senate Bill S417

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

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

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:
S417
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Children And Families
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§376 & 377, Soc Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S1345A
2009-2010: S1078

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S417

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 OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To protect foster children from being placed in a home which has
previously been found to be unsuitable for providing care.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC 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
determine 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before, and, if so, whether the certificate or license was
revoked, not renewed, or a child was removed from the home.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.

JUSTIFICATION:
When a child enters foster care, 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 certification.

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 knowing 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 the local social
services district or authorized agency review any 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.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011/12: S.1345 - Passed Senate; Amended on 3rd Reading - Passed
Assembly
2009/10: S.1078 - Died in Codes

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
180 days following enactment.

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

                                   417

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  DILAN  -- 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  DETERMINE  WHETHER THE APPLICANT HAS EVER HELD SUCH A CERTIF-
ICATE, 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.
  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:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00569-01-3

S. 417                              2

  1. Application for a license to receive, board or keep any child shall
be  made  in writing to the commissioner of [social services] THE OFFICE
OF 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.  THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN  AND
FAMILY SERVICES SHALL ALSO DETERMINE 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,
THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN  AND  FAMILY  SERVICES  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
commissioner  of  [social  services]  THE  OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY
SERVICES cause such license to be issued.
  S 3. 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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