HB1573 (2024) Detail

(New Title) making an appropriation to the department of health and human services to enhance oversight of children in residential placements.


HB 1573-FN - AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE

 

22Feb2024... 0427h

11Apr2024... 1309h

11Apr2024... 1472h

2024 SESSION

24-2149

05/10

 

HOUSE BILL 1573-FN

 

AN ACT making an appropriation to the department of health and human services to enhance oversight of children in residential placements.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. M. Pearson, Rock. 34; Rep. J. Nelson, Rock. 13; Rep. Panek, Hills. 1; Rep. Seidel, Hills. 29; Rep. Petrigno, Hills. 43; Rep. Gregg, Hills. 7; Sen. Birdsell, Dist 19; Sen. Innis, Dist 7; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3

 

COMMITTEE: Children and Family Law

 

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AMENDED ANALYSIS

 

This bill makes an appropriation to the department of health and human services to enhance oversight of children in court-ordered, residential placements.  The bill also directs the department of health and human services to submit a quarterly report to the legislature and the office of the child advocate regarding implementation of the act and state oversight of children in residential placements.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

22Feb2024... 0427h

11Apr2024... 1309h

11Apr2024... 1472h 24-2149

05/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Four

 

AN ACT making an appropriation to the department of health and human services to enhance oversight of children in residential placements.

 

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

 

1  Statement of Purpose and Findings.  The general court makes the following findings regarding children in state care:

I.  Children in the care of the state have fundamental rights, as recognized by RSA 170-G:21.

II.  When a child is placed under the care and custody of the state pursuant to RSA 169-B, RSA 169-C or RSA 169-D, it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that a child receives appropriate housing, nutrition, medical and mental health care, education, and basic standards of care.

III.  Children who are removed from their homes must be placed in the least restrictive alternate setting.  When removal and placement cannot be avoided, the disruption that the child may experience is minimized, and emotional trauma may be reduced, by placing the child in the most familiar, least restrictive setting.  The first alternative considered is placement with a relative or a close friend, “kin” or “fictive kin”, to offer the child some degree of familiarity and continuity.  When placement with a relative or a family friend is not possible, the least restrictive placement of choice is placement in a licensed foster home.

IV.  Residential facilities are appropriate only for children who cannot safely receive the clinically appropriate treatment in their own home or a community-based alternative; a shortage or lack of foster family homes or community-based resources shall not be an acceptable primary reason for placement in a residential facility.  Residential facilities are congregate care placements, are considered the most restrictive settings for receiving treatment, and are generally not appropriate for children under 12 years of age.  Therefore, placement in a residential setting is used only as a last alternative for children age 12 and older.  Special consideration will be given to children under age 12, if deemed clinically appropriate due to a therapeutic or medical necessity.

V.  Placing children in facilities must be viewed as a time-limited and only for the purpose of treatment and services.  The purpose is to stabilize the child’s behaviors, provide treatment and to prepare him or her for a less restrictive setting.  The goal is to facilitate family/caregiver integration or another plan consistent with the agency's policy of permanency planning.

VI.  To best meet the needs of the children placed in a residential setting, the department of health and human services (DHHS), in coordination with the office of child advocate (OCA), will expand and enhance certification requirements and oversight process.  In addition to certification, DHHS and OCA will coordinate to improve caseworker visits with children placed by the state in a residential setting.  DHHS and OCA will continue this coordination through regular meetings and coordinated visits.

VII.  It shall be the policy of DHHS that any placement of a child outside of New England shall require the approval of the division for children youth and families’ director prior to that placement, with specific findings of the need for that placement.

2  Appropriations; Department of Health and Human Services.

The sum of $1,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2025, is hereby appropriated to the department of health and human services for the purpose of enhancing oversight of residential facilities where New Hampshire children are, or will be, placed, as provided in the provisions of this act.  This appropriation shall be nonlapsing.  The governor is authorized to draw a warrant for said sum out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

3  Oversight of Children in Residential Placements; Reporting Requirement.  The commissioner of the department of health and human services shall submit 3 quarterly reports to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, the chairpersons of the house and senate fiscal committees, the oversight committee on health and human services, and the office of the child advocate regarding implementation of this act and state oversight of children in residential placements.  The reporting period shall begin July 1, 2024, and reports shall be filed October 1, 2024, January 1, 2025, and April 1, 2025.  Each report shall describe in detail, for the quarter:

I.  How the department has spent the funds appropriated in section 2 of this act, by expenditure category, such as staffing (by position type) and travel expenses, both in-state and out-of-state.

II.  The number of children visited, both in-state and out-of-state.

III.  The number of facilities visited, both in-state and out-of-state.

IV.  The number of children in placements outside of New England and whether the director of the division for children, youth, and families approved any new placements outside of New England during the last quarter.

V.  Actions, policies, and practices undertaken to expand and enhance certification requirements and the oversight of residential placements.  

VI.  Coordination between the department and the office of the child advocate to improve caseworker visits with children placed by the state in residential settings, including through regular meetings and coordinated visits.

VII.  Any additional information regarding implementation and assessment of the policies in section 1 regarding oversight of children in residential placements.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.

 

LBA

24-2149

Amended 3/13/24

 

HB 1573-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS AMENDED BY THE HOUSE (AMENDMENT #2024-0427h)

 

AN ACT relative to oversight of and criteria for residential placement of children.

 

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

 

 

Estimated State Impact - Increase / (Decrease)

 

FY 2024

FY 2025

FY 2026

FY 2027

Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

Revenue Fund(s)

None

Expenditures

$0

DHHS $5,659,400/ Judicial Branch $1,483,483

DHHS $6,718,832/ Judicial Branch $1,531,885

DHHS $6,960,185/ Judicial Branch $1,531,885

Funding Source(s)

General Fund

Appropriations

$0

$4,097,498

$0

$0

Funding Source(s)

General Fund

Does this bill provide sufficient funding to cover estimated expenditures? [X] See Below

Does this bill authorize new positions to implement this bill? [X] Yes

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill provides additional structure to the Department of Health and Human Services’ use and oversight of residential treatment for children and youth.  In general, the bill increases the frequency, scope and purpose of departmental staff visits to all residential treatment providers.  The Department assumes the bill will have the following fiscal impacts:

 

Section 3: Out-of-State Residential Treatment Programs     

The Department assumes that to create a contract and certification unit by January 1, 2025, and to have the capacity to perform five visits per year to approximately 75 certified programs, it will need six additional program specialist positions.  The Department indicates that these positions will be housed within its Division of Behavioral Health.  The Department also assumes significant travel costs related to its new responsibilities.

 

 

 

Section 4: Oversight of Children in Care

This section enhances the scope of in-person visits between DCYF caseworkers and DCYF involved youth in residential treatment.  It also increases the frequency and intensity of court oversight of placements of DCYF involved youth.  Specifically, it requires that a youth’s assigned caseworker individually visit every youth in-person monthly and perform certain enumerated tasks during every visit.  In order to accommodate this increased workload for DCYF involved youth, the Department anticipates a need for 21 additional child protective services workers (CPSW), six additional juvenile probation and parole officers (JPPO), and five additional attorney III positions to support DCYF staff through the increased hearings and appeals.

 

Additionally, for youth in voluntary episodes of treatment, funded through the Division of Behavioral Health, the Department assumes it will need to add four child protective services worker (CPSW) equivalent positions to support the monthly visit requirements for approximately 75-100 youth in residential treatment at any point in time.  As with section 3, the Department assumes significant travel costs related to its new responsibilities.

 

Multiple Sections: Data Management

To track, manage and share the additional information collected, the Department anticipates needing a file management system for certification records.  The Department assumes it will cost approximately $1,000,000 to establish such a system, and $50,000 annually for ongoing costs.

 

The Department assumes its Division for Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) will need two new program specialists to support the enhanced workload.

 

In total, the Department projects the costs shown below.  These projections assume the positions will be active beginning October 1, 2024.  Accordingly, FY25 reflects 75 percent of a full year’s cost. Relatedly, travel is assumed to begin on January 1, 2025.  FY25 therefore reflects 50 percent of a full year’s cost.  The Department’s travel estimates assume a four percent cost increase each year.

 

 

FY25

FY26

FY27

Staffing for Certification Visits

 

 

 

     6 Program Specialist IVs

$534,000

$702,000

$726,000

Certification Travel (Mileage, Flights, Hotel)

$284,700

$592,176

$615,863

Youth Visit Staffing

 

 

 

     21 DCYF CPSWs

$1,827,000

$2,394,000

$2,478,000

     4 DBH CPSWs

$348,000

$456,000

$472,000

     5 Attorneys

$525,000

$690,000

$715,000

     6 JPPOs

$522,000

$684,000

$708,000

Youth Visit Travel (Mileage, Flights, Hotel)

$440,700

$916,656

$953,322

Data Management

 

 

 

     File Management Development and Ongoing Costs

$1,000,000

$50,000

$50,000

     2 Program Specialist IVs

$178,000

$234,000

$242,000

         Total:

$5,659,400

$6,718,832

$6,960,185

 

 

The bill contains the following general fund appropriations to the DHHS totaling $4,097,498 in FY25:

  • $773,333 for the purpose of funding four program specialist IIIs and four program specialist IVs.
  • $1,635,416 for the purpose of funding four CPSWs at labor grade 20 and 18 CPSWs at labor grade 18.
  • $862,083 for the purpose of funding travel costs for facility oversight and certification.
  • $826,666 for the purpose of funding travel costs for youth visits.

 

It should be noted the positions identified by the Department do not fully align with the position titles contained in the bill.

 

With respect to the impact on the Judicial Branch, the Branch states that currently, review hearings are held at 90-day intervals to determine the appropriateness of a residential treatment program.  This bill would reduce the intervals of review hearings to every 30 days, resulting in a possible new average of 3,600 hearings per year, an increase of 2,400 hearings, or 200 percent.  In response to the bill as introduced, the Branch predicted this increase would result in the following additional salary and benefit costs.  As the amended bill retains the 30-day interval, the Office of the Legislative Budget Assistant assumes the information below still applies.

 

 

New Positions Needed

FY 25

FY 26

FY 27

Judges

2

$650,618

$653,720

$653,720

Clerks' Offices

7

$832,866

$878,165

$878,165

     Total:

9

$1,483,483

$1,531,885

$1,531,885

 

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Health and Human Services and Judicial Branch

 

Amendments

Date Amendment
Feb. 8, 2024 2024-0427h
April 2, 2024 2024-1309h
April 2, 2024 2024-1313h
April 10, 2024 2024-1472h

Links


Date Body Type
Feb. 6, 2024 House Hearing
Feb. 13, 2024 House Exec Session
Feb. 6, 2024 House Floor Vote
March 26, 2024 House Exec Session
April 2, 2024 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB1573 Revision: 41624 Date: April 12, 2024, 8:55 a.m.
HB1573 Revision: 41574 Date: April 10, 2024, 11:48 a.m.
HB1573 Revision: 41506 Date: April 2, 2024, 1:40 p.m.
HB1573 Revision: 41507 Date: April 2, 2024, 1:40 p.m.
HB1573 Revision: 40996 Date: March 13, 2024, 11:03 a.m.
HB1573 Revision: 40825 Date: Feb. 8, 2024, 3:35 p.m.
HB1573 Revision: 40386 Date: Dec. 15, 2023, 2:56 p.m.

Docket


April 16, 2024: Introduced 04/11/2024 and Referred to Judiciary; SJ 10


April 11, 2024: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2024-1309h and 2024-1472h: MA VV 04/11/2024 HJ 11


April 11, 2024: FLAM # 2024-1472h (Rep. Wallner): AA VV 04/11/2024 HJ 11


April 11, 2024: Amendment # 2024-1309h (NT): AA VV 04/11/2024 HJ 11


April 3, 2024: Minority Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2024-1313h


April 3, 2024: Majority Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2024-1309h 04/02/2024 (Vote 13-11; RC) HC 14 P. 12


March 21, 2024: Executive Session: 03/26/2024 01:00 pm LOB 210-211


March 12, 2024: Division Work Session: 03/22/2024 12:00 pm LOB 210-211


March 12, 2024: Division Work Session: 03/18/2024 02:00 pm LOB 210-211


March 11, 2024: Division Work Session: 03/13/2024 10:00 am LOB 210-211


March 7, 2024: Division Work Session: 03/11/2024 01:00 pm LOB 210-211


Feb. 28, 2024: Division Work Session: 03/06/2024 02:00 pm LOB 210-211


Feb. 22, 2024: Referred to Finance 02/22/2024 HJ 6


Feb. 22, 2024: Ought to Pass with Amendment 2024-0427h: MA VV 02/22/2024 HJ 6


Feb. 22, 2024: Amendment # 2024-0427h: AA VV 02/22/2024 HJ 6


Feb. 9, 2024: Committee Report: Ought to Pass with Amendment # 2024-0427h 02/06/2024 (Vote 15-0; RC)


Jan. 31, 2024: Executive Session: 02/06/2024 02:00 pm LOB 206-208


Jan. 24, 2024: Public Hearing: 02/06/2024 09:30 am LOB 206-208


Dec. 15, 2023: Introduced 01/03/2024 and referred to Children and Family Law HJ 1