AN ACT TO IMPLEMENT VARIOUS PROVISIONS RELATED TO SOCIAL SERVICES REFORM AND TO REPEAL CERTAIN CHANGES TO THE ADOPTION LAWS.
House committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes the following changes.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
Makes conforming changes.