SOCIAL SERVICES REFORM/CWBTC RECS.

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 90 (Public) Filed Thursday, February 11, 2021
AN ACT TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO MAKE REFORMS TO IMPROVE SOCIAL SERVICES, THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, AND CHILD WELFARE SERVICES; TO MAKE APPROPRIATIONS TO TRANSITION TO REGIONAL SUPERVISION; TO IMPROVE INTERCOUNTY COLLABORATION BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS OF SOCIAL SERVICES; AND TO SUPPORT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FAMILY FIRST PREVENTION SERVICES ACT, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA CHILD WELL-BEING TRANSFORMATION COUNCIL.
Intro. by Krawiec, Burgin, Perry.

Status: Re-ref to Appropriations/Base Budget. If fav, re-ref to Rules and Operations of the Senate (Senate action) (Mar 17 2021)

SOG comments (1):

Long title change

Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition changed the long title. Original title was AN ACT TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO CONDUCT VARIOUS STUDIES AND MAKE REFORMS TO IMPROVE SOCIAL SERVICES, THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, AND CHILD WELFARE SERVICES; TO IMPROVE INTERCOUNTY COLLABORATION BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS OF SOCIAL SERVICES; AND TO SUPPORT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FAMILY FIRST PREVENTION SERVICES ACT, AS RECOMMENDED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA CHILD WELL-BEING TRANSFORMATION COUNCIL.

S 90

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Mar 17 2021 - More information

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

    Part I.

    Deletes the previous content of Section 4, which directed the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to study the statutory requirements of the social services system, juvenile justice system, and the Medicaid and NC Health Choice program applicable to children of foster care. 

    Adds the following directives and appropriations to Section 4, effective upon legislative appropriation of funds for the transition to regional supervision and support of child welfare services. 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 State regional staff and the central office team of DHHS on March 1, 2021. 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 2023. 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, 2024. Appropriates $914,790 in recurring funds from the General Fund to DHHS, Division of Social Services (DSS) for 2021-22 to support 11 new staff positions pursuant to the SSWG's plan. 

    Adds a new section as follows. 

    Adds to the responsibilities of county boards of social services charged in GS 108A-9 to include attending education and training for new board members during the first year of service. Makes the requirements effective April 1, 2022, and requires that all current county board members participate in the education and training sessions by April 1, 2024. Directs DSS to collaborate with key stakeholders and the UNC School of Government to create formal education and training programs for new county board members, specifically including a segment on county board liabilities, with training available statewide by September 1, 2021.

    Part VIII.

    Makes conforming changes. 

    Makes conforming changes to the act's long title.


  • Summary date: Feb 11 2021 - More information

    Part I

    Directs the Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS), Division of Social Services (DSS), to develop policies and procedures that require coordination between counties for children who reside outside of the county that has custody of the child no later than 90 days after the child's 17th birthday. Requires ensuring a point of contact with the custody county to assist with securing public assistance and access to physical and mental health services for which the child is eligible. Requires the policies and procedures to ensure educational plans, employment plans, and mechanisms to ensure continuity and amplify services for children transitioning out of foster care. Directs DHHS to report to the specified NCGA committee chairs by February 1, 2022, on its progress in policy development and implementation, its method of dissemination to counties, and DHHS's oversight and accountability for county implementation. 

    Directs DSS to develop policies and procedures to outline the permanency plan process and to require all county caseworkers to begin developing permanency plans no later than 90 days after the child's 17th birthday and to finalize permanency plans no later than 15 days prior to transitioning out of foster care on a child's 18th birthday, subject to federal law. Directs DSS to study the current age of transitioning out of foster care and evaluate if the age of transition should be changed and the associated impacts, benefits, and outcomes. Requires DHHS to report to the specified NCGA committee chairs by April 1, 2022, on the polices and procedures, and recommended legislation.

    Directs DHHS to develop and implement a plan to encourage keeping foster children in community-based settings and avoid inappropriate residential behavioral health placement. Requires implementation of the plan by April 1, 2022, with reporting to the specified NCGA committee chairs by July 1, 2022.

    Directs DHHS to study the statutory requirements of the social services system, juvenile justice system, and the Medicaid and NC Health Choice program applicable to children of foster care. Identifies five required areas of study, including (1) differences, consistencies, overlaps, and gaps in those state systems and programs as applied to children in foster care, and (2) benefits and challenges of the current managed care arrangement with LME/MCOs for providing services to children and their families. Requires DHHS to report to the specified NCGA committees by February 1, 2023.

    Directs DHHS to develop and identify standardized, trauma-informed assessment tools and require that only trained clinicians deemed as appropriate by DHHS assess the applicability of the use of the tool in the treatment. Requires DHHS to evaluate the costs and benefits of implementing the tools including training and administration, and costs of measuring and monitoring fidelity of the tools, including data collection and analysis. Requires DHHS to report to the specified NCGA committee chairs by June 1, 2022.

    Part II

    Directs DSS to define and implement oversight mechanisms for the Guardianship Assistance Program and the Kinship Care Program (programs); increase the use of the programs statewide; explore the feasibility of reducing the ages served by the programs; reduce the age of eligibility of the Guardianship Assistance Program to 12; and provide recommendations to incentive the use of the programs with cost estimates and anticipated outcomes. Specifies that the provisions do not provide for guardianship replacing or supplanting permanency. Directs DHHS to report to the specified NCGA committee chairs by February 1, 2022.

    Part III

    Directs DSS and the NC Association of Regional Councils of Governments to explore entering into a memorandum of agreement to use the Councils' physical space and office-related needs for DSS staff and facilitate cooperation between regions. Requires evaluation of estimated costs by region for the office space and sample agreements. Requires DSS to file a report to the specified NCGA committee chairs by June 1, 2022. 

    Part IV

    Directs DHHS to compile a list of programs that qualify for federal reimbursement through the Family First Prevention Services Act, as specified in federal law, and submit an annual report to the specified NCGA committee beginning December 1, 2022, and through December 1, 2025, as specified. 

    Part V

    Directs DSS to study the confidentiality laws that apply to State social services and programs. Requires DSS to request recommendations to improve intercounty cross-sector communication and delivery of services. Identifies four required areas of study, including studying all state laws imposing confidentiality that apply to social services and specified chapters of the NC Administrative Code, and revisions necessary to accommodate the anticipated changes to the judicial system's IT platform. Requires consultation with specified state departments, divisions and agencies. Requires DSS to report to the specified NCGA committee chairs by June 1, 2022. 

    Part VI

    Repeals GS 131D-10.9A, which establishes the Permanency Innovation Initiative Oversight Committee. 

    Part VII

    Amends GS 115C-378 to require the Department of Public Instruction to annual notify all school social workers employed in a public school of the attendance requirement for children ages 7-16. 


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