senate Bill S157

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Provides legal assistance to youth ordered by the court into the custody of the office of children and family services and placed or committed to a state operated juvenile detention center

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to mental health and developmental disabilities
Jan 09, 2013 referred to mental health and developmental disabilities

S157 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Mental Health And Developmental Disabilities
Law Section:
Mental Hygiene Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§47.01 & 47.03, Ment Hyg L; add §508-a, Exec L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S3074
2009-2010: S6678

S157 - Bill Texts

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Provides legal assistance to youth ordered by the court into the custody of the office of children and family services and placed or committed to a state operated juvenile detention center.

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BILL NUMBER:S157

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the mental hygiene law and the executive law, in relation to
providing legal assistance to youth ordered by the court into the
custody of the office of children and family services and placed or
committed to a state operated juvenile detention center

PURPOSE:
This bill expands the scope of the Mental Hygiene Legal Services
(MHLS) by directing and authorizing it to provide legal services and
assistance to youth ordered by the court into the custody of the
Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and placed or committed
to a state operated juvenile detention center.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Sections 1 and 2 of the bill amends subdivision (a) of section 47.01
and adds a new subdivision (d) to section 47.03 of the mental hygiene
law to expand the scope of the MHLS to include the provision of legal
assistance related to the retention, care and treatment to youth
order by the court into the custody of OCFS and placed or committed
to a state operated juvenile detention center.

Section 3 of the bill adds a new section 508-a of the executive law
entitled "Legal Services and Assistance to youth" to provide for the
legal representation of youth in the custody of OCFS and placed or
committed to a state operated juvenile detention center by MHLS.

Section 4 of the bill provides that the bill shall take effect on the
90th day after enactment.

EXISTING LAW:
Article 47 of the Mental Hygiene Law establishes the Mental Hygiene
Legal Services within the Appellate Division and directs it to
provide legal services, assistance and information to patients or
residents and their families related to the admission, retention and
care and treatment of such persons in OMH and OMRDD licensed or
operated facilities.

Article 19-G of the Executive Law includes provisions relating to the
Office of Children and Family Services and the operation of juvenile
detention facilities.

JUSTIFICATION:
In August, 2009 the U.S. Department of Justice wrote to Governor Pater-
son outlining the disturbing results of an investigation it had
conducted of four state operated juvenile detention centers in New
York.
DOJ's findings are in two main areas. First it found that the state
had failed to protect youth, using excessive force and restraints.
Second, it found the state failed to provide mental health care and
treatment.
The details of the report are very disturbing showing that restraint
techniques were routinely uncontrolled, unsafe and departed from
generally accepted standards and OCFS policy. These included holding


or handcuffing a youths arms behind their back and then tripping
them causing the youth to fall forward on their face. The
investigation detailed many serious injuries suffered by youth and
the lack of adequate oversight, corrective action and/or
accountability. It also found that youth with

mental illness were involved in a disproportionately high percentage
of restraint episodes.

NYS operates 19 juvenile justice facilities statewide with no outside
oversight. While just a few years ago the system cared for
approximately 2,000 youth ages 12 to 17 who had been placed in such
facilities by the courts, today there are 546 children placed in
these facilities.

The percentage of youth with mental illness diagnosis placed in
juvenile detention facilities is at least 65% and some estimate the
number of those suffering to be much higher. There are many other
troubling statistics for this population. More than half of the
children are on psychotropic medication. More than half are special
education students with an IEP. A majority of the youth have also
experienced some form of trauma in their life and have been known to
the child welfare system prior to being placed in a juvenile
detention facility.

These factors combined with the appalling findings of inadequate
mental health treatment and treatment plans, insufficient substance
abuse services and improper medication management coupled with
evidence of brutal treatment for behavioral issues clearly
demonstrate that some outside oversight is needed. Mental Hygiene
Legal Services is very well suited to ensure that these children,
while in the residential care of New York State, are provided
appropriate treatment and care in the correct setting.

Mental Hygiene Legal Services, which is part of the Appellate
Division, has a long history of providing legal representation and
advocacy to individuals with mental disabilities regarding their
admission, retention and care and treatment in mental hygiene
facilities. Youth placed in the state's juvenile detention system, a
majority of whom suffer from mental disabilities, clearly require the
independent oversight and assistance of MHLS to protect their civil
rights.

This bill expands MHLS's scope to provide this much needed protection
for a small group of youth in our state who in their short lives have
often suffer many heartbreaking difficulties. This change should help
to transform our juvenile justice system from one of warehousing and
punishment into one of treatment and rehabilitation.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
90 days after enactment, with provisions.


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

                                   157

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Mental Health and Develop-
  mental Disabilities

AN ACT to amend the  mental  hygiene  law  and  the  executive  law,  in
  relation  to  providing legal assistance to youth ordered by the court
  into the custody of the office of children  and  family  services  and
  placed or committed to a state operated juvenile detention center

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

  Section 1. Subdivision (a) of section 47.01 of the mental hygiene law,
as amended by chapter 7 of the laws of  2007,  is  amended  to  read  as
follows:
  (a) There shall be a mental hygiene legal service of the state in each
judicial  department.  The  service  shall  provide  legal assistance to
patients or residents of a facility as defined in section 1.03  of  this
chapter,  or  any  other  place or facility which is required to have an
operating certificate pursuant to article sixteen or thirty-one of  this
chapter,  and  to persons alleged to be in need of care and treatment in
such facilities or places, and to persons entitled to such legal assist-
ance as provided by article ten of this chapter.    THE  SERVICES  SHALL
ALSO  PROVIDE  LEGAL  ASSISTANCE  TO YOUTH ORDERED BY THE COURT INTO THE
CUSTODY OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND  FAMILY  SERVICES  AND  PLACED  OR
COMMITTED  TO  A  STATE  OPERATED JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER. The head of
such service in each judicial department and such  assistants  and  such
staff  as  may be necessary shall be appointed and may be removed by the
presiding justice of the appellate division of the judicial  department.
Appointments  and  transfers  to  the  service  shall  comply  with  the
provisions of the civil service law. Standards for qualifications of the
personnel in the service shall be established by the  presiding  justice
of  the  appellate  division  of  the judicial department. The presiding

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02011-01-3

S. 157                              2

justice of the appellate  division  of  the  judicial  department  shall
promulgate  such  rules or regulations as may be necessary to effectuate
the purposes of this article.
  S  2. Section 47.03 of the mental hygiene law, as added by chapter 789
of the laws of 1985, subdivision (c) as amended by chapter  408  of  the
laws of 1999, subdivisions (d) and (e) as amended and subdivision (f) as
added by chapter 7 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows:
S 47.03 Functions, powers and duties of the service.
  The  mental  hygiene  legal service in each judicial department of the
state shall perform the following duties:
  (a) To study and review the admission and retention of all patients or
residents which shall include a review of the willingness of the patient
or resident to remain in his or her status and the determination of  the
facility  director  as to suitability of such status, as provided for by
this chapter;
  (b) To inform patients or  residents  and,  in  proper  cases,  others
interested  in  such  persons'  welfare  of procedures for admission and
retention and of the patients' or  residents'  right  to  have  judicial
hearing  and  review,  to  be  represented by legal counsel, and to seek
independent medical opinion;
  (c) To provide legal services and assistance to patients or  residents
and  their  families  related  to the admission, retention, and care and
treatment of such persons, to provide legal services and  assistance  to
subjects of a petition or patients subject to section 9.60 of this chap-
ter,  and to inform patients or residents, their families and, in proper
cases, others interested in the patients' or residents' welfare  of  the
availability  of  other  legal  resources  which may be of assistance in
matters not directly related to the admission, retention, and  care  and
treatment of such patients or residents;
  (d)  TO  PROVIDE  LEGAL  SERVICES  AND ASSISTANCE TO YOUTH RESIDING IN
JUVENILE DETENTION CENTERS AND THEIR FAMILIES RELATED TO THE  RETENTION,
CARE  AND TREATMENT OF SUCH PERSONS, AND TO INFORM YOUTH AND THEIR FAMI-
LIES AND IN PROPER CASES, OTHERS INTERESTED IN THE YOUTHS'  WELFARE,  OF
THE  AVAILABILITY OF OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES WHICH MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE IN
MATTERS NOT DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE RETENTION,  CARE  AND  TREATMENT  OF
SUCH YOUTH;
  (E) To be granted access at any and all times to any facility or place
or  part  thereof  described in subdivision (a) of section 47.01 of this
article, and to all books, records  and  data  pertaining  to  any  such
facility  or  place  deemed  necessary  for  carrying out its functions,
powers and duties. The mental hygiene legal service may require from the
officers or employees of such facility or place any  information  deemed
necessary  for  the  purpose  of  carrying  out the service's functions,
powers and duties. Information, books, records or data which are  confi-
dential  and  any limitations on the release thereof imposed by law upon
the party furnishing the information, books, records or data shall apply
to  the  service.  Provided,  however,  whenever   federal   regulations
restrict,  or  as  a  condition  of  federal aid require that a facility
restrict the release of information contained in the clinical record  of
a patient or client, or restrict disclosure of the identity of a patient
or  access  to  that  patient, to a greater extent than is allowed under
this section, the provisions of such federal law or  federal  regulation
shall be controlling;
  [(e)]  (F)  To  initiate and take any legal action deemed necessary to
safeguard the right of any patient [or], resident OR YOUTH to protection
from abuse or mistreatment, which may  include  investigation  into  any

S. 157                              3

such  allegations  of abuse or mistreatment of any such patient or resi-
dent; and
  [(f)]  (G) To provide legal services and assistance in accordance with
article ten of this chapter.
  S 3. The executive law is amended by adding a  new  section  508-a  to
read as follows:
  S  508-A.  LEGAL SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE TO YOUTH.  IN ADDITION TO ANY
LAW GUARDIAN, COURT APPOINTED COUNSEL OR PRIVATE  COUNSEL  A  YOUTH  MAY
HAVE,  THE  MENTAL  HYGIENE LEGAL SERVICE IN EACH JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT OF
THE STATE, ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE  FORTY-SEVEN  OF  THE  MENTAL
HYGIENE  LAW,  SHALL  PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE TO YOUTH AND
THEIR FAMILY RELATING TO THE RETENTION, CARE AND TREATMENT OF SUCH YOUTH
WHEN SUCH YOUTH IS ORDERED BY THE COURT INTO THE CUSTODY OF  THE  OFFICE
OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES AND PLACED OR COMMITTED TO A STATE OPER-
ATED JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER.
  S  4.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law; provided, however, that the amendments to subdivision
(c) of section 47.03 of the mental hygiene law made by  section  two  of
this  act shall not affect the expiration and reversion of such subdivi-
sion and shall be deemed to expire therewith.  Further provided,  effec-
tive  immediately,  the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or
regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective
date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on  or  before
such effective date.

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