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First Substitute H.B. 216
7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill amends provisions of the Juvenile Court Act of 1996 relating to the provision
10 of reunification services.
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 . defines terms;
14 . creates a presumption that reunification services should not be provided to a birth
15 mother if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the child has fetal
16 alcohol syndrome or was exposed to an illegal or prescription drug that was abused
17 by the child's mother while the child was in utero, if the child was taken into
18 custody for that reason, unless the mother agrees to enroll in, is currently enrolled
19 in, or has recently and successfully completed, a substance abuse treatment program
20 approved by the Department of Human Services;
21 . permits a judge to waive the provisions of this bill under certain circumstances; and
22 . makes technical changes.
23 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
25 Other Special Clauses:
27 Utah Code Sections Affected:
29 62A-4a-205, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2009, Chapter 161
30 78A-6-312, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 322
32 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
33 Section 1. Section 62A-4a-205 is amended to read:
34 62A-4a-205. Child and family plan -- Parent-time.
35 (1) No more than 45 days after a child enters the temporary custody of the division, the
36 child's child and family plan shall be finalized.
37 (2) (a) The division may use an interdisciplinary team approach in developing each
38 child and family plan.
39 (b) The interdisciplinary team described in Subsection (2)(a) may include
40 representatives from the following fields:
41 (i) mental health;
42 (ii) education; and
43 (iii) if appropriate, law enforcement.
44 (3) (a) The division shall involve all of the following in the development of a child's
45 child and family plan:
46 (i) both of the child's natural parents, unless the whereabouts of a parent are unknown;
47 (ii) the child;
48 (iii) the child's foster parents; and
49 (iv) if appropriate, the child's stepparent.
50 (b) In relation to all information considered by the division in developing a child and
51 family plan, additional weight and attention shall be given to the input of the child's natural and
52 foster parents upon their involvement pursuant to Subsections (3)(a)(i) and (iii).
53 (c) (i) The division shall make a substantial effort to develop a child and family plan
54 with which the child's parents agree.
55 (ii) If a parent does not agree with a child and family plan:
56 (A) the division shall strive to resolve the disagreement between the division and the
57 parent; and
58 (B) if the disagreement is not resolved, the division shall inform the court of the
60 (4) A copy of the child and family plan shall, immediately upon completion, or as soon
61 as reasonably possible thereafter, be provided to the:
62 (a) guardian ad litem;
63 (b) child's natural parents; and
64 (c) child's foster parents.
65 (5) Each child and family plan shall:
66 (a) specifically provide for the safety of the child, in accordance with federal law; and
67 (b) clearly define what actions or precautions will, or may be, necessary to provide for
68 the health, safety, protection, and welfare of the child.
69 (6) The child and family plan shall set forth, with specificity, at least the following:
70 (a) the reason the child entered into the custody of the division;
71 (b) documentation of the:
72 (i) reasonable efforts made to prevent placement of the child in the custody of the
73 division; or
74 (ii) emergency situation that existed and that prevented the reasonable efforts described
75 in Subsection (6)(b)(i), from being made;
76 (c) the primary permanency goal for the child and the reason for selection of that goal;
77 (d) the concurrent permanency goal for the child and the reason for the selection of that
79 (e) if the plan is for the child to return to the child's family:
80 (i) specifically what the parents must do in order to enable the child to be returned
82 (ii) specifically how the requirements described in Subsection (6)(e)(i) may be
83 accomplished; and
84 (iii) how the requirements described in Subsection (6)(e)(i) will be measured;
85 (f) the specific services needed to reduce the problems that necessitated placing the
86 child in the division's custody;
87 (g) the name of the person who will provide for and be responsible for case
89 (h) subject to Subsection (10), a parent-time schedule between the natural parent and
90 the child;
91 (i) subject to Subsection (7), the health and mental health care to be provided to
92 address any known or diagnosed mental health needs of the child;
93 (j) if residential treatment rather than a foster home is the proposed placement, a
94 requirement for a specialized assessment of the child's health needs including an assessment of
95 mental illness and behavior and conduct disorders; and
96 (k) social summaries that include case history information pertinent to case planning.
97 (7) (a) Subject to Subsection (7)(b), in addition to the information required under
98 Subsection (6)(i), the plan shall include a specialized assessment of the medical and mental
99 health needs of a child, if the child:
100 (i) is placed in residential treatment; and
101 (ii) has medical or mental health issues that need to be addressed.
102 (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (7)(a), a parent shall retain the right to seek a separate
103 medical or mental health diagnosis of the parent's child from a licensed practitioner of the
104 parent's choice.
105 (8) (a) Each child and family plan shall be specific to each child and the child's family,
106 rather than general.
107 (b) The division shall train its workers to develop child and family plans that comply
109 (i) federal mandates; and
110 (ii) the specific needs of the particular child and the child's family.
111 (c) All child and family plans and expectations shall be individualized and contain
112 specific time frames.
113 (d) Subject to Subsection (8)(h), child and family plans shall address problems that:
114 (i) keep a child in placement; and
115 (ii) keep a child from achieving permanence in the child's life.
116 (e) Each child and family plan shall be designed to minimize disruption to the normal
117 activities of the child's family, including employment and school.
118 (f) In particular, the time, place, and amount of services, hearings, and other
119 requirements ordered by the court in the child and family plan shall be designed, as much as
120 practicable, to help the child's parents maintain or obtain employment.
121 (g) The child's natural parents, foster parents, and where appropriate, stepparents, shall
122 be kept informed of and supported to participate in important meetings and procedures related
123 to the child's placement.
124 (h) For purposes of Subsection (8)(d), a child and family plan may only include
125 requirements that:
126 (i) address findings made by the court; or
127 (ii) (A) are requested or consented to by a parent or guardian of the child; and
128 (B) are agreed to by the division and the guardian ad litem.
129 (9) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (9)(b), with regard to a child who is three
130 years of age or younger, if the goal is not to return the child home, the permanency plan for that
131 child shall be adoption.
132 (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (9)(a), if the division documents to the court that there
133 is a compelling reason that adoption, reunification, guardianship, and a placement described in
134 Subsection 78A-6-306 (6)(e) are not in the child's best interest, the court may order another
135 planned permanent living arrangement in accordance with federal law.
136 (10) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (10)(b), parent-time may only be denied by a
137 court order issued pursuant to Subsections 78A-6-312 [
138 (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (10)(a), the person designated by the division or a
139 court to supervise a parent-time session may deny parent-time for that session if the supervising
140 person determines that, based on the parent's condition, it is necessary to deny parent-time in
141 order to:
142 (i) protect the physical safety of the child;
143 (ii) protect the life of the child; or
144 (iii) consistent with Subsection (10)(c), prevent the child from being traumatized by
145 contact with the parent.
146 (c) In determining whether the condition of the parent described in Subsection (10)(b)
147 will traumatize a child, the person supervising the parent-time session shall consider the impact
148 that the parent's condition will have on the child in light of:
149 (i) the child's fear of the parent; and
150 (ii) the nature of the alleged abuse or neglect.
151 Section 2. Section 78A-6-312 is amended to read:
152 78A-6-312. Dispositional hearing -- Reunification services -- Exceptions.
153 (1) The court may:
154 (a) make any of the dispositions described in Section 78A-6-117 ;
155 (b) place the minor in the custody or guardianship of any:
156 (i) individual; or
157 (ii) public or private entity or agency; or
158 (c) order:
159 (i) protective supervision;
160 (ii) family preservation;
161 (iii) subject to Subsection 78A-6-117 (2)(n)(iii), medical or mental health treatment; or
162 (iv) other services.
163 (2) [
164 and that the minor remain in the custody of the division, the court shall first:
167 services are appropriate for the minor and the minor's family, pursuant to [
168 Subsections (20) through (22).
170 that reunification services are appropriate for the minor and the minor's family, the court shall
171 provide for reasonable parent-time with the parent or parents from whose custody the minor
172 was removed, unless parent-time is not in the best interest of the minor.
174 severe abuse, or severe neglect are involved, neither the division nor the court has any duty to
175 make "reasonable efforts" or to, in any other way, attempt to provide reunification services, or
176 to attempt to rehabilitate the offending parent or parents.
178 paramount concern in determining whether reasonable efforts to reunify should be made.
180 interests of a minor unless the court makes a finding that it is necessary to deny parent-time in
181 order to:
185 the minor's fear of the parent in light of the nature of the alleged abuse or neglect.
187 based solely on a parent's failure to:
192 concurrent permanency goal that shall include:
194 goal will be abandoned in favor of the concurrent permanency goal; and
196 permanency goal.
198 78A-6-314 (1)(b) within 30 days after the day on which the dispositional hearing ends if
199 something other than reunification is initially established as a minor's primary permanency
202 establishment of a final permanency plan under Section 78A-6-314 .
204 event that the primary permanency goal is abandoned.
206 primary permanency goal, the court shall conduct a permanency hearing in accordance with
207 Section 78A-6-314 on or before the earlier of:
209 this Subsection [
211 78A-6-314 , ends.
213 it shall order that the division make reasonable efforts to provide services to the minor and the
214 minor's parent for the purpose of facilitating reunification of the family, for a specified period
215 of time.
217 minor's health, safety, and welfare shall be the division's paramount concern, and the court
218 shall so order.
221 child and family plan constitute "reasonable efforts" on the part of the division;
223 family plan in accordance with Subsection 62A-4a-205 (6)(e); and
226 provision of reasonable efforts, in accordance with state and federal law.
228 from the date that the minor was initially removed from the minor's home, unless the time
229 period is extended under Subsection 78A-6-314 (8).
231 months of reunification services.
233 services at any time.
235 determined to be inconsistent with the final permanency plan for the minor established
236 pursuant to Section 78A-6-314 , then measures shall be taken, in a timely manner, to:
239 the minor.
241 period described in [
242 running of the period.
244 conducted by the court in accordance with Section 78A-6-314 at the expiration of the time
245 period for reunification services.
247 original removal of the minor.
249 conducted within 30 days, in accordance with Section 78A-6-314 .
251 minor is initially removed from the home, the court shall:
253 pursuant to Section 78A-6-314 ; and
255 removal of the minor from the home if the parent or parents have not made substantial efforts
256 to comply with the child and family plan.
258 are ordered to receive reunification services but who have abandoned that minor for a period of
259 six months from the date that reunification services were ordered:
263 78A-6-314 , the court shall attempt to keep the minor's sibling group together if keeping the
264 sibling group together is:
268 permanency for minors who are abused, neglected, or dependent, the Legislature finds that a
269 parent's interest in receiving reunification services is limited.
270 (b) The court may determine that:
271 (i) efforts to reunify a minor with the minor's family are not reasonable or appropriate,
272 based on the individual circumstances; and
273 (ii) reunification services should not be provided.
274 (c) In determining "reasonable efforts" to be made with respect to a minor, and in
275 making "reasonable efforts," the minor's health, safety, and welfare shall be the paramount
278 to a parent if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that any of the following
279 circumstances exist:
281 indicating that a reasonably diligent search has failed to locate the parent;
283 illness of such magnitude that it renders the parent incapable of utilizing reunification services;
285 abuse, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation, and following the adjudication the minor:
296 parent, if the parent knew or reasonably should have known that the person was abusing the
299 parent, and the court finds that it would not benefit the minor to pursue reunification services
300 with the offending parent;
303 occasions and reunification services were offered or provided to the family at those times;
306 location where the parent knew or should have known that a clandestine laboratory operation
307 was located; [
308 (k) except as provided in Subsection (22)(b), with respect to a parent who is the child's
309 birth mother, the child has fetal alcohol syndrome or was exposed to an illegal or prescription
310 drug that was abused by the child's mother while the child was in utero, if the child was taken
311 into division custody for that reason, unless the mother agrees to enroll in, is currently enrolled
312 in, or has recently and successfully completed, a substance abuse program approved by the
313 department; or
315 efforts or services.
317 competent evidence from at least two medical or mental health professionals, who are not
318 associates, establishing that, even with the provision of services, the parent is not likely to be
319 capable of adequately caring for the minor within 12 months after the day on which the court
320 finding is made.
321 (b) A judge may disregard the provisions of Subsection (21)(k) if the court finds, under
322 the circumstances of the case, that the substance abuse treatment described in Subsection
323 (21)(k) is not warranted.
325 take into consideration:
326 (a) failure of the parent to respond to previous services or comply with a previous child
327 and family plan;
328 (b) the fact that the minor was abused while the parent was under the influence of
329 drugs or alcohol;
330 (c) any history of violent behavior directed at the child or an immediate family
332 (d) whether a parent continues to live with an individual who abused the minor;
333 (e) any patterns of the parent's behavior that have exposed the minor to repeated abuse;
334 (f) testimony by a competent professional that the parent's behavior is unlikely to be
335 successful; and
336 (g) whether the parent has expressed an interest in reunification with the minor.
338 Subsections (20) through (22), and the whereabouts of a parent become known within six
339 months after the day on which the out-of-home placement of the minor is made, the court may
340 order the division to provide reunification services.
341 (b) The time limits described in [
342 tolled by the parent's absence.
344 reasonable services unless it determines that those services would be detrimental to the minor.
345 (b) In making the determination described in Subsection [
347 (i) the age of the minor;
348 (ii) the degree of parent-child bonding;
349 (iii) the length of the sentence;
350 (iv) the nature of the treatment;
351 (v) the nature of the crime or illness;
352 (vi) the degree of detriment to the minor if services are not offered;
353 (vii) for a minor 10 years of age or older, the minor's attitude toward the
354 implementation of family reunification services; and
355 (viii) any other appropriate factors.
356 (c) Reunification services for an incarcerated parent are subject to the time [
357 limitations imposed in [
358 (d) Reunification services for an institutionalized parent are subject to the time
360 through (18), unless the court determines that continued reunification services would be in the
361 minor's best interest.
363 court does not order reunification services, a permanency hearing shall be conducted within 30
364 days, in accordance with Section 78A-6-314 .
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