! The Capitol Complex is open to the public with some limitations. All meetings are still available virtually online. Please visit the Capitol Information page for details.

Download Zipped Introduced WP 9 SB0110.ZIP 16,237 Bytes
[Status][Bill Documents][Fiscal Note][Bills Directory]

S.B. 110

             1     

CHILD PLACEMENT DETERMINATIONS

             2     
2002 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Sponsor: Dan R. Eastman

             5      This act amends the Human Services Code and the Judicial Code. The act changes the
             6      permanency plan regarding long-term foster care for a child who is three years of age or
             7      younger. The act expands the grounds for removal of a foster child from the home of the
             8      foster parents without first providing a hearing to the foster parents. The act modifies
             9      fingerprinting requirements for household members in a foster home. The act clarifies when
             10      a juvenile court may order a planned permanent living arrangement other than adoption,
             11      reunification, guardianship, and kinship placement for a child in the custody of the Division
             12      of Child and Family Services, in accordance with the requirements of federal law. The act
             13      makes technical changes.
             14      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             15      AMENDS:
             16          62A-4a-205, as last amended by Chapter 255, Laws of Utah 2001
             17          62A-4a-206, as last amended by Chapter 274, Laws of Utah 1998
             18          62A-4a-209, as enacted by Chapter 250, Laws of Utah 2001
             19          78-3a-312, as last amended by Chapter 21, Laws of Utah 2001
             20          78-3a-315, as last amended by Chapter 274, Laws of Utah 1998
             21      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             22          Section 1. Section 62A-4a-205 is amended to read:
             23           62A-4a-205. Treatment plans.
             24          (1) No more than 45 days after a child enters the temporary custody of the division, the
             25      child's treatment plan shall be finalized.
             26          (2) The division shall use an interdisciplinary team approach in developing each treatment
             27      plan. An interdisciplinary team shall include, but is not limited to, representatives from mental


             28      health, education, and, where appropriate, a representative of law enforcement.
             29          (3) (a) The division shall involve all of the following in the development of a child's
             30      treatment plan:
             31          (i) both of the child's natural parents, unless the whereabouts of a parent are unknown;
             32          (ii) the child;
             33          (iii) the child's foster parents; and
             34          (iv) where appropriate, the child's stepparent.
             35          (b) In relation to all information considered by the division in developing a treatment plan,
             36      additional weight and attention shall be given to the input of the child's natural and foster parents
             37      upon their involvement pursuant to Subsections (3)(a)(i) and (iii).
             38          (4) A copy of the treatment plan shall be provided to the guardian ad litem, and to the
             39      child's natural parents and foster parents immediately upon completion, or as soon as is reasonably
             40      possible thereafter.
             41          (5) Each treatment plan shall specifically provide for the safety of the child, in accordance
             42      with federal law, and clearly define what actions or precautions will, or may be, necessary to
             43      provide for the health, safety, protection, and welfare of the child.
             44          (6) The plan shall set forth, with specificity, at least the following:
             45          (a) the reason the child entered Division of Child and Family Services custody, and
             46      documentation of the reasonable efforts made to prevent placement, or documentation of the
             47      emergency situation that existed and that prevented reasonable efforts;
             48          (b) the primary permanency goal for the child and the reason for selection of that goal;
             49          (c) the concurrent permanency goal for the child and the reason for the selection of that
             50      goal;
             51          (d) if the plan is for the child to return to [his] the child's family, specifically what the
             52      parents must do in order to enable the child to be returned home, specifically how those
             53      requirements may be accomplished, and how those requirements will be measured;
             54          (e) the specific services needed to reduce the problems that necessitated placement in the
             55      division's custody, and who will provide for and be responsible for case management;
             56          (f) a parent-time schedule between the natural parent and the child;
             57          (g) the health care to be provided to the child, and the mental health care to be provided
             58      to address any known or diagnosed mental health needs of the child. If residential treatment, rather


             59      than a foster home, is the proposed placement, a specialized assessment of the child's health needs
             60      shall be conducted, including an assessment of mental illness and behavior and conduct disorders;
             61      and
             62          (h) social summaries that include case history information pertinent to case planning.
             63          (7) (a) Each treatment plan shall be specific to each child and [his] the child's family, rather
             64      than general. The division shall train its workers to develop treatment plans that comply with
             65      federal mandates and the specific needs of the particular child and [his] the child's family.
             66          (b) All treatment plans and expectations shall be individualized and contain specific time
             67      frames.
             68          (c) Treatment plans shall address problems that keep children in placement and keep them
             69      from achieving permanence in their lives.
             70          (d) The child's natural parents, foster parents, and where appropriate, stepparents, shall be
             71      kept informed of and supported to participate in important meetings and procedures related to the
             72      child's placement.
             73          (8) With regard to a child who is three years of age or younger, if the goal is not to return
             74      the child home, the permanency plan for that child shall be adoption [unless there are documented
             75      extenuating circumstances that justify long-term foster care or guardianship]. However, if the
             76      division documents to the court that there is a compelling reason that adoption, reunification,
             77      guardianship, and kinship placement are not in the child's best interest, the court may order another
             78      planned permanent living arrangement in accordance with federal law.
             79          Section 2. Section 62A-4a-206 is amended to read:
             80           62A-4a-206. Process for removal of a child from foster family -- Procedural due
             81      process.
             82          (1) (a) The Legislature finds that, except with regard to a child's natural parent or legal
             83      guardian, a foster family has a very limited but recognized interest in its familial relationship with
             84      a foster child who has been in the care and custody of that family. In making determinations
             85      regarding removal of a child from a foster home, the division may not dismiss the foster family as
             86      a mere collection of unrelated individuals.
             87          (b) The Legislature finds that children in the temporary custody and custody of the division
             88      are experiencing multiple changes in foster care placements with little or no documentation, and
             89      that numerous studies of child growth and development emphasize the importance of stability in


             90      foster care living arrangements.
             91          (c) For the reasons described in Subsections (1)(a) and (b), the division shall provide
             92      procedural due process for a foster family prior to removal of a foster child from their home,
             93      regardless of the length of time the child has been in that home, unless removal is for the purpose
             94      of:
             95          (i) returning the child to [his] the child's natural parent or legal guardian[, or for the
             96      immediate placement of];
             97          (ii) immediately placing the child in an approved adoptive home[.];
             98          (iii) placing the child with a relative, as defined in Subsection 78-3a-307 (5)(d), who
             99      obtained custody or asserted an interest in the child within the preference period described in
             100      Subsection 78-3a-307 (8); or
             101          (iv) placing an Indian child in accordance with preplacement preferences and other
             102      requirements described in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. Sec. 1915.
             103          (2) (a) The division shall maintain and utilize due process procedures for removal of a
             104      foster child from a foster home, in accordance with the procedures and requirements of Title 63,
             105      Chapter 46b, Administrative Procedures Act.
             106          (b) Those procedures shall include requirements for:
             107          (i) personal communication with and explanation to foster parents prior to removal of the
             108      child; and
             109          (ii) an opportunity for foster parents to present their information and concerns to the
             110      division and to request a review by a third party neutral fact finder prior to removal of the child.
             111          (c) If the division determines that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the child is in
             112      danger or that there is a substantial threat of danger to the health or welfare of the child, it shall
             113      place the child in emergency foster care during the pendency of the procedures described in this
             114      subsection, instead of making another foster care placement.
             115          (3) If the division removes a child from a foster home based upon the child's statement
             116      alone, the division shall initiate and expedite the processes described in Subsection (2). The
             117      division may take no formal action with regard to that foster parent's license until after those
             118      processes, in addition to any other procedure or hearing required by law, have been completed.
             119          (4) When a complaint is made to the division by a foster child against a foster parent, the
             120      division shall, within 30 business days, provide the foster parent with information regarding the


             121      specific nature of the complaint, the time and place of the alleged incident, and who was alleged
             122      to have been involved.
             123          (5) Whenever the division places a child in a foster home, it shall provide the foster
             124      parents with:
             125          (a) notification of the requirements of this section;
             126          (b) a written description of the procedures enacted by the division pursuant to Subsection
             127      (2) and how to access those processes; and
             128          (c) written notification of the foster parents' ability to petition the juvenile court directly
             129      for review of a decision to remove a foster child who has been in their custody for 12 months or
             130      longer, in accordance with the limitations and requirements of Section 78-3a-315 .
             131          (6) The requirements of this section do not apply to the removal of a child based on a
             132      foster parent's request for that removal.
             133          Section 3. Section 62A-4a-209 is amended to read:
             134           62A-4a-209. Emergency kinship placement.
             135          (1) The division may use an emergency kinship placement under Subsection 78-3a-301 (4)
             136      when:
             137          (a) the case worker has made the determination that:
             138          (i) the child's home is unsafe;
             139          (ii) removal is necessary under the provisions of Section 78-3a-301; and
             140          (iii) the child's custodial parent or guardian will agree to not remove the child from the
             141      relative's home who serves as the kinship placement and not have any contact with the child until
             142      after the shelter hearing required by Section 78-3a-306 ;
             143          (b) a relative, with preference being given to a noncustodial parent in accordance with
             144      Section 78-3a-307 , can be identified who has the ability and is willing to provide care for the child
             145      who would otherwise be placed in shelter care, including:
             146          (i) taking the child to medical, mental health, dental, and educational appointments at the
             147      request of the division; and
             148          (ii) the relative has the ability to make the child available to division services and the
             149      guardian ad litem; and
             150          (c) the relative agrees to care for the child on an emergency basis under the following
             151      conditions:


             152          (i) the relative meets the criteria for an emergency kinship placement under Subsection (2);
             153          (ii) the relative agrees to not allow the custodial parent or guardian to have any contact
             154      with the child until after the shelter hearing unless authorized by the division in writing;
             155          (iii) the relative agrees to contact law enforcement and the division if the custodial parent
             156      or guardian attempts to make unauthorized contact with the child;
             157          (iv) the relative agrees to allow the division and the child's guardian ad litem to have
             158      access to the child;
             159          (v) the relative has been informed and understands that the division may continue to search
             160      for other possible kinship placements for long-term care, if needed;
             161          (vi) the relative is willing to assist the custodial parent or guardian in reunification efforts
             162      at the request of the division, and to follow all court orders; and
             163          (vii) the child is comfortable with the relative.
             164          (2) Before the division places a child in an emergency kinship placement, the division
             165      must:
             166          (a) request the name of a reference and when possible, contact the reference and determine
             167      the answer to the following questions:
             168          (i) would the person identified as a reference place a child in the home of the emergency
             169      kinship placement; and
             170          (ii) are there any other relatives to consider as a possible emergency or long-term
             171      placement for the child;
             172          (b) have the custodial parent or guardian sign an emergency kinship placement agreement
             173      form during the investigation;
             174          (c) complete a criminal background check described in Sections 62A-4a-202.4 and
             175      78-3a-307.1 on all persons living in the relative's household;
             176          (d) complete a home inspection of the relative's home; and
             177          (e) have the emergency kinship placement approved by a family service specialist.
             178          (3) As soon as possible after the emergency placement and prior to the shelter hearing
             179      required by Section 78-3a-306 , the division shall convene a family unity meeting.
             180          (4) After an emergency kinship placement, the division caseworker must:
             181          (a) respond to the emergency kinship placement's calls within one hour if the custodial
             182      parents or guardians attempt to make unauthorized contact with the child or attempt to remove the


             183      child;
             184          (b) complete all removal paperwork, including the notice provided to the custodial parents
             185      and guardians under Section 78-3a-306 ;
             186          (c) contact the attorney general to schedule a shelter hearing;
             187          (d) complete the kinship procedures required in Section 78-3a-307 , including, within five
             188      days after placement, the criminal history record check described in Subsection (5); and
             189          (e) continue to search for other relatives as a possible long-term placement, if needed.
             190          (5) (a) In order to determine the suitability of the kinship placement and to conduct a
             191      background screening and investigation of individuals living in the household in which a child is
             192      placed, each individual living in the household in which the child is placed who has not lived in
             193      the state substantially year round for the most recent five consecutive years ending on the date the
             194      investigation is commenced shall be fingerprinted. If no disqualifying record is identified at the
             195      state level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the division to the Federal Bureau of
             196      Investigation for a national criminal history record check.
             197          (b) The cost of those investigations shall be borne by whomever received placement of
             198      the child, except that the division may pay all or part of the cost of those investigations if the
             199      person with whom the child is placed is unable to pay.
             200          Section 4. Section 78-3a-312 is amended to read:
             201           78-3a-312. Permanency hearing -- Final plan -- Petition for termination of parental
             202      rights filed -- Hearing on termination of parental rights.
             203          (1) (a) When reunification services have been ordered in accordance with Section
             204      78-3a-311 , with regard to a child who is in the custody of the Division of Child and Family
             205      Services, a permanency hearing shall be held by the court no later than 12 months after the original
             206      removal of the child.
             207          (b) When no reunification services were ordered at the dispositional hearing, a permanency
             208      hearing shall be held within 30 days from the date of the dispositional hearing.
             209          (2) (a) If reunification services were ordered by the court in accordance with Section
             210      78-3a-311 , the court shall, at the permanency hearing, determine whether the child may safely be
             211      returned to the custody of [his] the child's parent. If the court finds, by a preponderance of the
             212      evidence, that return of the child would create a substantial risk of detriment to the child's physical
             213      or emotional well-being, the child may not be returned to the custody of [his] the child's parent.


             214      The failure of a parent or guardian to participate in, comply with, in whole or in part, or to meet
             215      the goals of a court approved treatment plan constitutes prima facie evidence that return of the
             216      child to that parent would create a substantial risk of detriment.
             217          (b) In making a determination under this Subsection (2), the court shall review the report
             218      prepared by the Division of Child and Family Services, a report prepared by the child's guardian
             219      ad litem, any report prepared by a foster care citizen review board pursuant to Section 78-3g-103 ,
             220      any evidence regarding the efforts or progress demonstrated by the parent, and the extent to which
             221      the parent cooperated and availed himself of services provided.
             222          (3) (a) With regard to a case where reunification services were ordered by the court, if a
             223      child is not returned to [his] the child's parent or guardian at the permanency hearing, the court
             224      shall order termination of reunification services to the parent, and make a final determination
             225      regarding whether termination of parental rights, adoption, or permanent custody and
             226      guardianship[, or long-term foster care] is the most appropriate final plan for the child, taking into
             227      account the child's primary permanency goal established by the court pursuant to Section
             228      78-3a-311 . If the Division of Child and Family Services documents to the court that there is a
             229      compelling reason that adoption, reunification, guardianship, and kinship placement are not in the
             230      child's best interest, the court may order another planned permanent living arrangement, in
             231      accordance with federal law. If the child clearly desires contact with the parent, the court shall take
             232      the child's desire into consideration in determining the final plan. In addition, the court shall
             233      establish a concurrent plan that identifies the second most appropriate final plan for the child.
             234          (b) The court may not extend reunification services beyond 12 months from the date the
             235      child was initially removed from [his] the child's home, in accordance with the provisions of
             236      Section 78-3a-311 , except that the court may extend reunification services for no more than 90
             237      days if it finds that there has been substantial compliance with the treatment plan, that reunification
             238      is probable within that 90 day period, and that the extension is in the best interest of the child. In
             239      no event may any reunification services extend beyond 15 months from the date the child was
             240      initially removed from [his] the child's home. Delay or failure of a parent to establish paternity or
             241      seek custody does not provide a basis for the court to extend services for that parent beyond that
             242      12-month period.
             243          [(b)] (c) The court may, in its discretion, enter any additional order that it determines to
             244      be in the best interest of the child, so long as that order does not conflict with the requirements and


             245      provisions of [Subsection] Subsections (3)(a) and (b). The court may order the division to provide
             246      protective supervision or other services to a child and the child's family after the division's custody
             247      of a child has been terminated.
             248          (4) If the final plan for the child is to proceed toward termination of parental rights, the
             249      petition for termination of parental rights shall be filed, and a pretrial held, within 45 calendar days
             250      after the permanency hearing.
             251          (5) Any party to an action may, at any time, petition the court for an expedited permanency
             252      hearing on the basis that continuation of reunification efforts are inconsistent with the permanency
             253      needs of the child. If the court so determines, it shall order, in accordance with federal law, that
             254      the child be placed in accordance with the permanency plan, and that whatever steps are necessary
             255      to finalize the permanent placement of the child be completed as quickly as possible.
             256          (6) Nothing in this section may be construed to:
             257          (a) entitle any parent to reunification services for any specified period of time;
             258          (b) limit a court's ability to terminate reunification services at any time prior to a
             259      permanency hearing; or
             260          (c) limit or prohibit the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights by any party,
             261      or a hearing on termination of parental rights, at any time prior to a permanency hearing. If a
             262      petition for termination of parental rights is filed prior to the date scheduled for a permanency
             263      hearing, the court may consolidate the hearing on termination of parental rights with the
             264      permanency hearing. If the court consolidates the hearing on termination of parental rights with
             265      the permanency hearing, it shall first make a finding whether reasonable efforts have been made
             266      by the Division of Child and Family Services to finalize the permanency goal for the child, and any
             267      reunification services shall be terminated in accordance with the time lines described in Section
             268      78-3a-311 . A decision on the petition for termination of parental rights shall be made within 18
             269      months from the date of the child's removal.
             270          Section 5. Section 78-3a-315 is amended to read:
             271           78-3a-315. Review of foster care removal -- Foster parent's standing.
             272          (1) With regard to a child in the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services who
             273      is the subject of a petition alleging abuse, neglect, or dependency, and who has been placed in
             274      foster care with a foster family, the Legislature finds that:
             275          (a) except with regard to the child's natural parents, a foster family has a very limited but


             276      recognized interest in its familial relationship with the child; and
             277          (b) children in the custody of the division are experiencing multiple changes in foster care
             278      placements with little or no documentation, and that numerous studies of child growth and
             279      development emphasize the importance of stability in foster care living arrangements.
             280          (2) For the reasons described in Subsection (1), the Legislature finds that, except with
             281      regard to the child's natural parents, procedural due process protections must be provided to a
             282      foster family prior to removal of a foster child from their home.
             283          (3) (a) A foster parent who has had a foster child in his custody for 12 months or longer
             284      may petition the juvenile court for a review and determination of the appropriateness of a decision
             285      by the Division of Child and Family Services to remove the child from [his] the child's home,
             286      unless the removal was for the purpose of:
             287          (i) returning the child to [his] the child's natural parent[, or for the immediate placement
             288      of] or legal guardian;
             289          (ii) immediately placing the child in an approved adoptive home[.];
             290          (iii) placing the child with a relative, as defined in Subsection 78-3a-307 (5)(d), who
             291      obtained custody or asserted an interest in the child within the preference period described in
             292      Subsection 78-3a-307 (8); or
             293          (iv) placing an Indian child in accordance with preplacement preferences and other
             294      requirements described in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. Sec. 1915.
             295          (b) The foster parent may petition the court under this section without exhausting
             296      administrative remedies within the division.
             297          (c) The court may order the division to place the child in a specified home, and shall base
             298      its determination on the best interest of the child.
             299          (4) The requirements of this section do not apply to the removal of a child based on a
             300      foster parent's request for that removal.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-3-02 12:05 PM


A limited legal review of this legislation raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


[Bill Documents][Bills Directory]