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Safe Family Option For Families In Crisis

Concerning creating an option for parents who seek to voluntarily delegate certain parental responsibilities to a safe family for a limited period of time without relinquishing legal custody of their child, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2018 Regular Session
Children & Domestic Matters
Human Services
Bill Summary

The bill creates a voluntary option for interested custodial parents who are experiencing a crisis whereby they may enter into an authorization agreement (agreement) with certified family caregiver (caregiver) to temporarily care for their child or children. Caregivers are considered mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect by law and must receive the training provided to mandatory reporters. The agreement is not a termination of parental rights, nor is it considered abandonment of the child or children or placement in the custody of a county department of human or social services for the purposes of foster care.

The agreement is valid for no longer than 6 months, with an option to renew the agreement, unless the parent or parents are deployed or called to active duty in the United States military, in which case the agreement is valid for the length of the deployment plus 30 days. The terms of each agreement are specific to the parents who are entering into the agreement. It grants the caregiver the right to perform certain parental functions as specifically outlined in the agreement, and the agreement may be revoked at any time by a custodial parent.

A substitute care organization (organization), which must be a tax-exempt charitable or social welfare organization, shall assist both parties in the creation and implementation of an agreement. The state department of human services (department) shall license any organization that wishes to serve in this capacity prior to the date at which the organization begins providing services to families. The department shall promulgate rules for the licensing requirements for organizations, after working collaboratively to receive recommendations for such rules from interested and affected parties. The rules must include requirements for various fingerprint-based criminal history record checks and child abuse and neglect background checks on the state's TRAILS system.

The organization shall ensure that adequate notice of a child's placement with a caregiver is given to both parents. The organization is responsible for conducting a fingerprint-based criminal history record check on each adult in the nonparent's household, as well as a child abuse and neglect background check on the state TRAILS system for both the parent and each adult in the caregiver's household. The organization is responsible for ensuring that the caregiver is fully trained in the rights, duties, and limitations regarding the care of a child pursuant to the agreement.

Organizations are required to collect data on agreements, caregivers, and outcomes and report aggregate data to the department.

The bill establishes a provision for a parent of a minor child to create a custodial power of attorney that grants to another person certain of the parent's rights and responsibilities regarding the care, physical custody, and control of the minor child.

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




Bill Text

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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