HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO YOUTH.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii is one of the safest and healthiest places in the nation for children and youth. However, many of Hawaii's youth are not immune to daily threats to their health and safety. Every year, youth run away from homes where abuse, neglect, and domestic violence are commonplace, or from schools where intolerable bullying becomes a major barrier to educational achievement. Without access to safe places, youth in these situations are vulnerable and may be victimized by predatory adults who lure them into alcohol and substance abuse or prostitution.
In October 2012, these concerns were discussed during the annual children and youth summit sponsored by the legislature's keiki caucus. In these discussions, youth expressed concerns over a lack of safe places. Youth were interested in accessing places where they could seek safety from intolerable home or school environments without fear of being judged, detained, or criminalized as a runaway. Youth also expressed interest in being able to access other youth-specific advice, guidance, programs, and services, including guidance and counseling for suicide prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, tobacco cessation, and alcohol and substance abuse support. Finally, youth wished to access safe places where they could have fun without the fear of being harassed, bullied, or pressured by other youth or adults. At the end of the summit, participating youth identified the need for safe places as one of their highest priorities.
The purpose of this part is to:
(1) Require the office of youth services to coordinate a two-year safe places for youth pilot program, which will coordinate a network of safe places that youth can access for safety and where they may obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services; and
(2) Establish and fund the position of safe places for youth pilot program coordinator.
SECTION 2. (a) The office of youth services shall coordinate a safe places for youth pilot program in partnership with private organizations. The primary objective of the pilot program shall be to coordinate a network that youth may access for safety and where they may obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services. All youth shall be eligible for services at the safe places.
(b) There is established the position of safe places for youth pilot program coordinator. The coordinator shall:
(1) Coordinate the safe places for youth network;
(2) Partner with an entity to maintain an updated listing of safe places statewide;
(3) Provide ongoing training of organizations designated as safe places for youth in areas including emergency response and trauma;
(4) Partner with the department of education, Hawaii state student council, peer education programs, private schools, and other youth services organizations to build awareness of the safe places for youth network; and
(5) Convene an annual meeting of safe places for youth organizations and other interested parties to identify emerging needs, provide feedback on program effectiveness, and provide an opportunity to recommend improvements to the pilot program.
(c) The safe places for youth pilot program shall provide access to and linkage with services and programs needed by youth, including but not limited to:
(1) Domestic violence prevention or reduction;
(2) Violence and trauma recovery and support;
(3) Human trafficking resources and prevention;
(4) Suicide prevention;
(5) Resources targeted at teenagers, including teen pregnancy prevention;
(6) Tobacco cessation;
(7) Alcohol and substance abuse support;
(8) Assistance for youth to achieve their educational and vocational goals; and
(9) Other relationship building and life skills.
(d) The office of youth services shall coordinate a comprehensive network of safe places for youth to assist youth in obtaining the advice and guidance they need.
(e) The safe places for youth pilot program shall cease to exist on June 30, 2015.
(f) The office of youth services shall submit a report to the legislature no later than September 1, 2014. The report shall include the program's accomplishments, number of youths assisted by the program, any proposed legislation, and a recommendation as to whether the program should be made permanent.
(g) For the purposes of this section:
"Safe places" means physical and virtual places of safety for youth.
"Youth" means any person twenty-one years of age or younger.
SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2013-2014 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2014-2015 for the position of safe places for youth pilot program coordinator and for residential options for the pilot program.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of human services office of youth services for the purposes of this part.
SECTION 4. The purpose of this part is to help eliminate any preference in child custody decisions that unfairly favors one parent more than the other parent of a child; provided that nothing in this part is intended to negatively affect the child.
SECTION 5. Section 571-46, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) In actions for divorce, separation, annulment, separate maintenance, or any other proceeding where there is at issue a dispute as to the custody of a minor child, the court, during the pendency of the action, at the final hearing, or any time during the minority of the child, may make an order for the custody of the minor child as may seem necessary or proper. In awarding the custody, the court shall be guided by the following standards, considerations, and procedures:
(1) Custody should be awarded to [
either parent or
to] ensure the inclusion of both parents [ according to the best
interests] in the raising of the child, [ and the court also may
consider frequent, continuing,] to ensure maximum continuing, physical,
emotional, and meaningful contact [ of each parent with the child] with
both parents unless the court finds that a parent is unable to act in the
best interest of the child;
(2) Custody may be awarded to persons other than the father or mother whenever the award serves the best interest of the child. Any person who has had de facto custody of the child in a stable and wholesome home and is a fit and proper person shall be entitled prima facie to an award of custody;
(3) If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason, so as to form an intelligent preference, the child's wishes as to custody shall be considered and be given due weight by the court;
(4) Whenever good cause appears therefor, the court may require an investigation and report concerning the care, welfare, and custody of any minor child of the parties. When so directed by the court, investigators or professional personnel attached to or assisting the court, hereinafter referred to as child custody evaluators, shall make investigations and reports that shall be made available to all interested parties and counsel before hearing, and the reports may be received in evidence if no objection is made and, if objection is made, may be received in evidence; provided the person or persons responsible for the report are available for cross-examination as to any matter that has been investigated; and provided further that the court shall define the requirements to be a court-appointed child custody evaluator, the standards of practice, ethics, policies, and procedures required of court-appointed child custody evaluators in the performance of their duties for all courts, and the powers of the courts over child custody evaluators to effectuate the best interests of a child in a contested custody dispute pursuant to this section. Where there is no child custody evaluator available that meets the requirements and standards, or any child custody evaluator to serve indigent parties, the court may appoint a person otherwise willing and available;
(5) The court may hear the testimony of any person or expert, produced by any party or upon the court's own motion, whose skill, insight, knowledge, or experience is such that the person's or expert's testimony is relevant to a just and reasonable determination of what is for the best physical, mental, moral, and spiritual well-being of the child whose custody is at issue;
(6) Any custody award shall be subject to modification or change whenever the best interests of the child require or justify the modification or change and, wherever practicable, the same person who made the original order shall hear the motion or petition for modification of the prior award;
(7) Reasonable visitation rights shall be awarded to parents, grandparents, siblings, and any person interested in the welfare of the child in the discretion of the court, unless it is shown that rights of visitation are detrimental to the best interests of the child;
(8) The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the child and may assess the reasonable fees and expenses of the guardian ad litem as costs of the action, payable in whole or in part by either or both parties as the circumstances may justify;
(9) In every proceeding where there is at issue a dispute as to the custody of a child, a determination by the court that family violence has been committed by a parent raises a rebuttable presumption that it is detrimental to the child and not in the best interest of the child to be placed in sole custody, joint legal custody, or joint physical custody with the perpetrator of family violence. In addition to other factors that a court shall consider in a proceeding in which the custody of a child or visitation by a parent is at issue, and in which the court has made a finding of family violence by a parent:
(A) The court shall consider as the primary factor the safety and well-being of the child and of the parent who is the victim of family violence;
(B) The court shall consider the perpetrator's history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, or assault or causing reasonable fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault to another person; and
(C) If a parent is absent or relocates because of an act of family violence by the other parent, the absence or relocation shall not be a factor that weighs against the parent in determining custody or visitation;
(10) A court may award visitation to a parent who has committed family violence only if the court finds that adequate provision can be made for the physical safety and psychological well-being of the child and for the safety of the parent who is a victim of family violence;
(11) In a visitation order, a court may:
(A) Order an exchange of a child to occur in a protected setting;
(B) Order visitation supervised by another person or agency;
(C) Order the perpetrator of family violence to attend and complete, to the satisfaction of the court, a program of intervention for perpetrators or other designated counseling as a condition of the visitation;
(D) Order the perpetrator of family violence to abstain from possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances during the visitation and for twenty-four hours preceding the visitation;
(E) Order the perpetrator of family violence to pay a fee to defray the costs of supervised visitation;
(F) Prohibit overnight visitation;
(G) Require a bond from the perpetrator of family violence for the return and safety of the child. In determining the amount of the bond, the court shall consider the financial circumstances of the perpetrator of family violence;
(H) Impose any other condition that is deemed necessary to provide for the safety of the child, the victim of family violence, or other family or household member; and
(I) Order the address of the child and the victim to be kept confidential;
(12) The court may refer but shall not order an adult who is a victim of family violence to attend, either individually or with the perpetrator of the family violence, counseling relating to the victim's status or behavior as a victim as a condition of receiving custody of a child or as a condition of visitation;
(13) If a court allows a family or household member to supervise visitation, the court shall establish conditions to be followed during visitation;
(14) A supervised visitation center shall provide a secure setting and specialized procedures for supervised visitation and the transfer of children for visitation and supervision by a person trained in security and the avoidance of family violence; and
(15) The court may include in visitation awarded
pursuant to this section visitation by electronic communication provided that
the court shall additionally consider[
: (A) The] the
potential for abuse or misuse of the electronic communication, including the
equipment used for the communication, by the person seeking visitation or by
persons who may be present during the visitation or have access to the
communication or equipment; [ (B) Whether] whether the person
seeking visitation has previously violated a temporary restraining order or
protective order; and [ (C) Whether] whether adequate provision
can be made for the physical safety and psychological well-being of the child
and for the safety of the custodial parent.
The court may set conditions for visitation by electronic communication, including visitation supervised by another person or occurring in a protected setting. Visitation by electronic communication shall not be used to:
(A) Replace or substitute an award of custody or physical visitation except where:
(i) Circumstances exist that make a parent seeking visitation unable to participate in physical visitation, including military deployment; or
(ii) Physical visitation may subject the child to physical or extreme psychological harm; or
(B) Justify or support the relocation of a custodial parent."
SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2030.
Office of Youth Services; Safe Places for Youth; Keiki Caucus; Minors; Joint Custody; Appropriation
Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program to coordinate a network that youth may access for safety and where they may obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services. Appropriates funds. Provides that in awarding custody and visitation of a minor child, the court shall consider the preference that custody be awarded to both parents to ensure maximum continuing physical, emotional, and meaningful contact with both parents. Effective July 1, 2030. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.