Bill Text - HB395 (2011)

Establishing a child protection study committee.


Revision: Aug. 29, 2011, midnight

HB 395 – AS INTRODUCED

2011 SESSION

11-0546

05/10

HOUSE BILL 395

AN ACT establishing a child protection study committee.

SPONSORS: Rep. Itse, Rock 9; Rep. Ingbretson, Graf 5; Rep. Sorg, Graf 3; Rep. Baldasaro, RockĀ 3; Rep. Comerford, Rock 9

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

ANALYSIS

This bill establishes a child protection study committee to audit the performance and finances of the judicial branch family division, the division of children youth and families, the division of child support services, the guardian ad litem board, child advocacy centers, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

11-0546

05/10

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT establishing a child protection study committee.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Subdivision; Child Protection Study Committee. Amend RSA 169-C by inserting after section 39-i the following new subdivision.

Child Protection Study Committee

169-C:39-j Child Protection Study Committee Established.

I. There is established a child protection study committee to audit the performance and finances of the judicial branch family division, the division of children youth and families, the division of child support services, the guardian ad litem board, and child advocacy centers.

II.(a) The voting members of the committee shall be as follows:

(1) Six members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, none of whom shall be an officer of the court.

(2) Three members of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate, none of whom shall be an officer of the court.

(b) The non-voting members of the committee shall be as follows:

(1) Two members who are family law attorneys, appointed by the governor to advise the committee.

(2) Two members who are medical professionals, appointed by the governor to advise the committee.

(3) Two members who are child psychologists or psychiatrists, appointed by the governor to advise the committee.

(c) Legislative members of the committee shall receive mileage at the legislative rate when attending to the duties of the committee.

III. The duties of the committee shall be as follows:

(a) To audit the following activities and characteristics of the judicial branch family division:

(1) The acquisition and disposition of Title IV funds.

(2) The acquisition and disposition of state funds.

(3) The acquisition and disposition of fines and fees.

(4) The appeal of judicial decisions to superior courts to determine if there are any anomalies in frequency attributed to any court or judge.

(5) The disposition of complaints to the judicial conduct committee.

(6) Adherence to the rules of the court, particularly rules of evidence.

(7) Adherence to the laws of the state, particularly in the calculation of child support.

(8) The frequency with which guardians ad litem exceed the scope of their appointment without action by the court and without opportunity for objection by the parties.

(9) The frequency with which unlicensed guardians ad litem are assigned by the court and any patterns thereto.

(10) Any related matter identified by the committee.

(b) To audit the following activities and characteristics of the department of health and human services, division of children youth and families:

(1) The acquisition and disposition of Title IV funds.

(2) The acquisition and disposition of state funds.

(3) Adherence to the rules of the department of health and human services.

(4) Adherence to the laws of the state.

(5) The frequency with which reports are investigated.

(6) The frequency with which investigations are determined founded.

(7) The frequency with which children removed from the home are placed with family members.

(8) The frequency with which children removed from the home are reunited with their families.

(9) The frequency with which children removed from the home are adopted.

10) The frequency with which investigations utilize child advocacy centers.

(11) Any related matter identified by the committee.

(c) To audit the following activities and characteristics of the department of health and human services, division of child support services:

(1) The receipt and disposition of monies held on account for children.

(2) Any related matter identified by the committee.

(d) To audit the following activities and characteristics of the guardian ad litem board:

(1) The frequency with which complaints are made to the guardian ad litem board.

(2) The disposition of complaints made to the guardian ad litem board.

(3) The qualifications and licensing of guardians ad litem.

(4) Any related matter identified by the committee.

(e) To audit the following activities and characteristics of child advocacy centers:

(1) The frequency with which child advocacy centers find exculpatory evidence.

(2) The frequency with which child advocacy centers record interviews.

(3) The frequency with which child advocacy centers provide interview results to defendants.

(4) The frequency with which child advocacy centers deny interview results to defendants.

(5) Any related matter identified by the committee.

(f) To audit the following activities and characteristics of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation:

(1) All funds received by the foundation.

(2) All funds expended by the foundation.

(g) To receive any petitions, including petitions of redress, referred to the committee by the speaker of the house of representatives.

IV.(a) For the purpose of undertaking such study and investigation, the committee is authorized to compel by subpoena the attendance and giving of testimony by any person, and the committee is further authorized to compel the production of such things as it deems necessary. Such testimony may be taken under oath, either in the form of interrogatory, deposition, or by oral testimony at a hearing. For purposes of this section, “things” includes, without limitation, books, records, correspondence, electronic mail, logs, journals, memoranda, papers, documents, writings, reproductions, recordings, tapes, transcripts, printouts, data compilations from which information can be obtained, tangible objects, and other things of any kind.

(b) The authority of the committee may be exercised by the committee chairperson or by the committee acting as a whole or by subcommittee. Subpoenas or interrogatories so authorized may be issued over the signature of the chairperson or any member so designated by the chairperson, and may be served by any person designated by the chairperson.

V. The members of the committee shall elect a chairperson from among the voting members. The first meeting of the committee shall be called by the first-named house member. The first meeting of the committee shall be held within 45 days of the effective date of this section. Seven members of the committee shall constitute a quorum.

VI.(a) Beginning November 1, 2011 and each November 1 thereafter, the committee shall make an annual report of its activities and findings to the speaker of the house of representatives, the senate president, the governor, and the state library.

(b) The report shall include any recommendations for proposed legislation including legislation relative to the duties and organization of the judicial branch family division, the division of children youth and families, the child support division, the guardian ad litem board, and child advocacy centers.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

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