AN ACT TO ALIGN STATE LAW WITH FEDERAL LAW BY PROVIDING FOR THE SUPPORT OF HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH IN FOSTER CARE THROUGH IMPLEMENTATION OF A REASONABLE AND PRUDENT PARENT STANDARD FOR DECISIONS MADE BY A FOSTER PARENT OR A DESIGNATED OFFICIAL FOR A CHILD CARE INSTITUTION AND REVISING THE LAWS PERTAINING TO ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY REGARDING JUVENILE PLACEMENT UNDER THE JUVENILE CODE; TO PROVIDE LIABILITY INSURANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS' TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO OBTAINING A DRIVERS LICENSE FOR FOSTER CHILDREN AND BY CLARIFYING THAT FOSTER PARENTS DO NOT VIOLATE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS BY ALLOWING FOSTER CHILDREN WITH THEIR OWN INSURANCE COVERAGE TO OPERATE A VEHICLE OWNED BY THE FOSTER PARENT; AND TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES TO STUDY A MEDICAID WAIVER FOR CHILDREN WITH SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE.
Enacts new GS 131D-10.2A, Reasonable and prudent parenting standard (standard), providing that this standard is characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain a child's health, safety, and best interests while encouraging the child's emotional and developmental growth. Requires every child care institution to designate an on-site official to apply the standard. Caregivers are required to use this standard in determining participation in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities for foster children. Prohibits liability being placed on a caregiver or a county department of social services for an act or omission if actions and decisions were made in accordance with the standard. Provides that a caregiver exercising the standard has the authority to allow or prevent a child from participating in normal childhood activities, understood to include, but not limited to, extracurricular, cultural, enrichment, and social activities as well as overnight activities outside direct supervision of the caregiver for periods over 24 hours up to 72 hours. Provides protection from liability for caregivers in regards to injuries to the child occurring as a result of the authority of the above provisions unless the action or inaction of the caregiver that resulted in the injury is by willful or reckless misconduct.
Amends GS 7B-505(b) concerning juvenile placement while in nonsecure custody, providing that the court will order the Department of Social Services to make diligent efforts to notify relatives and custodial parents of the juvenile's siblings that the juvenile is in nonsecure custody, as well as notify them about any hearing schedule to occur pursuant to GS 7B-506, unless the court finds such action is contrary to the best interests of the child.
Amends GS 7B-800.1(a)(4) and GS 7B-901, both concerning hearings regarding the juvenile, requiring that required notifications or efforts to notify relatives of the juvenile be considered in regards to the hearings is also required for parents with custody of a sibling of the juvenile.
Enacts new GS 7B-903.1, Juvenile placed in custody of a county department of social services, authorizing a county department of social services to make decisions generally made by a juvenile's custodian for a juvenile in its custody, including educational decisions and consenting to the sharing of the juvenile's information. Authorizes the delegation of this authority to a juvenile's parent, foster parent, or another individual. Further authorizes a county department of social services with custody or placement responsibility to make decisions concerning normal childhood activities. Allows the court to set alternative parameters for approval of such activities if such authorization is not in the juvenile's best interest.
Enacts new GS 7B-912, Juveniles 14 years of age and older; Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement, setting out the requirement that for juveniles in custody of county departments of social services who have reached the age of 14 at a permanency planning hearing, the court must inquire and make written findings in regards to (1) services provided to assist the juvenile in transitioning to adulthood, (2) any steps the county department of social services is taking to ensure the foster family or other placement provider is following the reasonable and prudent parent standard, and (3) whether the juvenile has regular opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities.
Requires the court, at or before the last scheduled permanency hearing, but at least 90 days before a juvenile turns 18 years old, to inquire as to whether the juvenile has copies of the specified vital records and to determine which person or entity should assist in obtaining these documents before the age of 18.
Provides that the plan of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) is only available as a juvenile's permanent plan when the court finds that specified requirements are met, including, but not limited to, that the juvenile is 16 or 17 years old and that APPLA is the best permanency plan for the juvenile. If APPLA is the juvenile's permanent plan, then the court must question the juvenile and make written findings addressing the juvenile's desired permanency outcome.
Enacts new GS 58-36-43, Development of policy form or endorsement for personal liability insurance for foster parents, providing that the NC Rate Bureau must develop an optional policy form or endorsement to be filed with the Commissioner of Insurance for approval no later than May 1, 2016. The same is to provide liability insurance for foster parents licensed under GS Chapter 131D, Article 1A, to provide foster care in a family foster home or therapeutic foster home. Sets out what coverage the policy form or endorsement must provide. Provides that such liability insurance is not required to cover acts or omissions of a foster parent when such are not in compliance with written instructions received from the placing agency or Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Enacts new GS 58-37-35(g) concerning the North Carolina Motor Vehicle Reinsurance Facility (Facility) providing that with the approval of the Commissioner of Insurance, the Facility will establish a form of nonfleet private passenger motor vehicle liability insurance providing named nonowner coverage for a foster child in state custody. Sets out requirements that the policy must meet, including that the policy only applies to one child and that the policy is portable if the foster child's placement for foster care changes, as long as the placement is in North Carolina. Enacts new GS 48A-4, Certain minors competent to contract, providing that a minor who is 16 or older and who is in legal custody of DHHS is qualified and competent to contract for the purchase of an automobile insurance policy with the consent of the court with continuing jurisdiction over the minor's placement. Sets out certain limitations and requirements for the policy. Amends GS 20-11(i) concerning application for a limited learner's permit and provisional driver's license providing that for minors in the legal custody of the DHHS, a guardian ad litem or attorney advocate, a case manager or other type of case worker, or the court with continuing jurisdiction over the minor's placement can sign the application. Enacts new GS 20-309(a2) providing that the owner of a motor vehicle who is a foster parent providing foster care to a person between the ages of 16 and 21 does not violate the requirements of the article by allowing the motor vehicle to be operated by the person if the person is covered by a nonowner motor vehicle insurance policy issued by the Facility. Effective October 1, 2015.
Directs DHHS to design and draft, but not submit, a 1915(c) Medicaid waiver to serve children with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) in home and community-based settings. Allows DHHS to submit drafts of the waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to solicit feedback but not submit the waiver for CMS approval until authorized by the General Assembly. Directs DHHS to report the waiver, other findings, and any other options or recommendations to best serve children with SED to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services by December 1, 2015. Sets out what the report should contain, including an in-depth analysis of the cost per slot.
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