HB1657 (2020) Detail

Relative to reimbursement of court-ordered services for juveniles.


HB 1657-FN-A - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2020 SESSION

20-2470

05/01

 

HOUSE BILL 1657-FN-A

 

AN ACT relative to reimbursement of court-ordered services for juveniles.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Long, Hills. 10; Rep. Diggs, Graf. 16; Rep. Berch, Ches. 1; Rep. Hennessey, Graf. 1; Rep. Meuse, Rock. 29; Rep. Walz, Merr. 23; Rep. Rice, Hills. 37; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Chandley, Dist 11; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5

 

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill removes the requirement that parents and guardians reimburse the state for services provided to a child or family under RSA 169-B, RSA 169-C, or RSA 169-D.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

20-2470

05/01

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty

 

AN ACT relative to reimbursement of court-ordered services for juveniles.

 

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

 

1  Delinquent Children; Petition.  Amend RSA 169-B:6, I to read as follows:

I.  Any person may file a petition, alleging the delinquency of a minor, with a judge or clerk of the court in the judicial district in which the minor is found or resides or where the offense is alleged to have occurred.  The petition shall be in writing and verified under oath.  The following notice shall be printed on the front of the petition in bold in no smaller than 14 point font size:  "See back for important information and financial obligations."  The back of the petition shall include a notice [of liability for parents and other individuals chargeable by law for the child's support and necessities] of financial responsibility for services, programs, and placement provided under this chapter.

2  Delinquent Children; Issuance of Summons and Notice.  Amend RSA 169-B:7, III to read as follows:

III.  The summons shall contain a notice of the right to representation by counsel and the available procedures for obtaining counsel.  The summons shall also state as follows:  ["Pursuant to RSA 169-B:40, parents and other individuals chargeable by law for the minor's support and necessities may be liable for expenses incurred in this proceeding including the costs of certain evaluations and placements.] "With limited exception, the department of health and human services shall be responsible for the cost of services provided under this chapter.  RSA 186-C regarding children with disabilities grants minors and their parents certain rights to services from school districts at public expense and to appeal school district decisions regarding services to be provided."

3  Delinquent Children; Release Prior to Arraignment.  Amend RSA 169-B:11, II to read as follows:

II.  If such a person is not available, the court may release the minor under the supervision of a relative or friend; or may release the minor to the custody of the department of health and human services for placement in a foster home, as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XIII, a crisis home, a shelter care facility, a group home [with expenses charged according to RSA 169-B:40], or an alcohol crisis center certified to accept juveniles; or

4  Delinquent Children; Release or Detention Pending Adjudicatory Hearing.  Amend RSA 169-B:14, I(c) to read as follows:

(c)  Released to the custody of the department of health and human services for placement in a foster home, as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XIII, a group home, a crisis home, or a shelter care facility [with expenses charged according to RSA 169-B:40]; or

5  Delinquent Children; Dispositional Hearing.  Amend RSA 169-B:19, I(f) to read as follows:

(f)  Release the minor to the custody of the department of health and human services for placement in a foster home, as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XIII, a group home, a crisis home, or a shelter care facility[, with expenses charged according to RSA 169-B:40].

6  Delinquent Children; Determination of Competence.  Amend RSA 169-B:20, V to read as follows:

V.  A competency evaluation may be conducted by an entity approved by the commissioner of health and human services, which may include an agency other than the Philbrook center, a psychiatrist, or psychologist licensed in the state of New Hampshire.  The commissioner shall adopt standards establishing the process for approval as an examiner as well as the qualifications required for approval, which shall be based on generally accepted standards for forensic psychiatrists and psychologists.  [The expense of such evaluation shall be borne by the department of health and human services as provided in RSA 169-B:40, I(a) and shall not be subject to reimbursement under RSA 169-B:40, I(c).]

7  Delinquent Children; Mental Health and Substance Abuse Evaluation.  Amend RSA 169-B:21 to read as follows:

169-B:21  Mental Health and Substance Abuse Evaluation.  

I.  Any court, finding that a minor has committed the alleged offense may, before making a final disposition, order the minor, minor's parents, guardian, or person with custody or control to submit to a mental health or substance abuse evaluation to be completed within 60 days.  Any substance abuse evaluation of the parent guardian, or person having custody of the child shall be conducted by a provider contracted with the bureau of substance abuse services, or a provider paid by the parent, guardian, or person having custody of the child.  The cost of such evaluation shall be paid by private insurance, if available, or otherwise by the [person undergoing the evaluation, to whom the evaluation shall be provided free or at reduced cost if the person is of limited means] department.  A written report of the evaluation shall be given to the court before the dispositional hearing.  If the parents, guardian, minor, or person having custody or control objects to the mental health or substance abuse evaluation, they shall object in writing to the court having jurisdiction within 5 days after notification of the time and place of the evaluation.  The court shall hold a hearing to consider the objection prior to ordering such evaluation.  Upon good cause shown, the court may excuse the parents, guardian, minor, or person having custody or control from the provisions of this section.

II.  Whenever such an evaluation has been made for consideration at a previous hearing, it shall be jointly reviewed by the court and the evaluating agency before the case is heard.  The evaluating facility, agency, or individual shall keep records, but no reports or records of information contained therein shall be made available other than to the court and parties, except upon the written consent of the person examined or treated and except as provided in RSA 169-B:35.  [The expense of such evaluation shall be borne as provided in RSA 169-B:40.]

III.  In the case of a minor found guilty of possession of marijuana or hashish, the court, finding that a minor has committed the alleged offense, shall refer the minor for a substance abuse assessment to be completed prior to the dispositional hearing.  The court may waive the requirement of an assessment if it has access to a similar assessment completed in the previous year or, based on substantial evidence, the court does not find there is a need for an assessment.  The assessment shall be completed by a licensed drug and alcohol counselor.  [In the event the parent, guardian, or person having custody of the child is of limited means, the evaluation shall be provided for free or at reduced cost.]  The results of the assessment shall be submitted to the court and, if indicated, the court shall order that the minor obtain appropriate treatment.  The minor shall furnish the court with evidence of participation and completion of the substance abuse assessment.

8  Delinquent Children; Liability for Expenses.  RSA 169-B:40 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

169-B:40  Liability for Expenses Incurred.  

I.(a)  Whenever an order creating liability for expenses is issued by the court under this chapter, any expenses incurred for services, placements, and programs the providers of which are certified pursuant to RSA 170-G:4, XVIII, shall be payable by the department of health and human services.

(b)  Subparagraph (a) shall not apply to expenses incurred for special education and related services, or to expenses incurred for evaluation, care, and treatment of the minor at the Philbrook center, or to expenses incurred for the cost of accompanied transportation.

(c)  Notwithstanding subparagraph (a), the department shall have the right to require parents or other people responsible for the minor's support and necessities to assign to the state any insurance benefits that may be available to pay for a mental health evaluation under RSA 169-B:21.

(d)  Liability for placement expenses for any court ordered placement of any minor mother under this chapter shall include liability for placement expenses for the child or children of such minor mother if the minor mother and child or children are placed at the same facility.

II.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the department of health and human services shall not be responsible for the payment of the cost of assigned counsel for any party under this chapter.  

III.  The office of reimbursements acting on behalf of Laconia developmental services and the New Hampshire hospital is authorized to compromise or reduce any expense to be charged to the state.

9  Child Protection Act; Issuance of Summons and Notice.  Amend RSA 169-C:8, III to read as follows:

III.  The summons shall contain a notice that the child shall have a guardian ad litem, appointed by the court.  The summons shall also state as follows:  ["Parents and other individuals chargeable by law for the child's support and necessities may be liable for expenses incurred in this proceeding including the costs of certain evaluations and placements.] "With limited exception, the department of health and human services shall be responsible for the cost of services provided under this chapter.  RSA 186-C regarding children with disabilities grants children and their parents certain rights to services from school districts at public expense and to appeal school district decisions regarding services to be provided."

10  Child Protection Act; Liability for Expenses.  RSA 169-C:27 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

169-C:27  Liability for Expenses.

I.(a)  Whenever an order creating liability for expenses is issued by the court under this chapter, any expenses incurred for services, placements, and programs the providers of which are certified pursuant to RSA 170-G:4, XVIII, shall be payable by the department of health and human services.

(b)  Subparagraph (a) shall not apply to:

(1)  Expenses incurred for special education and related services;

(2)  Expenses incurred for evaluation, care, and treatment of the child at the New Hampshire hospital; or

(3)  Expenses incurred for the cost of accompanied transportation.

(c)  Liability for placement expenses for any court ordered placement of any minor mother under this chapter shall include liability for placement expenses for the child or children of such minor mother if the minor mother and child or children are placed at the same facility.

II.  Voluntary services provided to a child, family, or household in a case that was unfounded but with reasonable concern, as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XXIX, shall be the responsibility of the department.  Payment for such services shall be made from available TANF reserve funds or other funds appropriated for such purpose.

III.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the department shall not be responsible for the payment of the cost of assigned counsel for any party under this chapter.

IV.  The office of reimbursements acting on behalf of Laconia developmental services and the New Hampshire hospital is authorized to compromise or reduce any expense to be charged to the state.

11  Children in Need of Services; Petition.  Amend RSA 169-D:5, I-a to read as follows:

I-a.  The petition shall be in writing and verified under oath.  The following notice shall be printed on the front of the petition in bold in no smaller than 14 point font size:  "See back for important information and financial obligations."  The back of the petition shall include [a notice of liability for parents and other individuals chargeable by law for the child's support and necessities, which shall state: "In accordance with RSA 169-D:29, parents and others chargeable by law for the child's support and necessities are required to reimburse the state for the cost of voluntary or court ordered services.  The amount that you will be required to reimburse the state will be based on your ability to pay.  You have a right, upon written request, to receive a statement from the department of the cost of services incurred in the case to date.  Upon our receipt of notice of a proposed service or placement, you must contact your insurance carrier within 48 hours to see if coverage is available to pay for the proposed service or placement and notify the department of the results.  If insurance coverage is available, you must cooperate with your insurance carrier and comply with their requirements for direct payment to the provider."] the following notice:  "If you have private insurance coverage, you may be required to cooperate with your insurance carrier and assign benefits to the department of health and human services for covered services provided to your child or family in this proceeding."  

12  Children in Need of Services; Brochure.  RSA 169-D:5, VIII is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

VIII.  The department shall develop a brochure that describes the department's responsibility for the cost of services provided under this chapter.  The brochure shall include a statement that the department may require a parent or guardian to assign insurance benefits to the department for services provided under this chapter.  The brochure shall also clarify that the legally liable school district is responsible for any special education costs.  The brochure shall be available to the public and shall be distributed at the earliest available opportunity to parents and others responsible for the minor's support who are requesting or receiving voluntary or court ordered services.  The department also shall provide its case workers with information and training on the requirements of this chapter.

13  Children in Need of Services; Summons.  Amend RSA 169-D:6, III to read as follows:

III.  The summons shall state as follows:  ["Pursuant to RSA 169-D:29, parents and other individuals chargeable by law for the child's support and necessities may be liable for expenses incurred in this proceeding including the costs of certain evaluations and placements.] "With limited exception, the department of health and human services shall be responsible for the cost of services provided under this chapter.  RSA 186-C regarding children with disabilities grants children and their parents certain rights to services from school districts at public expense and to appeal school district decisions regarding services to be provided."

14  Children in Need of Services; Dispositional Hearing.  Amend RSA 169-D:17, I(b)(2)(A) to read as follows:

(2)(A)  Where the petition alleges that the child is a habitual runaway under RSA 169-D:2, II(b) or that the child is a child in need of services under RSA 169-D:2, II(d), releasing the child to the custody of the department of health and human services for placement in a foster home, as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XIII, a group home, a crisis home, or a shelter care facility [with expenses charged in accordance with RSA 169-D:29].

15  Children in Need of Services; Dispositional Hearing.  Amend RSA 169-D:17, I(e) to read as follows:

(e)  Requiring any child to attend structured after-school or evening programs which address some of the child's compliance issues, as well as supervise the child during the time of the day in which the child most values his or her freedom and the time which is most often used to perform unruly acts.  The cost of said programs shall be paid by private insurance, if available, or otherwise by the [child, parent, guardian, or person having custody of the child, or may be available to the child free of charge based on the limited means of the family or based on the program's receipt of other funding.  Payment shall be made pursuant to RSA 169-D:29 only] department.  Services shall be for those programs that have been certified pursuant to RSA 170-G:4, XVIII.

16  Children in Need of Services; Determination of Competence.  Amend RSA 169-D:18-a, III to read as follows:

III.  Whenever such an evaluation has been made previously for consideration at a prior proceeding, it shall be jointly reviewed by the court and the evaluating agency before the case is heard.  The evaluator shall keep records of having conducted the evaluation, but no reports or records shall be made available, other than to the court and parties, except upon the written consent of the child or his legal representative, parent or guardian or pursuant to RSA 169-B:35.  [The expense of such evaluation is to be borne as provided in RSA 169-B:40.]

17  Children in Need of Services; Liability for Expenses.  RSA 169-D:29 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

169-D:29  Liability for Expenses.  

I.(a)  Whenever an order creating liability for expenses is issued by the court under this chapter, any expenses incurred for services, placements, and programs the providers of which are certified pursuant to RSA 170-G:4, XVIII, shall be payable by the department of health and human services.

(b)  Subparagraph (a) shall not apply to expenses incurred for special education and related services, or to expenses incurred for evaluation, care, and treatment of the child at the Philbrook center or to expenses incurred for the cost of accompanied transportation.

(c)  Liability for placement expenses for any court ordered placement of any minor mother under this chapter shall include liability for placement expenses for the child or children of such minor mother if the minor mother and child or children are placed at the same facility.

II.  Services, programs, and placements payable by the department under this section shall include diversion services and services provided through a voluntary service plan.

III.  Notwithstanding paragraphs I and II, the parents or other persons responsible by law for the minor's support and necessities shall promptly notify the department of any insurance benefits that may be available to pay for all or a portion of the services provided.  If insurance coverage is available, the parents or other persons responsible by law for the minor's support and necessities shall cooperate with the insurance carrier and assign such insurance benefits to the department for services delivered by the department.

IV.  The office of reimbursements acting on behalf of Laconia developmental services and the New Hampshire hospital is authorized to compromise or reduce any expense to be charged to the state.

18  Repeal.  RSA 169-B:2-a, I(d), relative to the payment of fines or restitution by the parent, is repealed.

19  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2021.

 

LBAO

20-2470

12/12/19

 

HB 1657-FN-A- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to reimbursement of court-ordered services for juveniles.

 

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

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

($46,025)

($138,075)

($230,125)

   Expenditures

$0

($172,000)

($344,000)

($344,000)

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

($3,058)

($6,116)

($6,116)

   Expenditures

$0

$0

$0

$0

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill removes the requirement that parents and guardians reimburse the state for services provided to children or families under RSA 169-B (relative to delinquent children), RSA 169-C (the Child Protection Act), or RSA 169-D (relative to children in need of services).  The Department of Health and Human Services assumes that the bill will not eliminate any preexisting court orders for parental reimbursement, and that it will continue collecting funds pursuant to those orders.  The Department anticipates that it will decline to seek any new orders as of July 1, 2020, prior to the bill's effective date of January 1, 2021.

 

Based on reimbursement revenue in FY 2019, the Department assumes that under current law, it would recover approximately $926,710 per year.  Of this amount, approximately half is recovered by the state and half is recovered by the federal government, with a minimal amount (0.67 percent in FY 2019) recovered by the counties.  Under the proposed bill, the Department anticipates those revenues will decline annually as court-ordered obligations in existing cases are satisfied and the cases are closed.  The state and county shares of the Department-projected revenue decline are shown in the table above.   

 

As of December 2019, six full-time staff work in the Department's collections unit, with combined annual salaries and benefits of $522,000.  Assuming the Department retains two staff to process existing court orders, expenditures will be reduced to $178,000, for a decrease of $344,000 per year once the bill is fully implemented in FY 2022.   

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Health and Human Services

 

Links

HB1657 at GenCourtMobile
HB1657 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
March 3, 2020 House Hearing
March 3, 2020 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 11, 2020 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB1657 Revision: 7301 Date: Dec. 13, 2019, 11:05 a.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 8, 2020 Introduced 01/08/2020 and referred to Children and Family Law HJ 1 P. 30
March 3, 2020 Public Hearing: 03/03/2020 02:00 pm LOB 206
March 3, 2020 Executive Session: 03/03/2020 03:00 pm LOB 206
March 11, 2020 Committee Report: Ought to Pass for 03/11/2020 (Vote 17-2; RC) HC 10 P. 34
Committee Report: Ought to Pass (Vote 17-2; RC)
March 11, 2020 Ought to Pass: MA VV 03/11/2020
March 11, 2020 Reconsider (Rep. Ley): MA DV 213-121 03/11/2020
March 11, 2020 Ought to Pass: MA VV 03/11/2020
June 16, 2020 Introduced 06/16/2020, and Laid on Table, MA, VV; 06/16/2020; SJ 8
June 16, 2020 No Pending Motion; 06/16/2020 SJ 8