • Clarifies a juvenile court may authorize drug and alcohol testing of a child under certain circumstances.
  • Prohibits a school corporation from establishing a policy restricting or delaying an employee’s duty to report suspected child abuse or neglect, and removes a requirement that the report must be oral.
  • Amends a requirement that the department must notify the United States Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program (Program) regarding a substantiated investigation of abuse or neglect of a child of an active duty military member, to provide the DCS must notify the Program upon request.
  • Provides that a child: (1) who lives in the same household as another child who is a child in need of services because the other child is a victim of specified offenses; and (2) regarding whom a caseworker makes specified determinations; is a child in need of services.
  • Provides that a child who: (1) is born with: (A) neonatal abstinence syndrome; or (B) a controlled substance, legend drug, or metabolite of a controlled substance or legend drug in the child’s body, including in the child’s blood, urine, umbilical cord tissue, or meconium; and (2) needs care, treatment, or rehabilitation the child is not receiving or unlikely to receive without court intervention; is a child in need of services, and establishes a rebuttable presumption that the conditions regarding the child’s care, treatment, or rehabilitation are met if evidence exists that the child’s mother used alcohol, a controlled substance, or a legend drug during pregnancy.
  • Provides that a child in need of services may be placed in a residence at which a person who has been convicted of battery (rather than battery only as a felony, as provided in current law) resides, if the person’s commission of the offense is not relevant to the person’s ability to care for the child and the placement is in the best interests of the child.
  • Makes optional (rather than as a required recommendation, as under current law) certain recommendations in a petition seeking participation of a parent, guardian, or custodian in a program of care, treatment, or rehabilitation of a child.
  • Permits out-of-home placement of a child in a facility located outside Indiana only if there is not an equivalent facility (rather than a comparable facility, under current law) located in Indiana.
  • Provides that a court may order a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child to participate in a mental health or addiction treatment program if the parent, guardian, or custodian will be participating in a program of care, treatment, or rehabilitation of the child.
  • Prohibits filing by a child placing agency of a petition for voluntary termination of parental rights unless the petition is in furtherance of an adoption or other permanency plan.
  • Requires a law enforcement agency to forward a missing child report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Provides immunity for a person who leaves an infant with a person who is an emergency medical services provider.
  • Uses defined term “non-waivable offense” throughout CHINS statutes.
  • Clarifies DCS’s duty to report a missing child to read “oral or written report,” where the previous version only used the word “report” and adds this must occur within 24 hours within receipt of the oral or written report.
  • Provides consent by DCS who is served with notice of adoption under Ind. Code § 31-19-9-8 is not subject to consent being irrevocably implied.

An amendment passed which includes a new definition of concurrent planning, aligns this bill with portions of SB 49 which was passed last week, and strikes obsolete provisions about revocations of driver’s licenses. The amended bill passed 9-0.

Read the bill at: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/senate/447