senate Bill S7667

Requires written comments to be included in reports provided by local social services districts on the death of certain children

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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

  • 27 / May / 2014
    • REFERRED TO SOCIAL SERVICES
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1622
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • SUBSTITUTED BY A9702

Summary

Requires written comments to be included in reports provided by local social services districts in reports on the death of certain children.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A9702
Versions:
S7667
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง20, Soc Serv L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7667

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation
to requiring written comments to be included in reports by local
social services districts on the death of certain children

PURPOSE: To prevent future child deaths by improving child fatality
reports through inclusion of LDSS comments.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends section 20, subdivision 5-b of the Social Services
law to allow for written comments by local social services districts
in child fatality reports. Subdivision 5-C is amended to require the
office of Children and family Services to forward the proposed report
to local social service districts referenced in the report thirty days
prior to its release, and allows the districts twenty days to provide
written comments to the department to be included in the report.

JUSTIFICATION: OCFS child fatality reports do not detail
circumstances of children's deaths. Instead, these reports audit LDSS
actions. In the vast majority of fatalities LDSS actions are
immaterial to the fatality. The statute does not provide localities
the opportunity to comment. LDSS' have voiced two significant
concerns. First, these reports detail state regulatory requirements
immaterial to a child's death, creating a false impression that
immaterial regulatory issues somehow are connected to fatality. More
significantly, these reports do not adequately address circumstances
of death, thereby missing valuable opportunities to learn from each
child's fatality to enable our State to consider measures to prevent
future child death. There are many examples. Reports about children
dying from drug misuse, dangerous consumer products, drowning, fires,
suicide, automobile collisions and window falls do not detail these
circumstances with recommended measures to prevent future similar
deaths. Permitting LDSS comments will provide a more balanced
perspective on technical regulatory compliance issues. More
significantly, LDSS' will be able to shed light on circumstances
surrounding these children's deaths, thereby enhancing NY State's
ability to pre vent future deaths. This will enable policymakers and
lawmakers to use these reports as intended, as learning opportunities
to prevent future child death. At no cost, this important amendment
will save children's lives.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Undetermined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                  7667

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              May 27, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  FELDER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Social Services

AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to requiring  writ-
  ten  comments  to  be  included  in  reports  by local social services
  districts on the death of certain children

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

  Section  1. Subdivision 5 of section 20 of the social services law, as
amended by chapter 12 of the laws of 1996, paragraph (a) as  amended  by
section 1 of part D of chapter 501 of the laws of 2012 and paragraph (d)
as  amended  by  chapter  136 of the laws of 1999, is amended to read as
follows:
  5. (a) In the case of the death of a child whose care and  custody  or
custody  and  guardianship has been transferred to an authorized agency,
other than a vulnerable person as defined  in  article  eleven  of  this
chapter, or the death of a child for whom any local department of social
services  has  an  open child protective services or preventive services
case, or in the case of a report made to the statewide central  register
of  child  abuse  and  maltreatment  involving the death of a child, the
office of children and family services shall (i) investigate or  provide
for  an investigation of the cause of and circumstances surrounding such
death, (ii) review such investigation, and (iii)  prepare  and  issue  a
report  on  such  death,  except where a report is issued by an approved
local or regional fatality review team in accordance with  section  four
hundred twenty-two-b of this chapter.
  (b)  Such  report  shall  include (i) the cause of death, whether from
natural or other causes, (ii)  identification  of  child  protective  or
other services provided or actions taken regarding such child and his or
her  family, (iii) any extraordinary or pertinent information concerning
the circumstances of the child's death, (iv) whether the  child  or  the
child's family had received assistance, care or services from the social
services district prior to such child's death, (v) any action or further
investigation  undertaken  by  the  department  or  by  the local social
services district since the death of the child, [and] (vi) as  appropri-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD14989-01-4

S. 7667                             2

ate,  recommendations  for  local  or  state  administrative  or  policy
changes, AND (VII) WRITTEN COMMENTS AS MAY  BE  PROVIDED  BY  ANY  LOCAL
SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT REFERENCED IN SUCH REPORT.
  Such  report shall contain no information that would identify the name
of the deceased child, his or her siblings, the parent or  other  person
legally  responsible  for  the child or any other members of the child's
household, but shall refer instead to the case, which may be denoted  in
any  fashion  determined appropriate by the department or a local social
services district. In making a fatality report available to  the  public
pursuant  to  paragraph  (c)  of  this  subdivision,  the department may
respond to a child specific request for such report if the  commissioner
determines that such disclosure is not contrary to the best interests of
the deceased child's siblings or other children in the household, pursu-
ant  to  subdivision  five  of section four hundred twenty-two-a of this
chapter. Except as it may apply directly to the cause of  the  death  of
the  child,  nothing  herein shall be deemed to authorize the release or
disclosure to the public of the substance or content of  any  psycholog-
ical, psychiatric, therapeutic, clinical or medical reports, evaluations
or like materials or information pertaining to such child or the child's
family.
  (c)  THIRTY  DAYS  PRIOR  TO  THE RELEASE OF THE REPORT THE DEPARTMENT
SHALL FORWARD THE PROPOSED REPORT TO EACH LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT
REFERENCED IN THE REPORT.  WITHIN  TWENTY  DAYS  THEREAFTER  EACH  LOCAL
SOCIAL  SERVICES DISTRICT MAY PROVIDE WRITTEN COMMENTS WHICH THE DEPART-
MENT SHALL INCLUDE WITHIN THE REPORT. No later than six months from  the
date of the death of such child, the department shall forward its report
to  the social services district, chief county executive officer, chair-
person of the local legislative body of the  county  where  the  child's
death  occurred  and  the  social  services  district which had care and
custody or custody and guardianship of  the  child,  if  different.  The
department  shall  notify  the temporary president of the senate and the
speaker of the assembly as to the issuance of such reports and, in addi-
tion to the requirements of section seventeen  of  this  chapter,  shall
submit  an  annual cumulative report to the governor and the legislature
incorporating the data in the above reports  and  including  appropriate
findings  and  recommendations.  Such  reports concerning the death of a
child and such cumulative reports shall immediately thereafter  be  made
available to the public after such forwarding or submittal.
  (d) To enable the office of children and family services or a local or
regional  fatality  review  team  to  prepare such report, the office of
children and family services or a local or regional fatality review team
may request and shall timely receive from departments,  boards,  bureaus
or other agencies of the state, or any of its political subdivisions, or
any  duly  authorized agency, or any other agency which provided assist-
ance, care or services to the deceased child such  information  as  they
are authorized to provide.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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