The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee heard SB 423 sponsored by Rep. Steuerwald and Rep. Cook creating a court appointed youth advocate pilot program. This bill provides that the Office of Judicial Administration may establish a youth advocate pilot program (pilot program) until July 1, 2021, for purposes of providing early intervention and mentoring services for children who are adjudicated delinquent. The bill also provides:
- a youth advocate appointed under the pilot program is a volunteer, appointed by a court to provide services for a child who is adjudicated delinquent, and an officer of the court during the youth advocate’s appointment.
- a youth advocate serves under the pilot program until the child for whom the youth advocateis appointed becomes 18 years of age or the court discharges the youth advocate; but may continue to serve in a volunteer capacity as a resource for the child thereafter.
- except for gross misconduct, a youth advocate is immune from civil liability resulting from the youth advocate’s performance of the youth advocate’s duties in good faith and within the scope of the youth advocate’s duties.
- information provided to a youth advocate by a child for whom the youth advocate is appointed is confidential, may be disclosed only to the court that appointed the youth advocate or to the child’s parent or guardian, and may not be used against the child in a criminal or civil proceeding, except as required to report child abuse or neglect.
- pilot program is funded through a combination of state, county, local, and private funding, with the state providing a dollar-for-dollar match of county and local funding, up to a maximum of $25,000 for any one county in any one state fiscal year.
- funds revert upon the expiration of the pilot program.
No testimony was heard. The bill passed 12-0.
Read the bill: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/senate/423.