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S.B. 93






Chief Sponsor: Allen M. Christensen

House Sponsor: Gage Froerer

             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This bill amends provisions of the Child and Family Services chapter of the Utah
             11      Human Services Code relating to reports submitted to the Child Welfare Legislative
             12      Oversight Panel.
             13      Highlighted Provisions:
             14          This bill:
             15          .    provides that the report to the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel on cases
             16      not in compliance with statutory time limits is required only from the judicial
             17      branch and not the Division of Child and Family Services and the attorney general;
             18          .    adds compliance with the time limits relating to shelter hearings to the report
             19      described in the preceding paragraph; and
             20          .    makes technical changes.
             21      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             22          None
             23      Other Special Clauses:
             24          None
             25      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             26      AMENDS:
             27          62A-4a-207, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapter 323

             29      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             30          Section 1. Section 62A-4a-207 is amended to read:
             31           62A-4a-207. Legislative Oversight Panel -- Responsibilities.
             32          (1) (a) There is created the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel composed of the
             33      following members:
             34          (i) two members of the Senate, one from the majority party and one from the minority
             35      party, appointed by the president of the Senate; and
             36          (ii) three members of the House of Representatives, two from the majority party and
             37      one from the minority party, appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives.
             38          (b) Members of the panel shall serve for two-year terms, or until their successors are
             39      appointed.
             40          (c) A vacancy exists whenever a member ceases to be a member of the Legislature, or
             41      when a member resigns from the panel. Vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority,
             42      and the replacement shall fill the unexpired term.
             43          (2) The president of the Senate shall designate one of the senators appointed to the
             44      panel under Subsection (1) as the Senate chair of the panel. The speaker of the House of
             45      Representatives shall designate one of the representatives appointed to the panel under
             46      Subsection (1) as the House chair of the panel.
             47          (3) The panel shall follow the interim committee rules established by the Legislature.
             48          (4) The panel shall:
             49          (a) examine and observe the process and execution of laws governing the child welfare
             50      system by the executive branch and the judicial branch;
             51          (b) upon request, receive testimony from the public, the juvenile court, and from all
             52      state agencies involved with the child welfare system, including the division, other offices and
             53      agencies within the department, the attorney general's office, the Office of Guardian Ad Litem,
             54      and school districts;
             55          (c) before October 1 of each year, receive [reports from the division, the attorney
             56      general, and] a report from the judicial branch identifying the cases not in compliance with the
             57      time limits established in the following sections, and the reasons for noncompliance:
             58          (i) Subsection 78A-6-306 (1), regarding shelter hearings;

             59          (ii) Section 78A-6-309 , regarding pretrial and adjudication hearings[,];
             60          (iii) Section 78A-6-312 , regarding dispositional hearings and reunification services[,];
             61      and
             62          (iv) Section 78A-6-314 , regarding permanency hearings and petitions for termination[,
             63      and the reasons for the noncompliance];
             64          (d) receive recommendations from, and make recommendations to the governor, the
             65      Legislature, the attorney general, the division, the Office of Guardian Ad Litem, the juvenile
             66      court, and the public;
             67          (e) (i) receive reports from the executive branch and the judicial branch on budgetary
             68      issues impacting the child welfare system; and
             69          (ii) recommend, as the panel considers advisable, budgetary proposals to the Health
             70      and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee and the Executive Offices and Criminal
             71      Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, which recommendation should be made before
             72      December 1 of each year;
             73          (f) study and recommend proposed changes to laws governing the child welfare
             74      system;
             75          (g) study actions the state can take to preserve, unify, and strengthen the child's family
             76      ties whenever possible in the child's best interest, including recognizing the constitutional
             77      rights and claims of parents whenever those family ties are severed or infringed;
             78          (h) perform such other duties related to the oversight of the child welfare system as the
             79      panel considers appropriate; and
             80          (i) annually report the panel's findings and recommendations to the president of the
             81      Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the Health and Human Services Interim
             82      Committee, and the Judiciary Interim Committee.
             83          (5) (a) The panel has authority to review and discuss individual cases.
             84          (b) When an individual case is discussed, the panel's meeting may be closed pursuant
             85      to Title 52, Chapter 4, Open and Public Meetings Act.
             86          (c) When discussing an individual case, the panel shall make reasonable efforts to
             87      identify and consider the concerns of all parties to the case.
             88          (6) (a) The panel has authority to make recommendations to the Legislature, the
             89      governor, the Board of Juvenile Court Judges, the division, and any other statutorily created

             90      entity related to the policies and procedures of the child welfare system. The panel does not
             91      have authority to make recommendations to the court, the division, or any other public or
             92      private entity regarding the disposition of any individual case.
             93          (b) The panel may hold public hearings, as it considers advisable, in various locations
             94      within the state in order to afford all interested persons an opportunity to appear and present
             95      their views regarding the child welfare system in this state.
             96          (7) (a) All records of the panel regarding individual cases shall be classified private,
             97      and may be disclosed only in accordance with federal law and the provisions of Title 63G,
             98      Chapter 2, Government Records Access and Management Act.
             99          (b) The panel shall have access to all of the division's records, including those
             100      regarding individual cases. In accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 2, Government Records
             101      Access and Management Act, all documents and information received by the panel shall
             102      maintain the same classification that was designated by the division.
             103          (8) In order to accomplish its oversight functions, the panel has:
             104          (a) all powers granted to legislative interim committees in Section 36-12-11 ; and
             105          (b) legislative subpoena powers under Title 36, Chapter 14, Legislative Subpoena
             106      Powers.
             107          (9) Members of the panel shall receive salary and expenses in accordance with Section
             108      36-2-2 .
             109          (10) (a) The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel shall provide staff
             110      support to the panel.
             111          (b) The panel is authorized to employ additional professional assistance and other staff
             112      members as it considers necessary and appropriate.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-17-11 7:12 AM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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