Bill Summary for S 578 (2015-2016)

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Summary date: 

Mar 30 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
Senate Bill 578 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 26, 2015
Intro. by Barringer, Hise, Tucker.

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Bill summary

Enacts new GS 110-105.3, Child maltreatment, to Article 7 of GS Chapter 110 to assign the authority to investigate child abuse and neglect in child care facilities to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development and Early Education.

Defines child maltreatmentas used in Article 7 to mean any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child. Also includes definitions for caregiverand child care facilities.

Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), local departments of social services, and local law enforcement personnel to cooperate with the medical community to ensure that reports of child maltreatment in child care facilities are properly investigated. Directs DHHS to contact local law enforcement officials to investigate the report when it alleges maltreatment meeting the definition of abuse or neglect as defined in GS 14-318.2 (child abuse as a misdemeanor) and GS 14-318.4 (child abuse as a felony).

Authorizes DHHS to issue a protection plan barring an alleged abuser of a child from being on the facility's premises while children are present, or to suspend activities at a facility that is under investigation. Also provides that DHHS may order immediate corrective action as required to protect the health, safety, or welfare of children in care. Provides additional details regarding the specific authority of DHHS to take actions during the course of an investigation in order to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the children in a child care facility that is regulated by DHHS.

Directs that until a DHHS investigation confirms that child maltreatment occurred in a child care facility, all matters pertaining to the investigation are to be held in strictest confidence by DHHS except permits DHHS to disclose confidential information to any local, state, or federal government entity in order to protect a juvenile from child maltreatment, abuse, or neglect. Provides other criteria regarding confidentiality and the release of confidential information. Also specifies criteria regarding consultations between or among DHHS and other private or public agencies and individuals. Directs the North Carolina Child Care Commission to adopt, amend, and repeal all rules that are necessary to implement the provisions of GS 110-105.3.

Enacts new GS 110-105.4, Duty to report child maltreatment, to require any person with cause to suspect that a child in a child care facility has been maltreated, as defined in GS 110-105.3, or has died as a result of maltreatment that occurred in a child care facility to report the child's case to DHHS, either orally, by telephone, or in writing. Specifies what information must be contained in the reports. Provides that refusal of the person making the report to give a name does preclude DHHS from investigating the alleged maltreatment. Requires DHHS to notify the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) upon receipt of any report of maltreatment that involves sexual abuse of a child in a child care facility within 24 hours or on the next workday. Provides that if sexual abuse of a child in a child care facility is not alleged in an initial report, but during the investigation there is reason to suspect sexual abuse, DHHS must immediately notify the SBI.

Enacts new GS 110-105.5, Child maltreatment registry, to require DHHS to establish and maintain a registry of the names of all caregivers who have been confirmed by DHHS as having maltreated a child under GS 110-105.3. Specifies the types and categories of information to be contained in the registry. Requires that prior to employment, the operator of a child care facility request that DHHS check the status of a potential employee in the Child Maltreatment Registry and notify the employer of the individual's Registry status.

Enacts new GS 110-105.6, Penalties for child maltreatment, to provide that child maltreatment occurring in child care facilities is a violation of this Article, licensure standards, and licensure laws. Authorizes DHHS, upon an investigation that confirms that child maltreatment did occur in a child care facility, to issue an administrative action up to and including summary suspension and revocation of the facility's child care license. Provides additional corrective actions and penalties available to DHHS. Declares that nothing in this section restricts DHHS from using any other statutory or administrative remedies available.

Makes a number of conforming changes to GS 7B-101(3), 7B-300, 7B-301(a), 7B-302(a), and 7B-307 to support the transition of the investigation of abuse and neglect in child care facilities to DHHS. Also makes a conforming change to GS 110-105 regarding DHHS' authority to inspect childcare facilities.

Repeals GS 110-105.2, regarding abuse and neglect violations in child care facilities.