Reduce Child And Incarcerated Parent Separation
The bill requires the department of human services to promulgate rules that facilitate communication and family time between children and their parents who are incarcerated.
The bill requires the court and the prison or jail where the parent is incarcerated to facilitate the parent's attendance and participation in proceedings for the parent's dependency and neglect case.
Under current law, after an order of adjudication in a dependency and neglect case, the court holds a dispositional hearing. The bill requires, except in instances when the proposed disposition is termination of the parent-child legal relationship, if a child's parent is incarcerated, that the court approve a treatment plan for the parent that specifies how the parent may participate in future meetings and hearings, including services and treatments available to the parent at the prison or jail, and opportunities for meaningful, in-person family time at the prison unless the family time does not serve the best interests of the child.
Under current law, the court may terminate the parent-child legal relationship based on statutorily created circumstances. The bill eliminates the parent's incarceration and related conditions as a basis for terminating the parent-child relationship.
Under current law, if the court finds that there is not a substantial probability that the child will be returned to a parent or legal guardian within 6 months and the child satisfies criteria for adoption, the court may require the county department of human services to show cause why it should not file a motion to terminate the parent-child legal relationship. The bill states that such cause may exist if the parent is incarcerated, detained by the United States department of homeland security, or deported, and if the parent has maintained a meaningful and safe relationship with the child while incarcerated, detained, or deported.
The bill requires the department of corrections to create and submit an annual report to the judiciary committees of the senate and house of representatives concerning parents who are incarcerated, and make the report publically available.
The bill requires the department of corrections to develop opportunities and promulgate policies to facilitate continued relationships between children and their parents who are incarcerated.
The bill requires the department of corrections to designate a family services coordinator, who is responsible for duties related to children and their parents who are incarcerated.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)