The act establishes several measures that protect the best interests of a child or youth and that will not hinder reunification with the child's or youth's family when the child or youth has been temporarily placed outside the family home with a relative or kin (relative), including:
- Permitting a relative to appeal when denied placement of the child or youth with the relative;
- Requiring the department of human services (department), to use reasonable efforts to help a relative whose barrier to caring for the child or youth is a lack of resources;
- Amending the court's advisement to the parent so it is consistent with changes to statute;
- Specifying what information should be included in a notice to relatives when the child or youth has been removed from the child's or youth's home;
- Requiring that courts give preference to a relative unless placement with that relative would negatively affect the child's or youth's mental, physical, or emotional needs, or hinder reunification with the child's or youth's family;
- Providing options for a relative to be allowed to participate in a child's or youth's care and planning;
- Creating a rebuttable presumption that placement with a relative is in the child's or youth's best interest. The presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence, giving primary consideration to the child's or youth's mental, physical, and emotional needs, including the child's or youth's preference regarding placement.
- Requiring that caseworkers inform the court of efforts to identify and place a child or youth with a relative.
Foster parents who have the child or youth in their care for 12 months or more may intervene, as a matter of right, with or without counsel, following adjudication. The purpose of intervention is to provide knowledge or information concerning the care and protection of the child or youth, including the child's or youth's mental, physical, and emotional needs.
For the 2023-24 state fiscal year:
- $13,879 is appropriated to the department of human services from the general fund for use by the division of child welfare for Colorado TRAILS for the implementation of this act; and
- The general assembly anticipates that the department of human services will receive $7,473 in federal funds for use by the division of child welfare to assist in the implementation of this act.
APPROVED by Governor June 5, 2023
EFFECTIVE August 7, 2023
NOTE: This act was passed without a safety clause and takes effect 90 days after sine die.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)