SOCIAL SERVICES REFORM. (NEW)

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
House Bill 935 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 16, 2019
AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT VARIOUS PROVISIONS RELATED TO SOCIAL SERVICES REFORM AND TO REPEAL CERTAIN CHANGES TO THE ADOPTION LAWS.
Intro. by Blackwell, Stevens, White, Dobson.

Status: Ref To Com On Rules and Operations of the Senate (Senate action) (Sep 18 2019)

SOG comments (2):

Long title change

House committee substitute to the 1st edition changed the long title.  Original title was AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT VARIOUS PROVISIONS RELATED TO SOCIAL SERVICES REFORM TO INCLUDE: REPURPOSING AND REDEPLOYING POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO SUPPORT REGIONALIZATION AND DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT TO ESTABLISH SEVEN REGIONS FOR REGIONAL SUPERVISION OF CHILD WELFARE AND SOCIAL SERVICES; APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR STAFF POSITIONS IN SUPPORT OF REGIONALIZATION; REQUIRING CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR EMPLOYEES OF LICENSED CHILD CARE INSTITUTIONS; ALLOWING YOUTH EXITING FOSTER CARE TO A PERMANENT HOME THROUGH THE GUARDIANSHIP ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO ACCESS FUNDS UNDER THE NORTH CAROLINA CHILD WELFARE POSTSECONDARY SUPPORT PROGRAM (NC REACH); REQUIRING TRAINING FOR NEW AND EXPERIENCED COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES BOARD MEMBERS; REQUIRING THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE COURTS TO CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY AND COST STUDY OF A CHILD SUPPORT TRIBUNAL; AND PROVIDING A FRAMEWORK FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST CASES.

Long title change

House amendment to the 3rd edition changed the long title.  Original title was AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT VARIOUS PROVISIONS RELATED TO SOCIAL SERVICES REFORM.

Bill History:

H 935

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Sep 16 2019 - More information

    House amendments make the following changes to the 3rd edition.

    Amendment #1 repeals Sections 11 and 12 of SL 2019-172, which enacted GS 7B-3807 and GS 7B-3808 to adopt and provide guidance for action under the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children regulation. Sections 11 and 12 of SL 2019-172 were to become effective on October 1, 2019. Makes conforming changes to the act's long title.

    Amendment #2 changes the statutory numbering of proposed GS 143B-968, National criminal record checks for child care institutions, to instead enact GS 143B-972. Makes conforming changes to statutory references in proposed GS 108A-133. 


  • Summary date: Aug 20 2019 - More information

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

    Section 1

    Changes the date by which the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) must establish seven regions for regional supervision of child welfare and social services and begin providing oversight and support to the regions, as required by SL 2017-41 (Rylan's Law), to March 1, 2020 (was, March 1, 2022). Clarifies that DHHS is to move forward with repurposing and redeploying staff pursuant to existing authority.

    Provides that the provisions of Section 1 prevail in the event they conflict with GS 143C-5-4, concerning the procedure for the enactment of the budget. Provides that the appropriations provisions remain in effect until the Current Operations Appropriations Act for the applicable fiscal year becomes law, at which time the Director of the Budget must adjust allotments to give effect to that act from July 1 of the fiscal year. 

    Makes all provisions of Section 1 effective July 1, 2019 (previously, the provisions were effective on the date the act becomes law, with the appropriations provision effective July 1, 2019).

    Section 2

    Makes organizational and clarifying changes to proposed GS 108A-133 and changes the statute's title. Additionally, makes the following changes. Changes the scope and requirements of the act to now require criminal history checks for all applicants for employment and all individuals wishing to volunteer in a child care institution, rather than limiting the requirement to employment positions which do not require the applicant to have an occupational license. Maintains that the requirement applies to both child care institutions and contract agencies of child care institutions. Modifies the criminal history check process, now requiring the child care institutions and contract agencies to request DPS to conduct the request under GS 143B-968, as enacted, rather than GS 143B-939 only (previously, alternatively permitted a check by a private entity). Further changes the process, now providing for DHHS, Criminal Records Check Unit, rather than the child care institutions or contract agencies, to consider the seven specified factors in determining whether the individual should be recommended for hire or to volunteer, and to notify the child care institution or contract agency of whether the applicant should be hired or whether the individual should be allowed to volunteer. Maintains the requirements set forth for the Criminal Records Check Unit regarding notification of results and confidentiality. Prohibits DHHS from providing the record check results to the child care institution or contract agency. Makes a correction to the definition set forth for relevant offense to specify that the term covers convictions or indictments bearing upon the individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children (was, of aged or disabled persons). Adds to the offense established, now making it a Class A1 misdemeanor for any applicant or individual wishing to volunteer to willfully furnish, supply, or otherwise give false information on an employment application that is the basis for a criminal history record check under the statute (previously, limited the scope to applicants for employment). Eliminates the liability provisions and instead provides the following. Grants limited civil liability to the Criminal Records Check Unit, child care institutions, contract agencies, and their officers or employees acting in good faith and in compliance with the statute who deny employment to an applicant or the opportunity to volunteer based on information provided in the criminal history record check. Additionally, provides civil immunity for child care institutions and contract agencies, and their officers and employees, who fail to check an applicant, employee, or volunteer's criminal history if the record check was requested and received in compliance with the statute. Makes further technical and conforming changes.

    Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 143B-939, concerning DPS authority to provide certain entities with criminal history checks. Instead, enacts GS 143B-968 to require DPS to provide DHHS, Criminal Records Check Unit, the criminal history of any current or prospective employee or volunteer in a child care institution, including those working with a contract agency. Sets forth the requirements and procedure for conducting the checks. Deems all information received by the Criminal Records Check Unit confidential and kept pursuant to GS 108A-133. Authorizes DPS to charge a fee to conduct the checks. Applies to all employees, volunteers, and applicants on or after December 1, 2020.

    Eliminates proposed GS 108A-134, which required child care institutions to condition offers of employment for positions that do not require the applicant to have an occupational license on the consent to a check of the NC Sex Offender Registry and the NC Responsible Individuals List, or similar registries of another state, if applicable. 

    Section 4

    Further clarifies that the proposed changes to GS 108A-9 require new county boards of social services members to attend education and training sessions during the first year they serve on the board (was, at least twice during the first year of service). Previously, the act made the requirement applicable to any current county board member that has not met the training requirements, as enacted. Instead, makes the requirements effective October 1, 2020 (was, effective on the date the act becomes law), and requires that by October 1, 2022, all current county board of social services members to have participated in the education and training sessions. Adds a new provision requiring the education and training session to be available statewide by March 1, 2020. Makes a conforming deletion to no longer include a provision encouraging experienced county board of social services members to attend the education training sessions.

    Section 5

    Modifies the reporting requirements set forth for the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to study the feasibility and cost of a proposed child support tribunal, now requiring AOC to submit its report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services by March 1, 2020 (was, to the General Assembly by April 1, 2020).

    Section 6

    Amends proposed GS 108A-15.16, regarding conflicts of interest in the provision of social services by county departments of social services (county departments). Adds to the definition of conflict of interest to include when a county department is not able to manage the diverse interests of two individuals that the department owes a duty to service, or because of a preexisting relationship between an individual and a county that results in a county department's inability to objectively fulfill its statutory responsibilities (previously, limited to when the provision of social services and duty owed by a county department conflicts with services and the duty owed by another county department).

    Section 7

    Further amends Section 1.2 of SL 2017-41, regarding the Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group (SSWG), to add a new provision to require any vacancy on the SSWG to be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

    Adds a new provision to repeal Section 1 of HB 291 of the 2019 Regular Session, which also amends SL 2017-41, if that act becomes law.

    Section 8

    Adds a new directive requiring DHHS to conduct a feasibility study and make recommendations on transferring adult guardianship cases from DHHS to counties. Requires DHHS to submit to the specified NCGA committee its findings and recommendations, including necessary support to counties that would be needed, by March 1, 2020.

    Section 9

    Makes conforming changes.


  • Summary date: Jul 11 2019 - More information

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

    Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 122C-80, which required licensed child care institutions to condition employment on consent to a State and national criminal history check of the applicant, and to condition offers of employment for positions which do not require an occupational license on a check of the NC Sex Offender Registry (Registry), the NC Responsible Individuals List (List), and if applicable, check of the abuse and neglect registry of any other state where the applicant has resided in the preceding five years. Eliminates related proposed changes to GS 131D-10.3A, GS 131D-10.6, and GS 143B-932.

    Instead, enacts GS 108A-133 to require criminal history record checks for certain applicants for employment at a child care institution. Requires child care institutions and child care contract agencies, as those terms are defined by the federal Social Security Act, to condition offers of employment for positions which do not require an occupational license to be conditioned on consent to a criminal history check of the applicant. Sets forth criminal history check procedures, allowing the child care institution or contract agency to request either the Department of Public Safety (DPS) or a private entity, as defined, to conduct the check. Prohibits the results from being shared with the child care institution or contract agency beyond notification that the information received may affect the employability of the applicant. Requires child care institutions and contract agencies to make verification of the check available upon request. Deems all criminal history information received by the child care institution and contract agency confidential, and restricts disclosure to the applicant only. Enumerates seven factors that must be considered in determining whether to hire the applicant in the event the criminal history record check reveals one or more convictions of a relevant offense, defined to include any conviction or pending indictment that bears upon an individual's fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of aged or disabled persons. Prohibits a conviction of a relevant offense alone from barring employment. Allows child care institutions and contract agencies to share disqualifying information, but prohibits providing a copy of the criminal history check to the applicant. Provides limited immunity for a child care institution or its officer or employee from failure to employ an individual on the basis of information provided in the criminal history check if the institution or its officer or employee complied with the statute in good faith. Makes its a Class A1 misdemeanor for any applicant to willfully give false information on an employment application that is the basis for a criminal history check under the statute. Allows for conditional employment pending the results of the criminal history check so long as the applicant has consented to the check or completed fingerprint cards and the child care institution submits the record request within five days after the individual begins conditional employment. Establishes civil immunity for an entity and its officers and employees for failure to check an employee's history of criminal offenses if the record check is requested and received in compliance with the statute. 

    Makes conforming changes to GS 143B-939, concerning DPS authority to providing certain entities with criminal history checks.

    Enacts GS 108A-134 to require child care institutions to condition offers of employment for positions that do not require the applicant to have an occupational license on the consent to a check of the NC Sex Offender Registry and the NC Responsible Individuals List, or similar registries of another state, if applicable. 

    Makes conforming changes to GS 131D-10.6, regarding powers and duties of the Department of Health and Human Services, to require the Department to make licensing actions in accordance with new GS 108A-133.

    Defines the applicability of the proposed changes to GS 108A-9, which requires county boards of social services members to attend education training sessions for new members at least twice during the first year of service, making the requirement applicable to any current county board member that has not met the training requirements, as enacted.

    Modifies the directive requiring the Division of Social Services (Division) to collaborate with key stakeholders to create formal education and training programs for new and experienced county board members, to now limit the programs' focus to new county board members only. Now requires the education training sessions to include education regarding potential liabilities of the county boards, and encourages experienced members to attend these sessions. 

    Adds the following new provisions.

    Amends Section 1.1 of SL 2017-41, to require the Department of Health and Human Services's plan for establishing regional offices charged with supervision of administration of social services at the local level (required to be submitted to the specified NCGA committee by November 15, 2018, after consideration of recommendations of the Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group [SSWG]) to provide for the system of regional supervision to be operational no later than March 1, 2022 (was, March 1, 2020). 

    Amends Section 1.2 of SL 2017-41, continuing the work of the Social Services Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group (SSWG) convened by UNC School of Government in October of 2017 at the direction of Section 1.2. Deems the SSWG membership to consist of the currently constituted members as of December 1, 2018, and removes the requirement that six members appointed by the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tempore (among whom co-chairs must be designated) must be members of the respective chamber. Directs the SSWG to continue to address regional supervision and interagency collaboration and regionalization. Requires the SSWG to convene no later than October 4, 2019, and continue developing the recommendations previously specified for Stage One. Adds a Stage Three to the duties of the SSWG, upon completion of Stages One and Two: (1) to revise its Stage One recommendations after reviewing the recommendations from the Center for the Support of Families and DHHS regarding regional supervision; (2) to provide more detailed recommendations regarding seven specified issues, including the role of local elected officials and social services governing boards in social services oversight, determining residency for social services programs and services, and confidentiality of social services records; and (3) to study the appointment and funding of publicly funded guardians, including a description and evaluation of the various types of appointments and recommendation for their management. Directs the SSWG to submit a Stage Three preliminary report to the specified committee no later than October 15, 2020, and a Stage Three final report of its recommendations no later than February 1, 2021. Authorizes the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services to terminate the SSWG after receipt of the preliminary report if it concludes the SSWG is not making sufficient progress. Otherwise, terminates the SSWG upon submission of the final report.


  • Summary date: Apr 22 2019 - More information

    Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to establish seven regions for regional supervision of child welfare and social services in accordance with the plan submitted by the Social Service Regional Supervision and Collaboration Working Group (SSWG) as required by SL 2017-41. Requires establishment of the regions and the provision of oversight and support to the regions through home-based staff and the central office team of DHHS on March 1, 2022. Directs DHHS to move forward with the repurposing and redeployment of staff. Directs DHHS to begin procurement of physical office spaces for the regions beginning in March 2021. Requires prioritization of staff to improve the child welfare system. Requires that DHHS move toward full implementation of a regional model with offices by March 1, 2022. 

    Appropriates $914,790 recurring from the General Fund to DHHS for the 2019-201 fiscal biennium to support 11 new staff positions pursuant to the SSWG's plan. Effective July 1, 2019.

    Amends GS 122-80 to require licensed child care institutions to condition employment on consent to a State and national criminal history check of the applicant. Further, requires licensed child care institutions to condition offers of employment for positions which do not require an occupational license on a check of the NC Sex Offender Registry (Registry) and consent to check the NC Responsible Individuals List (List), and if applicable, consent to also check the abuse and neglect registry of any other state where the applicant has resided in the preceding five years. Makes clarifying changes.

    Amends GS 131D-10.3A to require child care institutions to request a criminal history and conduct a check of the Registry and List on any individual prior to employment. Requires child care institutions to share criminal history check results with DHHS, and otherwise deems criminal history check results confidential. Prohibits employment by a child care institution of an individual who has a criminal history, as defined in specified existing state law. Authorizes DHHS to take action against a child care institution's license for employing an individual with a criminal history. Amends GS 131D-10.6 to expand DHHS's powers and duties concerning disciplinary action against licensees. Makes conforming changes to GS 143B-932 to authorize and provide for criminal history checks of prospective employees of licensed child care institutions. Specifies that information received by DHHS is confidential and not public record.

    Amends SL 2017-57 to allow youth exiting foster care to a permanent home through the Guardianship Assistance Program to use funds appropriated to DHHS for child welfare postsecondary support program for educational needs (was, limited to foster youth aging out of the foster care system or special needs children adopted from foster care after age 12).

    Adds to the responsibilities of county boards of social service set forth in GS 108A-9 to require county boards to attend education training sessions provided for new or experienced board members at least biannually. 

    Directs the Division of Social Services (Division) to collaborate with key stakeholders to create a formal education and training programs for new and experienced county boards.

    Directs the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to conduct a feasibility and cost study, as specified, of a proposed child support tribunal using quasi-judicial procedures to hear child support matters. Requires AOC to submit its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by April 1, 2020. 

    Enacts GS 108A-15.16 to require county department of social service to resolve conflicts of interest cases consistent with applicable law and DHHS policies. Requires policies to address county financial and practice responsibilities. Requires counties to notify DHHS upon identifying a conflict of interest. Grants DHHS the authority to making final determinations regarding conflict of interest assignments when disputes arise, with regional staff having initial authority when a dispute arises between county departments and central staff having initial authority when disputes arise between regions. Directs the Social Services Commission (Commission) to adopt rules regarding conflicts of interest management. Defines conflict of interest as occurring when the provision of social services and duty owed by a county department of social services conflicts with services and the duty owed by another county department of social services. 

    Directs the Commission report to the specified NCGA committee upon the adoption of rules under GS 108A-15.16.


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