AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT VARIOUS PROVISIONS RELATED TO SOCIAL SERVICES REFORM AND TO REPEAL CERTAIN CHANGES TO THE ADOPTION LAWS.
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 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 $916,171 in recurring funds from the General Fund to DHHS, Division of Social Services (DSS) for the 2021-23 fiscal biennium to support 11 new staff positions pursuant to the SSWG's plan. Effective July 1, 2021.
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 October 1, 2021, and requires that all current county board members participate in the education and training sessions by October 1, 2023.
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 March 1, 2022.
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 March 1, 2022.
Enacts GS 108A-15.16 to require county department of social services to resolve conflicts of interest cases consistent with applicable law and DHHS policies and procedures. Requires DHHS policies and procedures 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.
Directs the Commission report to the specified NCGA committee upon the adoption of rules under GS 108A-15.16.
Amends Section 1.1(c) of SL 2017-41, which requires DHHS to submit its plan for establishing regional offices to supervise the provisions of child welfare and social services to the specified NCGA committee by November 15, 2018. Now requires DHHS's plan to provide for the system of regional supervision to be operational by March 1, 2024 (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. Adds new membership parameters to require any vacancy on the SSWG to be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. Directs the SSWG to continue to address regional supervision and interagency collaboration and regionalization. Requires the SSWG to convene no later than October 8, 2021, 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, 2022, and a Stage Three final report of its recommendations no later than February 1, 2023. 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.
Requires 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, 2022.
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 became effective on October 1, 2019.