On April 23, 2012, Governor Dayton signed S.F. 1675/ H.F. 1967 into law. This blog post will take an in depth look into Article 1. Future blog posts will address the remaining articles.
Article 1: Children and Families Policy Provisions
- Child Maltreatment Review Panel has been eliminated.
- MFIP transitional standard breakdown of food and cash has been taken out of statute and the standard will be published annually by the Department of Human Services.
- The venue for adoption proceedings shall occur in the county where the petitioner resides with the exception of children under guardianship of the commissioner.
- Siblings shall be placed together unless it has been determined that placement together is not in the best interest of a sibling after weighing the benefits of separate placement against the benefits of sibling connection for each sibling.
- Permanency Progress Reviews required for all children in foster care for 6 months. Each review shall address the following:
- Progress of the case;
- Active efforts for reunification;
- Reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan and make a placement in a home that will commit to being a legal permanent family for the child; and
- Active efforts to prevent the breakup of the Indian family and make placement according to placement preference under US Code, title 25,chapter 21, section 1915.
- Notice of Court Proceeding to Relatives is required for relatives who:
- Respond to the agency's notice indicating an interest in participating in planning for the child or being a permanency resource and has kept the court apprised of their address; or
- Has asked to be notified of court proceedings regarding the child.
- Parental non-compliance with out-of-home placement plans or visitation schedules: Courts may order social services to:
- Develop a plan for legally permanent placement;
- Consider, identify, recruit or support one or more permanency resources from the child's relatives and foster parent to become a legally permanent home in the event a child cannot return home (any relative or foster parent must comply with background study and home study requirements)
- Independent Living Skills Plan must be completed for all children in out-of-home care who are 16 and older. An additional requirement of the plan is that youth must receive a free copy of their consumer credit report and the agency shall assist in the interpretation and resolution of inaccuracies.
- Placement Factors for Children: These have expanded from 8 to 10 factors. The placement factors did not change but statute now separates educational, medical and developmental needs.
- Court jurisdiction continues following a termination of parental rights and a parents consent to adopt until:
- The child is adopted;
- Until the child reaches the age of majority; or
- As long as the child continues or reenters foster care.
- Parents whose rights have been terminated retain the ability to enter into a contact/communication agreement if the court determines it to be in the best interest of the child.
- Transfer of Custody term moving toward the term Guardianship.
- Adoption language for Children Not Under State Guardianship is moving to 259C.
- Birth match data is being used when a child is the subject of a report alleging threatened harm.
How might these changes affect the child welfare system and service delivery? What changes will you need to make in your practice to address these changes?
*image courtesy of Child Welfare League of America