Parent And Child Family Time
The bill defines "family time", changes the term "visitation" to "family time" in various places in statute, creates new requirements for determinations in dependency and neglect court proceedings, and requires the task force on high-quality family time (task force) to commission and evaluate a state study. Specifically during a dependency and neglect proceeding, the bill:
- Requires county departments of human or social services (county departments) to encourage maximum family time;
- Allows the court and the state department of human services (department) to rely on community resources, foster parents, or relatives to provide transportation or supervision for family time;
- Creates a presumption that supervised family time is supervised by relatives, kin, foster parents, or other supports (supports) and occurs in the community. This presumption can be rebutted if the health or safety of the child is at risk or if these supports are unavailable or unwilling to provide supervision.
- Limits the court's ability to restrict or deny family time to situations in which the child's safety or mental, physical, or emotional health is at risk;
- Requires the court to order family time in the least restrictive setting;
- Requires county departments to provide information to the court about proposed family time and participation in family time;
- Requires family time to occur at least every 7 days unless the child's safety or mental, physical, or emotional health is at risk;
- Prohibits the court or department from limiting family time as a sanction for the parent's failure to comply with court-ordered treatment plans so long as the child's safety or mental, physical, or emotional health is not at risk;
- Prohibits the court, department, parent, or support from limiting family time as a sanction for the child's behavior or as an incentive to improve the child's behavior; and
- Gives the department the authority to promulgate rules to implement the provisions.
The bill also:
- Extends the task force by one year;
- Requires the task force to commission and evaluate a statewide study to identify the strengths and needs for family time; identify growth areas; inventory funding sources; and make recommendations; and
- Requires a permanency hearing be held within 12 months after a child enters foster care.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)