FOSTER CARE FAMILY ACT.

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 423 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 25, 2015
AN ACT TO ALIGN STATE LAW WITH FEDERAL LAW BY PROVIDING FOR THE SUPPORT OF HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF A REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD FOR DECISIONS MADE BY A FOSTER PARENT OR A DESIGNATED OFFICIAL FOR A CHILD CARE INSTITUTION AND REVISING THE LAWS PERTAINING TO ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY REGARDING JUVENILE PLACEMENT UNDER THE JUVENILE CODE; TO PROVIDE LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS' TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO OBTAINING A DRIVERS LICENSE FOR FOSTER CHILDREN AND BY CLARIFYING THAT FOSTER PARENTS DO NOT VIOLATE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS BY ALLOWING FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR OWN INSURANCE COVERAGE TO OPERATE A VEHICLE OWNED BY THE FOSTER PARENT; AND TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO STUDY A MEDICAID WAIVER FOR CHILDREN WITH SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE.
Intro. by Barringer, Harrington, Tucker.

Status: Ch. SL 2015-135 (Senate Action) (Jul 2 2015)

SOG comments (4):

Identical bill

Bill as filed is identical to H 407 as filed 3/31/15.

Long title change

Committee substitute changed the long title. Original title was AN ACT TO ALIGN STATE LAW WITH FEDERAL LAW BY PROVIDING FOR THE SUPPORT OF HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF A REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD FOR DECISIONS MADE BY A FOSTER PARENT OR A DESIGNATED OFFICIAL FOR A CHILD CARE INSTITUTION AND REVISING TO THE JUVENILE CODE UNDER THE LAWS PERTAINING TO ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY REGARDING JUVENILE PLACEMENT; TO PROVIDE LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS; TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO OBTAINING A DRIVERS LICENSE FOR FOSTER CHILDREN BY DIRECTING THE NORTH CAROLINA REINSURANCE FACILITY TO MAKE AVAILABLE A NONOWNER AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICY FOR FOSTER CHILDREN, BY PROVIDING THAT MINORS AGED SIXTEEN AND OVER IN THE CUSTODY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ARE COMPETENT TO CONTRACT FOR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE, BY SPECIFYING PERSONS OTHER THAN THE FOSTER PARENT WHO MAY SIGN FOR A FOSTER CHILD TO OBTAIN A LEARNER'S PERMIT OR PROVISIONAL DRIVERS LICENSE, AND BY CLARIFYING THAT FOSTER PARENTS DO NOT VIOLATE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS BY ALLOWING FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR OWN INSURANCE COVERAGE TO OPERATE A VEHICLE OWNED BY THE FOSTER PARENT; AND TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO STUDY A MEDICAID WAIVER FOR CHILDREN WITH SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE.

Change Long Title

House committee substitute to edition two changed the long title.  The original title was A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO ALIGN STATE LAW WITH FEDERAL LAW BY PROVIDING FOR THE SUPPORT OF HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF A REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD FOR DECISIONS MADE BY A FOSTER PARENT OR A DESIGNATED OFFICIAL FOR A CHILD CARE INSTITUTION AND REVISING TO THE JUVENILE CODE UNDER THE LAWS PERTAINING TO ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY REGARDING JUVENILE PLACEMENT; TO PROVIDE LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS; TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO OBTAINING A DRIVERS LICENSE FOR FOSTER CHILDREN BY DIRECTING THE NORTH CAROLINA REINSURANCE FACILITY TO MAKE AVAILABLE A NONOWNER AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICY FOR FOSTER CHILDREN, BY PROVIDING THAT MINORS AGED SIXTEEN AND OVER IN THE CUSTODY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ARE COMPETENT TO CONTRACT FOR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE, BY SPECIFYING PERSONS OTHER THAN THE FOSTER PARENT WHO MAY SIGN FOR A FOSTER CHILD TO OBTAIN A LEARNER'S PERMIT OR PROVISIONAL DRIVERS LICENSE, AND BY CLARIFYING THAT FOSTER PARENTS DO NOT VIOLATE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS BY ALLOWING FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR OWN INSURANCE COVERAGE TO OPERATE A VEHICLE OWNED BY THE FOSTER PARENT; AND TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO STUDY A MEDICAID WAIVER FOR CHILDREN WITH SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE.

Long Title Change

House committee substitute to the 3rd edition makes changes to the long title. The original title was as follows:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO ALIGN STATE LAW WITH FEDERAL LAW BY PROVIDING FOR THE SUPPORT OF HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF A REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENTING STANDARD FOR DECISIONS MADE BY A FOSTER PARENT OR A DESIGNATED OFFICIAL FOR A CHILD CARE INSTITUTION AND REVISING THE LAWS PERTAINING TO ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY REGARDING JUVENILE PLACEMENT UNDER THE JUVENILE CODE; TO PROVIDE LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS; TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO OBTAINING A DRIVERS LICENSE FOR FOSTER CHILDREN BY PROVIDING THAT MINORS AGED SIXTEEN AND OVER IN THE CUSTODY OF THE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES ARE COMPETENT TO CONTRACT FOR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE, BY SPECIFYING PERSONS OTHER THAN THE FOSTER PARENT WHO MAY SIGN FOR A FOSTER CHILD TO OBTAIN A LEARNER'S PERMIT OR PROVISIONAL DRIVERS LICENSE, AND BY CLARIFYING THAT FOSTER PARENTS DO NOT VIOLATE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS BY ALLOWING FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR OWN INSURANCE COVERAGE TO OPERATE A VEHICLE OWNED BY THE FOSTER PARENT; AND TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO STUDY A MEDICAID WAIVER FOR CHILDREN WITH SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE.

Bill History:

S 423/S.L. 2015-135

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Jul 2 2015 - More information

    AN ACT TO ALIGN STATE LAW WITH FEDERAL LAW BY PROVIDING FOR THE SUPPORT OF HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF A REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD FOR DECISIONS MADE BY A FOSTER PARENT OR A DESIGNATED OFFICIAL FOR A CHILD CARE INSTITUTION AND REVISING THE LAWS PERTAINING TO ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY REGARDING JUVENILE PLACEMENT UNDER THE JUVENILE CODE; TO PROVIDE LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS' TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO OBTAINING A DRIVERS LICENSE FOR FOSTER CHILDREN AND BY CLARIFYING THAT FOSTER PARENTS DO NOT VIOLATE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS BY ALLOWING FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR OWN INSURANCE COVERAGE TO OPERATE A VEHICLE OWNED BY THE FOSTER PARENT; AND TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO STUDY A MEDICAID WAIVER FOR CHILDREN WITH SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE. Enacted July 2, 2015. Parts 2 and 4 are effective October 1, 2015. The remainder is effective July 2, 2015.


  • Summary date: Jun 16 2015 - More information

    House amendment makes the following changes to the 4th edition.

    Amends subsection (a) of GS 131D-10.2A, as enacted in this act, to clarify that the reasonable and prudent parent standard (Standard) in foster care is characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions reasonably intended to maintain the health, safety, and best interests of the child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child. Adds that a caregiver must apply the Standard when determining whether to allow a child in foster care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.

    Also amends subsection (d) to provide that a caregiver, including a foster parent, may be held liable for an act or omission of the child if the caregiver fails to act in accordance with the Standard. Previously declared that a caregiver was not to be held liable for an act or omission of the child if the caregiver or county department of social services is acting in accordance with the Standard. Requires that the liability of a county department of social services, or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), must be strictly adjudicated according to and in compliance with the terms of GS 153A-435, et seq., or GS 143-291, et seq., to the extent applicable.

    Amends subsection (f) to clarify that the caregiver, foster parent, or designated official at a child care institution is not liable for injuries to the child that occur as a result of acting in accordance with the Standard.

    Amends subsection (g) to declare that the immunity conferred in (f) also does not apply if it is determined that the child's injuries arose out of operation of a motor vehicle. Requires that the liability of a county department of social services or the DHHS must be strictly adjudicated according to and in compliance with the terms of GS 153A-435, et seq. or GS 143-291, et seq., to the extent applicable. Declares that nothing in subsection (g) of GS 131D-10.2A is intended to repeal or diminish the qualified immunity of public officials who are acting in the course and scope of their employment.

    Amends GS 7B-903.1(a), as enacted in this act, to clarify that except as prohibited by federal law, the director of a county department of social services has the authority to make decisions about a juvenile in the custody of that department (was, conferred authority on the director of the county department to the extent authorized by federal law).

    Makes a technical correction to Part V of this act to identify the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance, as the entity to design and draft a 1915(c) Medicaid waiver to serve children with Serious Emotional Disturbance in home and community-based settings.


  • Summary date: Jun 11 2015 - More information

    House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Amends the long title. 

    Amends proposed GS 131D-10.2A concerning the reasonable and prudent parenting standard, removing county departments of social services and the Department of Health and Human Services from provisions that they cannot be held liable for injuries to a child that occur if the caregiver or county department of social services is acting in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parenting standard.

    Amends proposed GS 7B-903.1 concerning juveniles in custody of departments of social services, to provide that a court can delegate any part of the specified decision-making authority to a juvenile's parent, foster parent, or another individual (previously, provided that a county department of social services had that authority to delegate). Adds new subsections to the statute providing that when a juvenile is removed from a home and placed in custody or placement responsibility of a county department of social services then the director cannot allow unsupervised visitation or return physical custody to a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker without a hearing and a finding that the juvenile will receive proper care and supervision in a safe home.  Also requires county departments of social services with custody or placement responsibility of juveniles to give notice to the guardian ad litem when they intend to change the juvenile's placement. Requires notice within 72 hours to the guardian ad litem in the event of emergency circumstances, unless local rules specify otherwise. 

    Amends proposed GS 20-11(i)(4), deleting language that provided that caseworkers assigned to work with minors can sign applications for limited learner's permits or provisional driver's licenses. 

    Makes clarifying changes and technical corrections throughout the bill. 


  • Summary date: Apr 23 2015 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 2nd edition.

    Amends the long title, replacing the word "parent" with "parenting" in the phrase, "reasonable and prudent parent standard."

    Amends GS 131D-10.2A, enacted in this act, to make an organizational change, dividing the content of subsection (f) of this section into subsections (f) and (g). Further amends subsection (f) by adding the provision that the burden of proof for a breach of the reasonable and prudent parenting standard would be by clear and convincing evidence. Also requires a county department of social services (was,the Department of Health and Human Services) to use the reasonable and prudent parenting standard.

    Recodifies GS 58-36-43, regarding personal liability insurance for foster parents, as GS 58-36-44.

    Amends GS 48A-4 and GS 20-11(i) to provide that the provisions regarding the competency of certain minors to contract for the purchase of a vehicle insurance policy and apply for a permit or license, apply to minors at least 16 years of age or older who are in the legal custody of the county department of social services (was, the legal custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services). Amends GS 20-11(i)(4) to specify that if the applicant for a drivers permit or license is a minor in the legal custody of the county department of social services, then an acceptable co-signer under this section is the director or his designee (was, a case manager) or other type of caseworker assigned to work with the minor.

    Amends GS 20-309(a2), enacted in this act, to allow a foster parent to meet the financial responsibility requirements for vehicle registration, even if a foster child residing in the household is excluded under the parent's policy, as long as the child is insured under some other policy of liability insurance or a named non-owner's liability policy. Directs the North Carolina Rate Bureau to establish, with the Commissioner's approval, a named driver exclusion endorsement for foster children. Makes a conforming change to GS 20-279.21(b) ("Motor vehicle liability policy" defined) to make it consistent with GS 20-309(a2), as amended.


  • Summary date: Apr 15 2015 - More information

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Changes the long title.

    Amends proposed GS 131D-10.2A, Reasonable and prudent parenting standard, making clarifying and conforming changes. Also expounds on who is included in the term "caregiver" for the purposes of the section. Provides that the provisions also apply to the Department of Health and Human Services when exercising custody of or placement authority over a child in foster care. 

    Amends proposed GS 7B-912, Juveniles 14 years of age and older; Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement, making a technical change.

    Amends proposed GS 58-36-43, Development of policy form or endorsement for personal liability insurance for foster parents, deleting (a)(2), which required the specified policy or endorsement to provide liability coverage for acts or omissions of a child in a licensed family foster home. Amends subsection (b) to provide that liability insurance is not required to cover acts or omissions that result from any action or inaction of gross negligence, willful and wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing that results in injury to the child (previously provided that liability insurance is not required to cover acts or omissions of a foster parent when such are not in compliance with written instructions received from the placing agency or Department of Health and Human Services). 

    Deletes proposed changes to GS 58-37-35(g). 

    Makes Part 2 of the act, concerning the reasonable and prudent parenting standard in foster care, effective October 1, 2015.


  • Summary date: Mar 25 2015 - More information

    Enacts new GS 131D-10.2A, Reasonable and prudent parenting standard (standard), providing that this standard is characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain a child's health, safety, and best interests while encouraging the child's emotional and developmental growth. Requires every child care institution to designate an on-site official to apply the standard. Caregivers are required to use this standard in determining participation in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities for foster children. Prohibits liability being placed on a caregiver or a county department of social services for an act or omission if actions and decisions were made in accordance with the standard. Provides that a caregiver exercising the standard has the authority to allow or prevent a child from participating in normal childhood activities, understood to include, but not limited to, extracurricular, cultural, enrichment, and social activities as well as overnight activities outside direct supervision of the caregiver for periods over 24 hours up to 72 hours. Provides protection from liability for caregivers in regards to injuries to the child occurring as a result of the authority of the above provisions unless the action or inaction of the caregiver that resulted in the injury is by willful or reckless misconduct. 

    Amends GS 7B-505(b) concerning juvenile placement while in nonsecure custody, providing that the court will order the Department of Social Services to make diligent efforts to notify relatives and custodial parents of the juvenile's siblings that the juvenile is in nonsecure custody, as well as notify them about any hearing schedule to occur pursuant to GS 7B-506, unless the court finds such action is contrary to the best interests of the child. 

    Amends GS 7B-800.1(a)(4) and GS 7B-901, both concerning hearings regarding the juvenile, requiring that required notifications or efforts to notify relatives of the juvenile be considered in regards to the hearings is also required for parents with custody of a sibling of the juvenile.

    Enacts new GS 7B-903.1, Juvenile placed in custody of a county department of social services, authorizing a county department of social services to make decisions generally made by a juvenile's custodian for a juvenile in its custody, including educational decisions and consenting to the sharing of the juvenile's information. Authorizes the delegation of this authority to a juvenile's parent, foster parent, or another individual. Further authorizes a county department of social services with custody or placement responsibility to make decisions concerning normal childhood activities. Allows the court to set alternative parameters for approval of such activities if such authorization is not in the juvenile's best interest. 

    Enacts new GS 7B-912, Juveniles 14 years of age and older; Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement, setting out the requirement that for juveniles in custody of county departments of social services who have reached the age of 14 at a permanency planning hearing, the court must inquire and make written findings in regards to (1) services provided to assist the juvenile in transitioning to adulthood, (2) any steps the county department of social services is taking to ensure the foster family or other placement provider is following the reasonable and prudent parent standard, and (3) whether the juvenile has regular opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities.

    Requires the court, at or before the last scheduled permanency hearing, but at least 90 days before a juvenile turns 18 years old, to inquire as to whether the juvenile has copies of the specified vital records and to determine which person or entity should assist in obtaining these documents before the age of 18. 

    Provides that the plan of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) is only available as a juvenile's permanent plan when the court finds that specified requirements are met, including, but not limited to, that the juvenile is 16 or 17 years old and that APPLA is the best permanency plan for the juvenile. If APPLA is the juvenile's permanent plan, then the court must question the juvenile and make written findings addressing the juvenile's desired permanency outcome.

    Enacts new GS 58-36-43, Development of policy form or endorsement for personal liability insurance for foster parents, providing that the NC Rate Bureau must develop an optional policy form or endorsement to be filed with the Commissioner of Insurance for approval no later than May 1, 2016. The same is to provide liability insurance for foster parents licensed under GS Chapter 131D, Article 1A, to provide foster care in a family foster home or therapeutic foster home. Sets out what coverage the policy form or endorsement must provide. Provides that such liability insurance is not required to cover acts or omissions of a foster parent when such are not in compliance with written instructions received from the placing agency or Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 

    Enacts new GS 58-37-35(g) concerning the North Carolina Motor Vehicle Reinsurance Facility (Facility) providing that with the approval of the Commissioner of Insurance, the Facility will establish a form of nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle liability insurance providing named nonowner coverage for a foster child in state custody. Sets out requirements that the policy must meet, including that the policy only applies to one child and that the policy is portable if the foster child's placement for foster care changes, as long as the placement is in North Carolina. Enacts new GS 48A-4, Certain minors competent to contract, providing that a minor who is 16 or older and who is in legal custody of DHHS is qualified and competent to contract for the purchase of an automobile insurance policy with the consent of the court with continuing jurisdiction over the minor's placement. Sets out certain limitations and requirements for the policy. Amends GS 20-11(i) concerning application for a limited learner's permit and provisional driver's license providing that for minors in the legal custody of the DHHS, a guardian ad litem or attorney advocate, a case manager or other type of case worker, or the court with continuing jurisdiction over the minor's placement can sign the application. Enacts new GS 20-309(a2) providing that the owner of a motor vehicle who is a foster parent providing foster care to a person between the ages of 16 and 21 does not violate the requirements of the article by allowing the motor vehicle to be operated by the person if the person is covered by a nonowner motor vehicle insurance policy issued by the Facility. Effective October 1, 2015.

    Directs DHHS to design and draft, but not submit, a 1915(c) Medicaid waiver to serve children with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) in home and community-based settings. Allows DHHS to submit drafts of the waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to solicit feedback but not submit the waiver for CMS approval until authorized by the General Assembly. Directs DHHS to report the waiver, other findings, and any other options or recommendations to best serve children with SED to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services by December 1, 2015. Sets out what the report should contain, including an in-depth analysis of the cost per slot. 


Printer-friendly: Click to view