Bill Summary for H 424 (2015-2016)

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Summary date: 

Mar 31 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 424 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Intro. by Stevens.

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Bill summary

Substantively identical to S 424, as filed on 3/25/15.

Includes various whereas clauses concerning the value of educational attainment.

Amends GS 108A-48, concerning the State Foster Care Benefits Program (Program), deleting all the provisions in subsection (b) concerning limiting benefits to individuals younger than 18 years old except in the specified circumstances. Provides new language which allows the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to continue to provide benefits under the Program to an individual who has attained the age of 18 and has chosen to continue to receive foster care services to 19 years of age if they are (1) completing secondary education or equivalent, (2) enrolled in an institution that provides postsecondary or vocational education, (3) are participating in a program or activity designed to promote or remove barriers to employment, (4) employed for at least 80 hours per month, or (5) are incapable of completing the educational or employment requirements of this subsection due to a medical condition or disability. 

Amends GS 108A-49.1 and 131D-10.2, concerning foster care, making conforming changes reflecting the above changes.

Enacts new GS 131D-10.2A, Foster care through 19 years of age, providing that children can receive foster care services until the age of 19 whether or not they have continued in foster care after the age of 18 or left prior to reaching age 19 as provided by law or after meeting specified requirements. 

Amends GS 131D-10.5, concerning the powers and duties of the Social Services Commission, adding the duty to adopt rules necessary for the expansion of foster care for individuals that are 18 years old and have chosen to continue receiving foster care services until 19 years old, pursuant to GS 131D-10.2A.

Directs the DHHS Division of Social Services (Division) to develop a plan for the expansion of foster care services for individuals 18 years old that opt to continue receiving such services until the age of 19. Requires the Division to report on the plan to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Fiscal Research Division no later than October 1, 2015. A report regarding the implementation of the plan is to be made to the same parties no later than November 1, 2016. 

Requires DHHS, no later than 60 days after the implementation of the plan, to submit a state plan amendment to the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families to make federal payments for foster care and adoption assistance under Title IV-E.

Directs the Division of Social Services to design the Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) as specified. Provides that the GAP will reimburse legal guardians for room and board and will be set at the same rate for foster care room and board reimbursement rates. Directs the Social Services Board to adopt rules to establish the GAP.

Appropriates from the General Fund to DHHS $56,042 for fiscal year 2015-16 in order to develop the plan for expansion of foster care services.  Effective October 1, 2015.

Appropriates from the General Fund to DHHS $1,328,499 for the 2016-17 fiscal year to implement the plan for the expansion of foster care services. Effective July 1, 2016.

Unless otherwise noted above, act becomes effective August 1, 2016.