Bill Text - HB1562 (2018)

(Second New Title) relative to collaboration between the department of health and human services and foster parents and relative to the disposition of interests in condominium units.


Revision: Feb. 14, 2018, 8:17 a.m.

HB 1562 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2018 SESSION

18-2174

05/04

 

HOUSE BILL 1562

 

AN ACT establishing a foster parent bill of rights.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Morrison, Rock. 9; Rep. M. McCarthy, Hills. 29; Rep. Lang, Belk. 4; Rep. V. Sullivan, Hills. 16; Rep. Horn, Merr. 2; Rep. J. Schmidt, Hills. 28; Rep. Doucette, Rock. 8; Rep. J. Edwards, Rock. 4; Rep. Vose, Rock. 9; Rep. Baldasaro, Rock. 5; Sen. Carson, Dist 14

 

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

 

─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes a foster parent bill of rights.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

18-2174

05/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen

 

AN ACT establishing a foster parent bill of rights.

 

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

 

1  Statement of Findings and Intent.  The general court finds that a foster parent bill of rights will help clarify the role of foster parents in caring for foster children.  The act is not intended to interfere with birth parents' rights or to facilitate adoption.  The act is intended to acknowledge the vital role that foster parents play in ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of children in the foster care system.  The act is further intended to enable foster parents to advocate for children in their care and to be considered an essential member of a foster child's professional welfare team.

2  New Subdivision; Foster Parent Bill of Rights.  Amend RSA 170-E by inserting after section 50 the following new subdivision:

Foster Parent Bill of Rights

170-E:51  Foster Parent Bill of Rights.  In order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of children in the foster care system, a foster parent caring for a foster child in this state shall have the following rights:

I.  The right to advocate for a foster child in his or her care and to be treated with dignity, respect, and consideration as a primary provider of foster care and as a valued member of the child welfare team, including:

(a)  Uniform treatment throughout the state by the department of health and human services, ensuring the exercise of the rights granted to foster parents, including the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, marital status, or physical handicap.

(b)  Freedom from coercion, discrimination, and reprisal for voicing concerns about a child in the foster parent's care.

(c)  A commitment that the department shall not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against a foster parent for any appropriate inquiry regarding the decisions or practices of the department.

II.  The right to accept or refuse placement of a child and to request, upon reasonable notice to the department of health and human services, the removal of a child from the foster parent's home.  This includes the right to be considered first for placement of a child previously placed in the foster parent's home, and the right to be considered first as the permanent placement if relative placement is not an option.

III.  The right to personal safety and the protection of personally identifiable information.  This includes the right to be consulted and informed prior to the release of the foster parent's address or phone number to the child's birth parents.

IV.  The right to information about the role and responsibilities of foster parents, including:

(a)  A formal foster parent agreement, concise written expectations, and feedback in relation to being a member of the child welfare team, including periodic and timely evaluations of the foster parent's performance.

(b)  Information regarding how a foster parent may provide the court with written documentation pertinent to the child's well-being.

(c)  Guidelines related to permanency planning and standards.

(d)  An explanation of policies and procedures specific to a foster parent's rights in accordance with this subdivision.

V.  The right to receive in a timely and consistent manner information related to a foster child's behavioral problems, health history, educational status, cultural and family background, and other issues relative to the child which are known to the department at the time the child is placed in foster care.  When the department receives such information after placement, the department shall make that information available to the foster parent in a timely manner.  The department  shall fully disclose any information regarding any past or pending delinquency petitions, criminal charges, and previous hospitalizations, whether due to mental or physical issues.

VI.  The right to contact a representative of the department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the purpose of aiding the foster parent in caring for the child.

VII.  The right to receive fair and equitable payments and other financial reimbursement for the care of a child in foster care.

VIII.  The right to receive training and support to enhance a foster parent's skills in meeting the needs of a child in foster care, as well as the right to notice of changes in department policies, procedures, and related statutes in a timely manner.

IX.  The right to information concerning scheduled meetings and appointments involving a foster child.  This includes:

(a)  Participation in a foster child's individual service planning meetings, foster care reviews, individual educational planning meetings, permanency planning, medical and dental appointments, and any other meeting related to the service planning decision making process.

(b)  The right to provide information that will be considered in the same manner as information presented by any other team member for the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child, and the right to advocate for the same without intimidation, discrimination, or retaliation.

(c)  The right to request a team meeting to address concerns specific to the child, including the right to participate in development of the child's permanency plan.

(d)  The right to feedback in a courteous and respectful manner from any team member when a foster parent's opinion or recommendation differs from that of the department.

X.  The right to information regarding collateral agency policies and procedures that relate to the role of the foster parents.  The right to communicate with professionals who work with the foster child, including, but not limited to, therapists, physicians, and teachers who work directly with the child within the context of the team and receive written reports directly from said professionals.

XI.  The right to communicate with former or prospective foster parents of the child, and prospective and finalized adoptive parents of the child, with prior approval from the court and the department.  This may include the right to:

(a)  Receive any information concerning the number of times a foster child has been moved and the reasons why.

(b)  Help plan visitation between the child and the child's siblings or biological family members.

(c)  Maintain contact with the foster child after the child leaves the foster home, unless the child, a birth parent, or other foster or adoptive parent refuses such contact.

XII.  The right to be given timely written notice of:

(a)  Any change in a child's case plan, including a revised copy of the case plan in a timely manner.

(b)  Any plan to remove a child from the foster home, including the reason for the change or termination in placement.

(c)  Any motion, petition, hearing, or court order regarding removal of the foster parent.

XIII.  The right to timely notice from the department of all court proceedings, the right to attend such proceedings, and, at the discretion of the court, the right to be heard.

XIV.  The right to submit written reports to the court to ensure that personal and accurate information concerning the child's behaviors and developmental needs are considered by the court.

XV.  The right to report factual, objective information about a child's placement, medical and dental information, education, behaviors, special interests and activities, visitation including dates, observations of the child and any dates of contact with parents, professional contacts and recommendations of services a child may benefit from.

XVI.  The right to hire an attorney to assist a foster parent in abuse and neglect, permanency, and termination cases at the foster parent's expense; however, a foster parent who is not a party to a child's case may participate in the legal proceeding in the manner prescribed by the court.  Permission for a foster parent to enter the court with legal counsel is at the discretion of the presiding judge.

XVII.  The right to be promptly informed, in writing, of any complaint against a foster parent or any problem in the foster parent's home which adversely affects the person's license as a foster parent.  The department shall provide guidance and support to facilitate resolution of the complaint or problem.  

XVIII.  The department shall provide access to a fair and impartial grievance process to address licensure, case management decisions, and delivery of service issues.  Foster parents shall have timely access to the child placement agency's appeals process and shall be free from acts of retaliation when exercising the right to appeal.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

 

LBAO

18-2174

2/13/18

 

HB 1562-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT establishing a foster parent bill of rights.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$2,051,000

$2,092,000

$2,133,000

$2,187,000

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [ X ] Other - Federal Funds

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill establishes a foster parent bill of rights.  Per the Department of Health and Human Services, the following paragraphs contained within section two of the bill will have fiscal impacts:

 

Paragraphs IV, V, VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XV and XVII will individually and collectively expand the need for dedicated foster care resource workers that are responsible for foster care licensing, home studies and the coordination of care, training and support for foster care families.  These resource workers facilitate communication between the Department and foster care communities, coordinate care for children in out-of-home placements, and serve as the conduit between the foster care needs of the community and the Department.  In order to fulfill its responsibilities under the bill, the Department estimates that it will need a dedicated foster care resource worker for each district office (12).  

 

Paragraph VII establishes the right to receive fair and equitable payments and other financial reimbursement for the care of a child in foster care.  The Department assumes that this provision may require it to increase its foster care reimbursement rates to the USDA estimated cost of raising a child.  The USDA estimated cost for raising a child is approximately 60% higher than the Department’s median foster care stipend.  Assuming that the Department’s general and specialized foster care reimbursement rates were increased by this amount, the Department estimates that it would result in increased costs for foster care of approximately $1,200,000.  

 

Paragraph XVII states the Department shall provide access to a fair and impartial grievance process to address licensure, case management decisions, and delivery of service issues.  Foster parents shall have timely access to the child placement agency's appeals process and shall be free from acts of retaliation when exercising the right to appeal.  The Department assumes this paragraph will expand the jurisdiction of its existing administrative appeals process to create a right for foster parents to appeal the Department’s decisions on case management and the delivery of services.  The Department estimates that such an expansion will result in an increase of 50 or more appeals per year to the Department’s administrative appeals unit (AAU) and may require an additional hearings officer at the AAU to handle the increased work load.  

 

The cost estimates of the above fiscal impacts are as follows:

 

 

FY19

FY20

FY21

FY22

Resource Workers (12)

 

 

 

 

     62% General Funds

$468,720

$491,040

$513,360

$543,120

     38% Federal Funds

$287,280

$300,960

$314,640

$332,880

          Total:

$756,000

$792,000

$828,000

$876,000

 

 

 

 

 

Hearings Officer (1)

 

 

 

 

     100% General Funds

$95,000

$100,000

$105,000

$111,000

 

 

 

 

 

Foster Care Rate Increase

 

 

 

 

     50% General Funds

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

     50% Federal Funds

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

          Total:

$1,200,000

$1,200,000

$1,200,000

$1,200,000

 

 

 

 

 

Total Cost:

 

 

 

 

     General Fund

$1,163,720

$1,191,040

$1,218,360

$1,254,120

     Federal Funds

$887,280

$900,960

$914,640

$932,880

          Total:

$2,051,000

$2,092,000

$2,133,000

$2,187,000

 

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Health and Human Services

 

HB 1562 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2018 SESSION

18-2174

05/04

 

HOUSE BILL 1562

 

AN ACT establishing a foster parent bill of rights.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Morrison, Rock. 9; Rep. M. McCarthy, Hills. 29; Rep. Lang, Belk. 4; Rep. V. Sullivan, Hills. 16; Rep. Horn, Merr. 2; Rep. J. Schmidt, Hills. 28; Rep. Doucette, Rock. 8; Rep. J. Edwards, Rock. 4; Rep. Vose, Rock. 9; Rep. Baldasaro, Rock. 5; Sen. Carson, Dist 14

 

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

 

─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes a foster parent bill of rights.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

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.

18-2174

05/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen

 

AN ACT establishing a foster parent bill of rights.

 

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

 

1  Statement of Findings and Intent.  The general court finds that a foster parent bill of rights will help clarify the role of foster parents in caring for foster children.  The act is not intended to interfere with birth parents' rights or to facilitate adoption.  The act is intended to acknowledge the vital role that foster parents play in ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of children in the foster care system.  The act is further intended to enable foster parents to advocate for children in their care and to be considered an essential member of a foster child's professional welfare team.

2  New Subdivision; Foster Parent Bill of Rights.  Amend RSA 170-E by inserting after section 50 the following new subdivision:

Foster Parent Bill of Rights

170-E:51  Foster Parent Bill of Rights.  In order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of children in the foster care system, a foster parent caring for a foster child in this state shall have the following rights:

I.  The right to advocate for a foster child in his or her care and to be treated with dignity, respect, and consideration as a primary provider of foster care and as a valued member of the child welfare team, including:

(a)  Uniform treatment throughout the state by the department of health and human services, ensuring the exercise of the rights granted to foster parents, including the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, marital status, or physical handicap.

(b)  Freedom from coercion, discrimination, and reprisal for voicing concerns about a child in the foster parent's care.

(c)  A commitment that the department shall not discharge, threaten, or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against a foster parent for any appropriate inquiry regarding the decisions or practices of the department.

II.  The right to accept or refuse placement of a child and to request, upon reasonable notice to the department of health and human services, the removal of a child from the foster parent's home.  This includes the right to be considered first for placement of a child previously placed in the foster parent's home, and the right to be considered first as the permanent placement if relative placement is not an option.

III.  The right to personal safety and the protection of personally identifiable information.  This includes the right to be consulted and informed prior to the release of the foster parent's address or phone number to the child's birth parents.

IV.  The right to information about the role and responsibilities of foster parents, including:

(a)  A formal foster parent agreement, concise written expectations, and feedback in relation to being a member of the child welfare team, including periodic and timely evaluations of the foster parent's performance.

(b)  Information regarding how a foster parent may provide the court with written documentation pertinent to the child's well-being.

(c)  Guidelines related to permanency planning and standards.

(d)  An explanation of policies and procedures specific to a foster parent's rights in accordance with this subdivision.

V.  The right to receive in a timely and consistent manner information related to a foster child's behavioral problems, health history, educational status, cultural and family background, and other issues relative to the child which are known to the department at the time the child is placed in foster care.  When the department receives such information after placement, the department shall make that information available to the foster parent in a timely manner.  The department  shall fully disclose any information regarding any past or pending delinquency petitions, criminal charges, and previous hospitalizations, whether due to mental or physical issues.

VI.  The right to contact a representative of the department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the purpose of aiding the foster parent in caring for the child.

VII.  The right to receive fair and equitable payments and other financial reimbursement for the care of a child in foster care.

VIII.  The right to receive training and support to enhance a foster parent's skills in meeting the needs of a child in foster care, as well as the right to notice of changes in department policies, procedures, and related statutes in a timely manner.

IX.  The right to information concerning scheduled meetings and appointments involving a foster child.  This includes:

(a)  Participation in a foster child's individual service planning meetings, foster care reviews, individual educational planning meetings, permanency planning, medical and dental appointments, and any other meeting related to the service planning decision making process.

(b)  The right to provide information that will be considered in the same manner as information presented by any other team member for the case planning and decision-making process regarding the child, and the right to advocate for the same without intimidation, discrimination, or retaliation.

(c)  The right to request a team meeting to address concerns specific to the child, including the right to participate in development of the child's permanency plan.

(d)  The right to feedback in a courteous and respectful manner from any team member when a foster parent's opinion or recommendation differs from that of the department.

X.  The right to information regarding collateral agency policies and procedures that relate to the role of the foster parents.  The right to communicate with professionals who work with the foster child, including, but not limited to, therapists, physicians, and teachers who work directly with the child within the context of the team and receive written reports directly from said professionals.

XI.  The right to communicate with former or prospective foster parents of the child, and prospective and finalized adoptive parents of the child, with prior approval from the court and the department.  This may include the right to:

(a)  Receive any information concerning the number of times a foster child has been moved and the reasons why.

(b)  Help plan visitation between the child and the child's siblings or biological family members.

(c)  Maintain contact with the foster child after the child leaves the foster home, unless the child, a birth parent, or other foster or adoptive parent refuses such contact.

XII.  The right to be given timely written notice of:

(a)  Any change in a child's case plan, including a revised copy of the case plan in a timely manner.

(b)  Any plan to remove a child from the foster home, including the reason for the change or termination in placement.

(c)  Any motion, petition, hearing, or court order regarding removal of the foster parent.

XIII.  The right to timely notice from the department of all court proceedings, the right to attend such proceedings, and, at the discretion of the court, the right to be heard.

XIV.  The right to submit written reports to the court to ensure that personal and accurate information concerning the child's behaviors and developmental needs are considered by the court.

XV.  The right to report factual, objective information about a child's placement, medical and dental information, education, behaviors, special interests and activities, visitation including dates, observations of the child and any dates of contact with parents, professional contacts and recommendations of services a child may benefit from.

XVI.  The right to hire an attorney to assist a foster parent in abuse and neglect, permanency, and termination cases at the foster parent's expense; however, a foster parent who is not a party to a child's case may participate in the legal proceeding in the manner prescribed by the court.  Permission for a foster parent to enter the court with legal counsel is at the discretion of the presiding judge.

XVII.  The right to be promptly informed, in writing, of any complaint against a foster parent or any problem in the foster parent's home which adversely affects the person's license as a foster parent.  The department shall provide guidance and support to facilitate resolution of the complaint or problem.  

XVIII.  The department shall provide access to a fair and impartial grievance process to address licensure, case management decisions, and delivery of service issues.  Foster parents shall have timely access to the child placement agency's appeals process and shall be free from acts of retaliation when exercising the right to appeal.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

 

LBAO

18-2174

2/13/18

 

HB 1562-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT establishing a foster parent bill of rights.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$2,051,000

$2,092,000

$2,133,000

$2,187,000

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [ X ] Other - Federal Funds

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill establishes a foster parent bill of rights.  Per the Department of Health and Human Services, the following paragraphs contained within section two of the bill will have fiscal impacts:

 

Paragraphs IV, V, VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XV and XVII will individually and collectively expand the need for dedicated foster care resource workers that are responsible for foster care licensing, home studies and the coordination of care, training and support for foster care families.  These resource workers facilitate communication between the Department and foster care communities, coordinate care for children in out-of-home placements, and serve as the conduit between the foster care needs of the community and the Department.  In order to fulfill its responsibilities under the bill, the Department estimates that it will need a dedicated foster care resource worker for each district office (12).  

 

Paragraph VII establishes the right to receive fair and equitable payments and other financial reimbursement for the care of a child in foster care.  The Department assumes that this provision may require it to increase its foster care reimbursement rates to the USDA estimated cost of raising a child.  The USDA estimated cost for raising a child is approximately 60% higher than the Department’s median foster care stipend.  Assuming that the Department’s general and specialized foster care reimbursement rates were increased by this amount, the Department estimates that it would result in increased costs for foster care of approximately $1,200,000.  

 

Paragraph XVII states the Department shall provide access to a fair and impartial grievance process to address licensure, case management decisions, and delivery of service issues.  Foster parents shall have timely access to the child placement agency's appeals process and shall be free from acts of retaliation when exercising the right to appeal.  The Department assumes this paragraph will expand the jurisdiction of its existing administrative appeals process to create a right for foster parents to appeal the Department’s decisions on case management and the delivery of services.  The Department estimates that such an expansion will result in an increase of 50 or more appeals per year to the Department’s administrative appeals unit (AAU) and may require an additional hearings officer at the AAU to handle the increased work load.  

 

The cost estimates of the above fiscal impacts are as follows:

 

 

FY19

FY20

FY21

FY22

Resource Workers (12)

 

 

 

 

     62% General Funds

$468,720

$491,040

$513,360

$543,120

     38% Federal Funds

$287,280

$300,960

$314,640

$332,880

          Total:

$756,000

$792,000

$828,000

$876,000

 

 

 

 

 

Hearings Officer (1)

 

 

 

 

     100% General Funds

$95,000

$100,000

$105,000

$111,000

 

 

 

 

 

Foster Care Rate Increase

 

 

 

 

     50% General Funds

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

     50% Federal Funds

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

$600,000

          Total:

$1,200,000

$1,200,000

$1,200,000

$1,200,000

 

 

 

 

 

Total Cost:

 

 

 

 

     General Fund

$1,163,720

$1,191,040

$1,218,360

$1,254,120

     Federal Funds

$887,280

$900,960

$914,640

$932,880

          Total:

$2,051,000

$2,092,000

$2,133,000

$2,187,000

 

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Health and Human Services