Report Title:

Foster Custody; Effort to Make Extended Family Placement

Description:

Requires department of human services to establish a protocol to implement a good faith and diligent effort to identify and locate extended family members for possible foster custody placement for a child. (HB1795 HD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1795

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2004

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO foster custody.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that when a child is removed from the family and placed in foster care, the department of human services is not required by law to perform a diligent search to locate relatives of the child for the purpose of placement despite the family's desire.

The purpose of this Act is to require the department of human services to make a good faith effort to locate relatives of a child who is about to be placed in foster care for the purpose of placement.

SECTION 2. Chapter 587, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"587-    Foster custody; placement with extended family; required procedures. (a) This section shall not apply to, and shall not be construed to interfere with:

(1) A police officer's assuming protective custody of a child without a court order or transferring protective custody of the child to the department, under section 587-22; or

(2) The department's assuming temporary foster custody of a child without a court order under section 587-24(a).

(b) When any decision is made to place a child in foster custody, temporary or not, under this chapter, except as described in subsection (a), the department shall make a good faith and diligent effort to locate and identify members of the child's extended family to assess the feasibility of placing the child into the foster custody of a member of that extended family. The department shall develop a standardized statewide protocol to identify and locate a child's extended family for this purpose. The protocol shall include documentation in the child's case record that:

(1) Identifies members of the extended family; and

(2) Describes assessment criteria and procedures used in the search for members of the extended family.

To assist with implementation of the protocol, the department shall request the court to require the child's parent or parents to disclose to the department any contact information for relatives in the extended family within two weeks of an entered court order.

(c) The protocol shall also include the following elements:

(1) A requirement that a reasonable good faith and diligent effort be made to interview known relatives, friends, teachers, and community members who may know of the child's extended family, within sixty days of the child's being placed in foster custody;

(2) Increased use of ohana conferences and other appropriate case consultations to engage extended family members in reunification efforts, permanency planning, and placement decisions. Ohana conferences and other case consultations shall occur after a child is placed in foster custody, if the department determines that the child is likely to remain in foster custody for more than sixty days, and potential relatives in the extended family are available for out-of-home placement;

(3) Contacts with interested relatives in the extended family as part of permanent custody planning activities and change-of-placement discussions;

(4) Establishment of a process for ongoing contact with members of the child's extended family who express interest in being considered as a placement resource for the child; and

(5) A requirement that, if the department decides not to place the child in the foster custody of a relative, the department must provide documentation as part of the department's Safe Family Home Report that clearly identifies the rationale for the decision and corrective action or actions the relative must take to be considered as a viable placement option within the limits of existing statutes and federal requirements.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to create an entitlement to services or to create judicial authority to order the provision of services to any person or family if the services are unavailable, unsuitable, or the child or family is not eligible for such services."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun, before its effective date.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.