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S.B. 286 Enrolled

             1     

GRANDPARENTS' VISITATION RIGHTS

             2     
2011 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: David P. Hinkins

             5     
House Sponsor: Christine F. Watkins

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill expands the ability of grandparents to visit with their grandchildren who are in
             10      state custody.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    requires that grandparents are considered for visitation with grandchildren who are
             14      in state custody.
             15      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             16          None
             17      Other Special Clauses:
             18          None
             19      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             20      AMENDS:
             21          62A-4a-205, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2009, Chapter 161
             22     
             23      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             24          Section 1. Section 62A-4a-205 is amended to read:
             25           62A-4a-205. Child and family plan -- Parent-time.
             26          (1) No more than 45 days after a child enters the temporary custody of the division, the
             27      child's child and family plan shall be finalized.
             28          (2) (a) The division may use an interdisciplinary team approach in developing each
             29      child and family plan.


             30          (b) The interdisciplinary team described in Subsection (2)(a) may include
             31      representatives from the following fields:
             32          (i) mental health;
             33          (ii) education; and
             34          (iii) if appropriate, law enforcement.
             35          (3) (a) The division shall involve all of the following in the development of a child's
             36      child and family plan:
             37          (i) both of the child's natural parents, unless the whereabouts of a parent are unknown;
             38          (ii) the child;
             39          (iii) the child's foster parents; and
             40          (iv) if appropriate, the child's stepparent.
             41          (b) In relation to all information considered by the division in developing a child and
             42      family plan, additional weight and attention shall be given to the input of the child's natural and
             43      foster parents upon their involvement pursuant to Subsections (3)(a)(i) and (iii).
             44          (c) (i) The division shall make a substantial effort to develop a child and family plan
             45      with which the child's parents agree.
             46          (ii) If a parent does not agree with a child and family plan:
             47          (A) the division shall strive to resolve the disagreement between the division and the
             48      parent; and
             49          (B) if the disagreement is not resolved, the division shall inform the court of the
             50      disagreement.
             51          (4) A copy of the child and family plan shall, immediately upon completion, or as soon
             52      as reasonably possible thereafter, be provided to the:
             53          (a) guardian ad litem;
             54          (b) child's natural parents; and
             55          (c) child's foster parents.
             56          (5) Each child and family plan shall:
             57          (a) specifically provide for the safety of the child, in accordance with federal law; and


             58          (b) clearly define what actions or precautions will, or may be, necessary to provide for
             59      the health, safety, protection, and welfare of the child.
             60          (6) The child and family plan shall set forth, with specificity, at least the following:
             61          (a) the reason the child entered into the custody of the division;
             62          (b) documentation of the:
             63          (i) reasonable efforts made to prevent placement of the child in the custody of the
             64      division; or
             65          (ii) emergency situation that existed and that prevented the reasonable efforts described
             66      in Subsection (6)(b)(i), from being made;
             67          (c) the primary permanency goal for the child and the reason for selection of that goal;
             68          (d) the concurrent permanency goal for the child and the reason for the selection of that
             69      goal;
             70          (e) if the plan is for the child to return to the child's family:
             71          (i) specifically what the parents must do in order to enable the child to be returned
             72      home;
             73          (ii) specifically how the requirements described in Subsection (6)(e)(i) may be
             74      accomplished; and
             75          (iii) how the requirements described in Subsection (6)(e)(i) will be measured;
             76          (f) the specific services needed to reduce the problems that necessitated placing the
             77      child in the division's custody;
             78          (g) the name of the person who will provide for and be responsible for case
             79      management;
             80          (h) subject to Subsection (10), a parent-time schedule between the natural parent and
             81      the child;
             82          (i) subject to Subsection (7), the health and mental health care to be provided to
             83      address any known or diagnosed mental health needs of the child;
             84          (j) if residential treatment rather than a foster home is the proposed placement, a
             85      requirement for a specialized assessment of the child's health needs including an assessment of


             86      mental illness and behavior and conduct disorders; and
             87          (k) social summaries that include case history information pertinent to case planning.
             88          (7) (a) Subject to Subsection (7)(b), in addition to the information required under
             89      Subsection (6)(i), the plan shall include a specialized assessment of the medical and mental
             90      health needs of a child, if the child:
             91          (i) is placed in residential treatment; and
             92          (ii) has medical or mental health issues that need to be addressed.
             93          (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (7)(a), a parent shall retain the right to seek a separate
             94      medical or mental health diagnosis of the parent's child from a licensed practitioner of the
             95      parent's choice.
             96          (8) (a) Each child and family plan shall be specific to each child and the child's family,
             97      rather than general.
             98          (b) The division shall train its workers to develop child and family plans that comply
             99      with:
             100          (i) federal mandates; and
             101          (ii) the specific needs of the particular child and the child's family.
             102          (c) All child and family plans and expectations shall be individualized and contain
             103      specific time frames.
             104          (d) Subject to Subsection (8)(h), child and family plans shall address problems that:
             105          (i) keep a child in placement; and
             106          (ii) keep a child from achieving permanence in the child's life.
             107          (e) Each child and family plan shall be designed to minimize disruption to the normal
             108      activities of the child's family, including employment and school.
             109          (f) In particular, the time, place, and amount of services, hearings, and other
             110      requirements ordered by the court in the child and family plan shall be designed, as much as
             111      practicable, to help the child's parents maintain or obtain employment.
             112          (g) The child's natural parents, foster parents, and where appropriate, stepparents, shall
             113      be kept informed of and supported to participate in important meetings and procedures related


             114      to the child's placement.
             115          (h) For purposes of Subsection (8)(d), a child and family plan may only include
             116      requirements that:
             117          (i) address findings made by the court; or
             118          (ii) (A) are requested or consented to by a parent or guardian of the child; and
             119          (B) are agreed to by the division and the guardian ad litem.
             120          (9) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (9)(b), with regard to a child who is three
             121      years of age or younger, if the goal is not to return the child home, the permanency plan for that
             122      child shall be adoption.
             123          (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (9)(a), if the division documents to the court that there
             124      is a compelling reason that adoption, reunification, guardianship, and a placement described in
             125      Subsection 78A-6-306 (6)(e) are not in the child's best interest, the court may order another
             126      planned permanent living arrangement in accordance with federal law.
             127          (10) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (10)(b), parent-time may only be denied by a
             128      court order issued pursuant to Subsections 78A-6-312 (2)(a)(ii) and (b).
             129          (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (10)(a), the person designated by the division or a
             130      court to supervise a parent-time session may deny parent-time for that session if the supervising
             131      person determines that, based on the parent's condition, it is necessary to deny parent-time in
             132      order to:
             133          (i) protect the physical safety of the child;
             134          (ii) protect the life of the child; or
             135          (iii) consistent with Subsection (10)(c), prevent the child from being traumatized by
             136      contact with the parent.
             137          (c) In determining whether the condition of the parent described in Subsection (10)(b)
             138      will traumatize a child, the person supervising the parent-time session shall consider the impact
             139      that the parent's condition will have on the child in light of:
             140          (i) the child's fear of the parent; and
             141          (ii) the nature of the alleged abuse or neglect.


             142          (11) The division shall consider visitation with their grandparents for children in state
             143      custody if the division determines visitation to be in the best interest of the child and:
             144          (a) there are no safety concerns regarding the behavior or criminal background of the
             145      grandparents;
             146          (b) allowing visitation would not compete with or undermine reunification goals;
             147          (c) there is a substantial relationship between the grandparents and children; and
             148          (d) the visitation will not unduly burden the foster parents.


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