senate Bill S1345

Amended

Provides for notification to the state when a foster home is decertified, not renewed or a child is removed; requires evaluation to determine if home be re-opened

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 06 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • 30 / Apr / 2012
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.617
  • 01 / May / 2012
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 02 / May / 2012
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 08 / May / 2012
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 08 / May / 2012
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 08 / May / 2012
    • REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • 12 / Jun / 2012
    • RECALLED FROM ASSEMBLY
  • 12 / Jun / 2012
    • RETURNED TO SENATE
  • 12 / Jun / 2012
    • VOTE RECONSIDERED - RESTORED TO THIRD READING
  • 12 / Jun / 2012
    • AMENDED ON THIRD READING 1345A
  • 21 / Jun / 2012
    • COMMITTED TO RULES

Summary

Provides for notification to the state when a foster home is decertified, not renewed or a child is removed; requires evaluation to determine if certificate should be issued and the home be re-opened.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S1345
S1345A
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§376, 377 & 379, Soc Serv L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Cycle:
S1078

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1345

TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the social services law, in relation to foster home
decertification, application for recertification, authorization for
non-renewal, notice of removal of a child, and other required notices

PURPOSE:
To protect foster children from being placed in a home which has previ-
ously been found to be unsuitable for providing care.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 and 2 amend sections 376 and 377 of the Social Services Law,
by requiring that when an agency or local social services commissioner
is screening a prospective foster parent to be certified or licensed,
the agency or local commissioner must inquire with OCFS whether the
applicant has ever been a foster parent before, and, if so, whether the
certificate or license was revoked, not renewed, or a child was removed
from the home. If any of these instances have occurred, the agency or
commissioner must evaluate the circumstances and the reason(s) for such
action, to determine whether a certificate should be issued and the home
reopened.

Section 3 amends section 379 of the Social Services law, by adding non-
renewal of certificates and licenses and removal of a child, as
instances for notification to OCFS.

EXISTING LAW: Currently, under section 379 of the Social Service Law,
the only requirement to notify OCFS is when a certification or license
is revoked. The law does not require that OCFS be informed as to the
reason(s) why the certification or license was revoked. There is no
statutory requirement for agencies or local social services commission-
ers to make an inquiry to OCFS regarding an applicant's prior history as
a foster parent, before issuing a new certificate or license.

JUSTIFICATION: When a child enters fostercare, the state assumes the
responsibility of providing a safe and secure environment for the child.
However, this is not always the case. According to agency reports and
hearing testimony, there continues to be instances where children are
further abused or even killed by their foster parents.

State statute and regulations currently set screening requirements for
prospective foster parents, including a check against the Statewide
Central Registry of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (The Child Abuse
Hotline), which houses data on reports of abuse and maltreatment against
individuals, including foster parents. However, such a check will only
provide information for reported and investigated cases.

In some cases, when a foster parent is suspected of not providing a safe
and secure environment, the caseworker will remove the child or children
from the home, but will not revoke the certificate or license, or report

the foster parent to the Child Abuse Hotline. Rather, the home remains
open with no children placed there by the agency. Then, when the home is
up for annual renewal, the agency simply does not renew their certif-
ication.

In such cases, the foster parent may simply apply to another agency to
take foster children. Without a formal mechanism in place to check on
the prior history of the applicant and to follow up with any previous
agencies, the new agency could certify the applicant without ever know-
ing about prior problems, and as a result, place more children in
jeopardy.

OCFS does currently have a mechanism for checking information on
prospective foster parents. OCFS' computerized foster parent registry is
intended to house information on all current and former foster parents.
Internal policies direct caseworkers to check the registry before a new
foster parent can be certified and added to the system. However, there
is no formal guidance as to how to evaluate any problems. Further, the
system contains limited information on the reason(s) a home was closed
or a child removed.

This bill would address these gaps by requiring that OCFS maintain a
history of removals, revocations, and non-renewals of certificates and
licenses, including the reason for such actions. It further directs OCFS
to establish regulations to help agencies and local social service
commissioners evaluate the circumstances around such actions, and decide
whether to reopen the home. Similar regulations and procedures already
exist for evaluating indicated reports from the Child Abuse Hotline and
instances where applicants have a criminal history.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009/10: S.1078 - Died in Codes
2008: S.1500 - Referred to Social Services, Children & Families
2007/08: S.1500 - Referred to Social Services, Children & Families
2006: S.2331/A.4373 - Passed Assembly
2003/04: S.4803/A.4530 - Passed Assembly
2001-02: A.6761-A - Passed Assembly
1999-00: A.5591 - Passed Assembly

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on 180th day after it shall become law,
provided however, that effective immediately, the addition, amendment
and/or repeal of any rules or regulations necessary for the
implementation of the forgoing sections of this act on its effective
date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before
such effective date.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1345

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             January 6, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. DILAN, DIAZ, HASSELL-THOMPSON, PARKER -- read twice
  and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee
  on Children and Families

AN ACT to amend the social services law,  in  relation  to  foster  home
  decertification,  application  for  recertification, authorization for
  non-renewal, notice of removal of a child, and other required notices

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 376 of the social services law, as
amended  by  chapter  677  of  the  laws  of 1985, is amended to read as
follows:
  1. An authorized agency which shall board  out  any  [child/or]  CHILD
AND/OR  minor  under the age of eighteen years shall issue to the person
receiving such child and/or minor for board a  certificate  to  receive,
board or keep a [child/or]  CHILD AND/OR minor under the age of eighteen
years.  Prior to issuing such certificate, the agency shall require that
an applicant set forth: his or her employment history, provide  personal
and  employment references and sign a sworn statement indicating whether
the applicant, to the best of  his  or  her  knowledge,  has  ever  been
convicted of a crime in this state or any other jurisdiction.  THE AGEN-
CY  SHALL  ALSO INQUIRE OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES AS
TO WHETHER THE APPLICANT HAS EVER HELD SUCH A CERTIFICATE, OR A  LICENSE
OR APPROVAL AND, IF SO, WHETHER THE CERTIFICATE, LICENSE OR APPROVAL WAS
REVOKED,  NOT  RENEWED,  OR  A  CHILD WAS REMOVED FROM THE HOME, AND THE
REASON THEREFOR. IN  SUCH  INSTANCES,  THE  AGENCY  SHALL  EVALUATE  THE
CIRCUMSTANCES,  PURSUANT  TO  REGULATIONS  ESTABLISHED BY THE OFFICE, TO
DETERMINE WHETHER A CERTIFICATE SHOULD BE ISSUED AND THE HOME RE-OPENED.
Not until all inquiries are completed and  evaluated  shall  the  agency
cause such certificate to be issued.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02668-01-1

S. 1345                             2

  S  2.  Subdivision  1  of  section  377 of the social services law, as
amended by chapter 677 of the laws  of  1985,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  1. Application for a license to receive, board or keep any child shall
be made in writing to the commissioner of [social services] CHILDREN AND
FAMILY  SERVICES  in  and  for  the social services district wherein the
premises to be licensed are located, in the form and  manner  prescribed
by  the  [department]  OFFICE  OF  CHILDREN  AND  FAMILY SERVICES.   The
[department] OFFICE shall require that an applicant set forth:   his  or
her  employment  history, provide personal and employment references and
sign a sworn statement indicating whether, to the best  of  his  or  her
knowledge, he or she has ever been convicted of a crime in this state or
any  other  jurisdiction.    SUCH COMMISSIONER SHALL ALSO INQUIRE OF THE
OFFICE AS TO WHETHER THE APPLICANT HAS EVER HELD SUCH A  LICENSE,  OR  A
CERTIFICATE OR APPROVAL, AND, IF SO, WHETHER THE LICENSE, CERTIFICATE OR
APPROVAL WAS REVOKED, NOT RENEWED, OR A CHILD WAS REMOVED FROM THE HOME,
AND  THE  REASON  THEREFOR.  IN  SUCH INSTANCES, SUCH COMMISSIONER SHALL
EVALUATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES, PURSUANT TO REGULATIONS ESTABLISHED  BY  THE
OFFICE,  TO  DETERMINE  WHETHER  A LICENSE SHOULD BE ISSUED AND THE HOME
RE-OPENED. Not until all inquiries are  completed  and  evaluated  shall
[the]  SUCH  commissioner  [of social services] cause such license to be
issued.
  S 3. Section 379 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 945
of the laws of 1971, subdivision 2 as amended by chapter 555 of the laws
of 1978, is amended to read as follows:
  S 379. Revocation AND NON-RENEWAL of  certificates  and  licenses  AND
REMOVAL  OF A CHILD; NOTIFICATION TO OFFICE. 1. A certificate or license
to receive, board or keep any child and/or minor under the age of  eigh-
teen  years  may  be  revoked  for cause by the authorized agency or the
commissioner of [social services] THE  OFFICE  OF  CHILDREN  AND  FAMILY
SERVICES  by  which it was issued and any such certificate or license to
receive, board or keep any child may be revoked for cause by the commis-
sioner OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES.
  2. An agency revoking OR NOT RENEWING any such certificate and a LOCAL
commissioner of social  services  revoking  OR  NOT  RENEWING  any  such
license  shall  notify  the  [department]  OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY
SERVICES of such [revocation] ACTION at once, AND THE REASON THEREFOR.
  3. ANY TIME AN AGENCY OR LOCAL COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SERVICES REMOVES
A CHILD FROM A CERTIFIED OR LICENSED HOME, SUCH AGENCY  OR  COMMISSIONER
SHALL  NOTIFY  THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES OF THE REMOVAL
AND THE REASON THEREFOR.
  S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
it shall have become a law, provided, however, that effective immediate-
ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any  rules  or  regulations
necessary  for  the implementation of the foregoing sections of this act
on its effective  date  is  authorized  and  directed  to  be  made  and
completed on or before such effective date.

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