The Governor vetoed the act on July 11, 2022. The Governor's objections and veto message are available here: https://webservices.ncleg.gov/ViewBillDocument/2021/55339/0/H823-BD-NBC-9601.
Bill Summaries: H 823 CHILD ADVOCACY CENTERS/SHARE INFORMATION.
Summary date: Jul 26 2022 - View Summary
Summary date: Jun 30 2022 - View Summary
Senate amendment to the 3rd edition makes the following changes.
Amends proposed GS 180A-75.4, concerning access to Children's Advocacy Center records, by clarifying that the Department of Health and Human Services, a department, law enforcement agencies, the prosecuting attorney, a court of competent jurisdiction, and the Attorney General are exempted from the requirements of subsection g (not subsection f), which prohibits a person or agency to whom disclosure of information created or compiled at a Children's Advocacy Center is made from duplicating or disclosing that information to any other person or agency.
Summary date: Jun 29 2022 - View Summary
Senate committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes the following changes.
Modifies new Article 3A, Child Advocacy Centers in GS Chapter 108A, as follows. Adds caregiver and child medical evaluation to the Article's defined terms. Defines child medical evaluation as a medical evaluation of a child performed by a medical provider who is rostered with UNC-Chapel Hill, NC Child Medical Evaluation Program, which includes a forensic interview when possible, performed at a Children's Advocacy Center (Center) or another facility pursuant to an agreement with a Center. Revises the definitions for the terms child, child maltreatment, Children's Advocacy Center, forensic interview, and multidisciplinary team. No longer references a successor to the Children's Advocacy Centers of NC in the definition of Children's Advocacy Center; makes conforming changes to remove such references throughout the Article. Among other changes, now provides that a multidisciplinary team (MDT) works solely on behalf of the children served by a Center, and includes professionals who work collaboratively pursuant to a written protocol to share information on service provision and investigations by law enforcement or the department to inform the investigation and prosecution of child maltreatment cases and to coordinate services in response to reports made of child maltreatment (was, to coordinate, investigate, and be involved in the prosecution of child abuse cases to assure the most effective coordinated response to reports of child maltreatment). Allows inclusion of appropriate caregivers (was, nonoffending caregivers and families in the MDT); makes changes throughout to refer to "appropriate caregivers" rather than "nonoffending family members." Now defines child maltreatment to include any acts or series of acts of commission or omission involving sexual or physical abuse of a child, neglect of a child, human trafficking of a child, exploitation of a child, or the abuse, neglect, or dependency of a child. Makes changes to consistently refer to "child maltreatment" throughout rather than "child abuse."
Makes technical changes to and modifies the eligibility criteria set forth for a Center to receive State or federal funds administered or distributed by a State agency, or other legislative appropriations, as follows. Requires a Center to be an independent agency (was, an independent nonprofit agency), which can be a nonprofit or affiliated with an umbrella organization (previously allowed affiliation with an umbrella organization). Requires establishing and maintaining written protocols on specified subjects that comply with state and federal laws, in addition to State and national standards. Adds to the protocols required to include written protocols on the confidentiality of a department's protective services information and records and information sharing among MDT members that complies with State and federal law and rules for the participating entities (was, sharing among MDT members only). Requires provision of medical exams or referrals for exams in each case to be provided by health care providers with specific training in child sexual and physical abuse who are rostered with the NC Child Medical Evaluation Program who meet required State and national standards for training, documentation, and review (previously, did not specify for each exam, did not require rostering, and also referenced standards of the Center's written protocols). Specifies provision of mental health services or referrals services must be made by licensed mental health professionals, in each case (previously, referred to licensed professionals and did not specify required in each case), who deliver trauma-focused, evidence-supported treatment and who meet minimum standards established by the Children's Advocacy Centers of NC, Inc. Requires maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion (was, cultural competency and diversity) by completing a community assessment every three years, and requires the assessment to include identifying (was, determining) underserved populations and identifying and addressing gaps in services to those populations (previously, did not specify the gaps to be identified were specific to underserved populations).
Replaces the previous content of proposed GS 108A-75.3, regarding sharing of information, and now provides the following. Authorizes the department to share information relevant to the protection of a child with the MDT, subject to state and federal laws and rules. Authorizes other MDT members to share information relevant to the protection of a child with the MDT, subject to state and federal statutes and rules. Authorizes the chief district court judge of the judicial district in which the MDT sits to enter an administrative order designating certain local agencies located within the jurisdiction as authorized to share information concerning a case of suspected child maltreatment in which the county department of social services (department) is not involved, with designated agencies required to share information in their possession upon request and to the extent permitted by federal law and regulations, for so long as the child's case is being investigated by law enforcement or the child is receiving services at the Center. Deems shared information confidential except for disclosures required by law and limits use to the extent necessary for the agency to perform its required duties. Specifies that the provisions do not require disclosure or release of information in the possession of a district attorney. Specifies that information shared between MDT members must comply with federal law or regulation and remain confidential, except to the extent necessary for the protection of a child, to carry out a treatment plan or recommendations, or to improve the educational opportunities of a child. Provides an MDT member limited liability for state civil and criminal law violations for good faith participation in team discussions by providing information about a child being reviewed by the MDT.
Replaces the previous content of proposed GS 108A-75.4, relating to access to the Children's Advocacy Center records, and now provides the following. Creates distinct confidentiality provisions for child medical evaluations, forensic interviews, and information received from a Center based on whether a referral to the Center is by a department or law enforcement, with disclosure of information and records in cases referred by a department also governed by various statutes of GS Chapter 7B identified, and disclosure of information and records in cases referred by law enforcement limited to release to four described categories of recipients, or as permitted by GS 7B-3100, which governs the disclosure of juvenile records. Otherwise, requires a court order to release records created, compiled, maintained, or received by a Center, which requires finding that the records are necessary for the determination of a criminal, civil, or administrative matter and the information cannot be obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services, a law enforcement agency, the prosecuting attorney, a department, or the Attorney General. Requires inclusion of an order for an in camera inspection and protective order. Provides further limitations for such orders. Provides for information sharing between employees and designated agents of Centers, between Centers and the Children's Advocacy Centers of NC Inc. or other contract services providers, and a Center and other Centers or an MDT, as specified. Exempts DHHS, a department, law enforcement agencies, the prosecuting attorney, a court of competent jurisdiction and the Attorney General from the authorized limited disclosure described in subsection (f), regarding sharing information with the Children's Advocacy Centers of NC, Inc. or other contract service providers when necessary for the child, caregiver, or a Center to receive essential support or services, with necessary confidentiality provisions in place, consistent with state and federal law. Provides for continued confidentiality of disclosed information. Deems records created under the Article to not be public records.
Amends GS 7B-505.1, which requires a health care provider to disclose confidential information about a juvenile to a director of a department with custody of the juvenile and a parent, guardian, or custodian. Adds to the provisions, deeming a child medical evaluation performed by a health care provider rostered with the NC Child Medical Evaluation Program to be governed by new GS 108A-75.4.
Changes the effective date of the act to July 1, 2023 (was, July 1, 2022).
Summary date: May 11 2021 - View Summary
House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.
Modifies new Article 3A, Child Advocacy Centers in GS Chapter 108A, as follows. Makes technical and clarifying changes to the defined term Children's Advocacy Center. Clarifies that MDT stands for multidisciplinary team. Makes a technical correction regarding the confidentiality of information acquired by a multidisciplinary team, allowing for disclosure to the extent necessary to carry out a treatment plan.
Changes the act's long title.
Summary date: May 4 2021 - View Summary
Enacts new Article 3A, Child Advocacy Centers in GS Chapter 108A, providing the following. Defines Children's Advocacy Center as a child-focused, trauma-informed, facility-based program in good standing with Children's Advocacy Centers of North Carolina Inc. or its successor, that assists in the coordination of the investigation of child abuse by promoting a coordinated, multidisciplinary response to cases of child maltreatment in which representatives from law enforcement, child protective services, or prosecution, mental health, forensic interviewing, medical, or victim advocacy groups or disciplines collaborate to make team decisions about the investigation, prosecution, safety, treatment, and support services to provide, directly or by formalized agreements, services that include forensic interviews, medical examinations, mental health and other related support services, court advocacy, consultation, and training for children suspected to be victims of child maltreatment and their nonoffending family members. Defines child as any individual under age 18, or any individual who has a developmental disability, as defined in GS 122C-3(12a), that severely impacts conceptual, social, and practical areas of living to the extent the individual cannot live in an independent environment. Also defines the following terms as they are used in the new Article: child maltreatment, department, forensic interview, and multidisciplinary team.
Requires a Child Advocacy Center to meet all of the following in order to receive State funds or federal funds administered or distributed by a State agency or any other funds appropriated or allocated by the NCGA: (1) found to be in good standing with State standards set forth by Children's Advocacy Centers of North Carolina Inc. or its successor; (2) is an independent nonprofit agency, which may be affiliated with an umbrella organization or a part of a governmental entity, with sound administrative policies and procedures designed to ensure quality of services and sustainability including specified standards; (3) provides a child-friendly, trauma-informed space for children suspected to be victims of child maltreatment and their nonoffending family members; (4) conducts on-site interviews of children by a forensic interviewer in appropriate cases of suspected child maltreatment; (5) maintains a multidisciplinary team that meets regularly and are routinely involved in investigations and multidisciplinary team interventions; (6) has a written interagency agreement signed by authorized representatives of all MDT participants that commits the signed parties to the multidisciplinary model for the investigation of child maltreatment, with the agreement reviewed and signed annually; (7) provides a space for multidisciplinary team meetings; (8) establishes and maintains written protocols governing the specified topics; (9) has a designated staff that is supervised and approved by the Children's Advocacy Center's Board of Directors or other governing entity; (10) provides case tracking of child abuse cases served through the Children's Advocacy Center, according to written protocols sets out additional items the Center must track; (11) provides medical exams or referrals for medical exams by health care providers with specific training in child sexual and physical abuse who meet required minimum State and national standards for training, documentation, and review, according to the Children's Advocacy Center's written protocols; (12) provides mental health services or referrals for such mental health services by licensed professionals who deliver trauma-focused, evidence-supported treatment who meet the minimum standards established by the Children's Advocacy Centers of North Carolina Inc. or its successor; (13) provides training for various disciplines in the community that deal with child maltreatment; (14) provides victim support and advocacy that meets State and national standards; (15) maintains cultural competency and diversity by completing a community assessment every three years, which does at least the listed items; (16) provides annual trainings or educational opportunities for multidisciplinary team member professional development; (17) ensures that Children's Advocacy Center employees and volunteers are properly screened and trained in accordance with State and national standards; and (18) provides all services to a child client regardless of the child's or child's family's ability to pay for those services. Makes the Children's Advocacy Centers of North Carolina, Inc., or its successor, responsible for tracking and documenting compliance and any funds it administers to an eligible Children's Advocacy Center.
Requires any pertinent or relevant information possessed by a member of a multidisciplinary team concerning a child whose case is being investigated or discussed by the team to be shared with the team members as part of the discussion and coordination of efforts for investigative or treatment purposes. Requires individuals and agencies to share information or records with the team when requested; sets out items that do not have to be disclosed. Requires information acquired by a multidisciplinary team to be kept confidential and not be disclosed except to the extent necessary to perform case consultations, to carry out a treatment plan or recommendations, or in compliance with the requirements of this Article. Provides that information, documents, or records available from the original sources are not immune from discovery or use in any civil or criminal action solely on the basis of the information, documents, or records being used in a case consultation. Gives team members immunity from any civil or criminal liability for disclosure of information, except in cases of gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing.
Makes confidential and prohibits the release of reports, correspondence, memoranda, case histories, medical reports, and other materials compiled or created by a Children's Advocacy Center, except allows release in eight specified circumstances. Allows a court to order the release of the records for an in camera inspection if the court finds that the records are necessary to determine a matter before the court or grand jury and the information cannot be obtained from one of the listed entities. Allows the court to then release only information that is material and relevant to the matter before the court and necessary for the proper administration of justice. Sets out what information employees or designated agents of a Children's Advocacy Center may confirm or disclose. Prohibits duplicating an interview of a child recorded at a Children's Advocacy Center with an exception for prosecuting attorneys.
Provides civil immunity for a board member, staff member, or volunteer of a Children's Advocacy Center or Children's Advocacy Centers of North Carolina, Inc., or its successor when the person acts in good faith.
Effective July 1, 2022.