AN ACT TO AMEND VARIOUS ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND DEPENDENCY LAWS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN IN OUT-OF-HOME PLACEMENTS AND EXPEDITE PERMANENCY PLANNING HEARINGS FOR CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE HOME; TO CLARIFY THE NONCARETAKER DEFINITION FOR THE RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUALS LIST; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, DIVISION OF SOCIAL SERVICES, TO DEVELOP A PLAN TO IMPLEMENT A CENTRALIZED HOTLINE FOR CHILD WELFARE INTAKE; TO DEVELOP A PLAN TO INCREASE APPROPRIATE TREATMENT AND RESIDENTIAL SETTINGS; AND TO PROVIDE SAFE AND APPROPRIATE PLACEMENT FOR CHILDREN IN NEED OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES.
House committee substitute to the 3rd edition makes the following changes.
Qualifies the authority granted in new GS 7B-302(a3), which allows legislators and NCGA joint oversight committees to request access to confidential information and records maintained pursuant to Article 3 (governing the screening of abuse and neglect complaints) by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) or county departments of social services (dss), to specifically except access that is prohibited by state plan requirements within federal programs. Adds to the exemptions provided, now exempting juvenile court records as set forth in Article 30 (Juvenile Records and Social Reports of Delinquency and Undisciplined Cases) from such requests. Adds that disclosure of confidential information pursuant to new subsection (a3) is limited to requests for information received or created by the agency on or after October 1, 2021.
Adds to GS 7B-505 to explicitly allow a court to consider whether an appropriate former foster parent, nonrelative kin or other persons with legal custody of a sibling of a juvenile are willing and able to provide proper care and supervision of a juvenile in a safe home when the juvenile is not placed with a relative.
Modifies proposed GS 7B-903(a4) to allow a court to order dss to notify a juvenile's State-recognized tribe of the need for custodial care (was, nonsecure custody) for the purposes of locating relatives or nonrelative kin for placement.
Regarding required supervised visits prior to dss recommending unsupervised visits with a juvenile or a return of physical custody of the juvenile under GS 7B-903.1, no longer qualifies the requirement for whichever (unsupervised visits or a return of physical custody) occurs first.
Further amends and adds to the proposed changes to GS 7B-906.1 regarding review and permanency planning hearings to refer to "any person with whom the juvenile" is placed rather than "any person providing care for the juvenile," thereby requiring the court to give any person with whom the child was placed the opportunity to address the court regarding the juvenile's well-being (was, any person providing care for the juvenile). No longer requires a court to make findings of the goals of the family services plan at each hearing. Qualifies the requirement for the court to schedule a permanency planning hearing if the juvenile is removed from the custody of a parent, guardian, or custodian at a review hearing to except instances in which the hearing was noticed and heard as a permanency planning hearing. No longer requires a court to schedule a permanency planning hearing to address the permanent plans following a determination efforts would be unsuccessful or inconsistent unless made at a permanency planning hearing. Replaces the content of new subsections (d1) and (d2), now allowing the court to maintain the juvenile's placement under review or order a different placement, appoint an individual guardian of the person, or order any authorized disposition pursuant to specified law at any review hearing. Allows the court to waive further review hearings or terminate jurisdiction when the parent, guardian, or custodian successfully completes the court-ordered services and the juvenile is residing in a safe home, absent extraordinary circumstances. Eliminates the prohibition against a court's waiver or refusal to conduct a permanency planning hearing if a party files a motion seeking the hearing.
Eliminates proposed GS 7B-903.2, Presentation at a hospital for mental health treatment. Instead, enacts GS 122C-142.2 with the same title, providing as follows. Requires the dss director to contact the appropriate LME/MCO or prepaid health plan (PHP) within 24 hours of a determination that a juvenile in dss custody who presents to a hospital emergency department for mental health treatment should not remain at the hospital and no appropriate placement is immediately available, to request an assessment. Requires the LME/MCO or PHP to arrange for an assessment by the child's clinical home provider, the hospital, or other qualified licensed clinician within five business days of the dss director's notification, as specified. Sets forth required actions and timelines for placement following the comprehensive clinical assessment based on whether the assessment recommend a traditional foster home or a Level I group home, or a level of care requiring prior authorization by the LME/MCO or PHP; makes dss responsible for transporting the juvenile to the identified placement. Requires dss to provide ongoing case management either virtually or in-person to address the educational and social needs during the juvenile's stay in the hospital. Requires the hospital to cooperate with dss to provide access to the juvenile during the hospital stay. Requires the dss director to immediately notify the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Rapid Response Team when the director, or LME/MCO or PHP, is unable to identify an appropriate available placement or provider for the juvenile or if the assessment recommendations differ. Authorizes the dss director to disclose confidential information to the Rapid Response Team and provides for continued confidentiality of the information. Details the makeup of the Rapid Response Team, with representatives from various specified DHHS Divisions. Sets forth five authorized responses of the Rapid Response Team's coordinated response upon notification. Effective 30 days after the date the act becomes law.
Eliminates the content of proposed GS 7B-903.3, Emergency motion for placement and payment, reorganizes the statute as GS 7B-903.2, and replaces its content with the following. Allows for a party to a juvenile case, DHHS, the hospital where the juvenile is currently located, the LME/MCO or the PHP to make a limited appearance to file a motion regarding the juvenile's continued stay in an emergency department or subsequent hospital admission stating the requirements of GS 122C-142.2(b) through (f) which are not satisfied. Details service requirements, and makes the hospital, LME/MCO or the PHP for the juvenile, and DHHS parties to the proceeding to participate in related hearings upon service. Requires DSS to provide the movant with the case file number, the juvenile's name, and the addresses of all parties and attorneys in the juvenile matter upon request of the movant, to the extent necessary to effectuate service. Specifies that the statute does not require the department of social services to provide the name and address of the juvenile who is a party to the action. Provides parameters for the hearing, including who may present evidence. Requires the court to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law, including whether the movant established by clear and convincing evidence that there is no medical necessity for the juvenile to remain in the hospital and the responsible party or parties who have not satisfied the requirements of new GS 122C-142.2(b) through (f). Identifies four alternative orders the court may issue upon finding by clear and convincing evidence that there is no medical necessity for the juvenile to remain in the hospital and that the responsible party has not satisfied the requirements of GS 122C-142.2(b) through (f), including ordering the responsible party to pay reasonable hospital charges, pay for any damage to property caused by the juvenile after the date the hospital stay was no longer necessary, satisfy the requirements of GS 122C-142.2, or any relief the court finds appropriate. Requires the order to be entered no later than 72 hours after the hearing is completed and requires the clerk to schedule a subsequent hearing for review within 30 days after entry. Requires the motion to be dismissed if the juvenile is removed from the hospital and placed by the director after the motion is filed. Requires all parties to the hearing to bear their own costs. Makes new GS 7B-903.2 effective January 1, 2022.
Changes the act's long title.