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 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.