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SB24-008

Kinship Foster Care Homes

Concerning increasing support for kinship foster care homes, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2024 Regular Session
Subjects:
Children & Domestic Matters
Human Services
Bill Summary

Colorado's Child Welfare System Interim Study Committee. The bill states that a court shall not delay permanency planning for a child or youth for purposes of maintaining financial support for a kinship foster care home, or a non-certified kinship foster care home, unless there are exceptional circumstances as approved by the court.

Prior to transferring temporary legal custody of a child or youth to a relative or kin, the court shall make findings that the relative or kin was advised regarding the differences between kinship foster care and non-certified kinship care, including, but not limited to, financial assistance, custody requirements, and long-term financial support options.

The bill allows the state department of human services (state department) to promulgate rules to modify the requirements for kinship foster care homes, including training topics for kinship foster care certification.

Emergency financial assistance for a kinship foster care home is expanded to include goods needed for the child's basic care, including beds, clothing, and transportation costs, and limited rental or housing assistance not to exceed a 60-day subsidy.

The bill clarifies the definitions regarding foster care homes, kinship foster care homes (kinship home), and non-certified kinship foster care homes (non-certified kinship home). A kinship home is a home that has been certified by a county department of human or social services (county department) or a child placement agency to provide 24-hour care for relatives or kin only who are less than 21 years of age. A kinship home is eligible for financial assistance and supports the same foster care reimbursement, assistance, and other supports as foster care homes . "Kinship foster care home" does not include a non-certified kinship home. A non-certified kinship home means a relative or kin who has a significant relationship with the child or youth and who has either chosen not to pursue the certification process or who has not met the certification requirements for a kinship home.

The bill formally establishes the process by which a kinship home may apply for certification from a county department or child placement agency. A county department or child placement agency, upon the completion of the required background checks, may issue a one-time provisional certificate for a period of 6 months to an applicant at a specific location who is requesting provisional certification, if requested by the applicant. If the applicant completes the required background checks, the county department or child placement agency shall make payment beginning with the date of placement completion of the fingerprint background check . The county department or child placement agency shall complete the certification process within the timelines promulgated by rule of the state board. The applicant has the right to appeal any denial of certification. The state department, a county department, or a child placement agency has the right to revoke a kinship home's certification for cause.

Prior to issuing a certificate or subsequent certificate to an applicant to operate a kinship home, a county department or a child placement agency shall conduct a fingerprint-based criminal history record check (fingerprint check) through the Colorado bureau of investigation. The applicant shall pay, unless otherwise paid by a county department, the costs associated with the fingerprint check to the Colorado bureau of investigation.

The county department or child placement agency to which the kinship home applied for certification shall extend the provisional certification by an additional 60 days if the applicant can demonstrate that the applicant did not cause the delay in completing all the requirements for certification.

A kinship home may opt out of the provisional certification process and remain eligible for supports through sources other than foster care maintenance.

The bill stipulates that prior to transferring temporary legal custody of any child or youth to a relative or kin, the court shall make findings that the relative or kin was advised regarding the differences between kinship foster care and non-certified kinship care, including but not limited to financial assistance, custody requirements, and long-term financial support options.

Kinship foster care homes are eligible for financial reimbursement and supports at the same rate as foster care homes, as established in rules promulgated by the state board of human services. Non-certified kinship care homes are eligible for financial assistance and supports at 50% of the foster care rate, based on the age of the child or youth receiving care.

The state department shall reimburse the county departments ninety percent of the amounts expended by county departments for kinship foster care and non-certified kinship care daily rates to support financial assistance. The kinship foster care rate and non-certified kinship care rate are exempt from the state close-out process.

The state department shall collaborate with the department of education, the department of public health and environment, and the department of health care policy and financing to develop an interagency resource. guide to assist kinship in the certification process. The state department shall prominently post the interagency resource guide on the state department's website.

The bill directs the state department and the judicial department to collect data on the number of children who are placed with certified and non-certified kin through a dependency and neglect case, regardless of whether the kin or county who has custody of the child or youth. The state department shall make the data available on its website on or before January 30, October 1, 2025.

On or before October 1, 2024, 2025, the state department shall study and report to the general assembly the feasibility of using federal funds, including but not limited to federal IV-B, IV-E, or TANF funds, or other grant funding to provide or reimburse for the provision of brief legal services or legal representation of relative and kin caregivers. On or before August 1, 2025, and every August 1 thereafter until August 1, 2030, the state department shall submit a report to the joint budget committee on the implementation of non-certified kinship care home, the impacts to the number of placements with kinship foster care homes, and the impacts to the number of placements with county departments of human or social services in their ability to support providers. The state department shall submit data provided by county departments of human and social services as a supplement to the report.

The bill makes conforming amendments to align statutory sections related to foster care homes with kinship homes.

The bill takes effect September 1, 2024.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)


(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details