Department of Child Services

The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee heard Rep. Mahan’s HB 1434 making various juvenile law changes which affect the Department of Child Services and juvenile courts.  Representative Mahan introduced the bill, which has five portions:

  • requires the Indiana State Police to conduct a record check of local records in addition to the national background check, for service providers;
  • requires national background checks for collaborative care host homes;
  • repeals the requirement that DCS family case managers be licensed social workers;
  • repeals the requirement that the Regional Services Council prepare a local plan for the provision of child protection services;
  • makes numerous amendments to the juvenile code to permit Indiana to comply with the recently passed federal, “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.” These changes include
    • defines a “Reasonable and prudent parent standard” for determining when a child in foster care can participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities;
    • eliminates the term independent living and defining “successful adulthood” for the same purpose;
    • directs DCS to provide the child’s medical passport to the child or child’s legal guardian at the close of a CHINS or collaborative care case in certain instances;
    • requires an older youth who received foster care to be eligible for placement in collaborative care on the day the child becomes 18 years old, not during the month the child becomes 18 years old;
    • permits foster children at least 14 years to select a ‘child representative’ to participate in development of case and transition plans;
    • adds to the requirements to the use of permanency option of “another planned permanent living arrangement” to require in both CHINS and Delinquency cases, documentation or testimony from DCS (or testimony only in the case of probation), of the intensive, ongoing and unsuccessful efforts made to return the child to the home, secure a fit and willing relative, or find adoptive families for the child. In addition, the court must make a judicial determination explaining why another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child and provide compelling reasons why it continues to not be in the best interests of the child to return home or use another permanency option. Testimony must be provided to indicate steps DCS or probation is taking to ensure the child’s foster family or placement is taking to follow the reasonable and prudent parent standard and provide the child has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities.

A technical amendment was adopted by the Committee. The amended bill passed12-0.

Read the bill at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/house/1434.