Current law does not expressly recognize domestic abuse as a form of child abuse or neglect. The act establishes a domestic abuse task force (task force) that will develop a statutory definition for the Colorado Children's Code to define "domestic abuse". The statutory definition should recognize the impact domestic abuse may have on the emotional and developmental well-being of a child. The task force shall review recommendations from the department of human services' domestic violence program and child welfare workgroup (workgroup) to develop the statutory definition. The act requires the department of human services (department) to report the recommended definition to committees of the general assembly no later than December 2022.
Under current law, child welfare caseworkers do not have established training policies or assessment procedures to identify and assess situations when a child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian exposes a child to their perpetration of domestic abuse. The act requires the department to promulgate rules based on recommendations from the workgroup to create, implement, and update assessment policies, procedures, and training standards for child welfare caseworkers to recognize, respond to, and assess child abuse or neglect related to domestic abuse while appropriately considering the role of the non-abusive caregiver, the abusive parent, and cultural considerations.
For the 2021-22 state fiscal year, $22,500 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of human services for use by the division of child welfare for administration.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)