THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

2790

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2018

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The Hawaii Revised Statutes, chapter 587A is amended by adding to part I a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"587A- Rights of children in foster care. (a) The department or an authorized agency shall ensure that a child in foster care will:

(1) Live in a safe and healthy home, free from physical, psychological, sexual, and other abuse;

(2) Receive adequate food, shelter, and clothing;

(3) Receive adequate medical care, dental services, corrective vision care and mental health services;

(4) Be enrolled in a comprehensive health insurance plan and, within forty-five days of out-of-home placement, be provided with a comprehensive health assessment and recommended treatment;

(5) Have regular supervised or unsupervised in-person, telephone, or other forms of contact with the child's parents and siblings while the child is in foster care, unless the contact is either prohibited by court order or is deemed to be unsafe by the child's child welfare services worker, therapist, guardian ad litem, or court appointed special advocate. Withholding visitation shall not be used as punishment. If the department denies supervised or unsupervised visits with the child's parents or siblings:

(A) If all parties, including the child, agree to the denial of the visits, the department shall submit a written report to the court within five working days to document the reasons why the visits are being denied; or

(B) If any party, including the child, disagrees with the denial of the visits, the department shall file a motion for immediate review within five working days and the motion must include the specific reasons why visits are being denied;

(6) Receive notice of court hearings and if the child wishes to attend the hearings, to ensure that the child is transported to the court hearings;

(7) Have in-person contact with the child's assigned child welfare services worker;

(8) Have the ability to exercise the child's own religious beliefs, including the refusal to attend any religious activities and services;

(9) Have a personal bank account if requested, and assistance in managing the child's personal income consistent with the child's age and development, unless safety or other concerns require otherwise;

(10) Be able to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities; provided that if a child caring institution or resource caregiver authorizes the participation, it must be in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parenting standard, as defined in title 42 United States Code section 675(10)(A);

(11) Beginning at age twelve, be provided with age-appropriate life skills training and a transition plan for appropriately moving out of the foster care system which also includes reunification or other permanency, as well as written information concerning independent living programs, foster youth organizations, transitional planning services that are available to all children in foster care who are twelve years of age or older and their resource families;

(12) Have the right to be involved in developing a case plan and planning for the child's future, if the child is fourteen or older;

(13) If the child is fourteen or older, receive the child's credit report, free of charge, annually through the child's time in foster care - and to receive assistance with interpreting the report and resolving inaccuracies including, when feasible, assistance from the child's guardian ad litem;

(14) If the child has been in foster care for more than six months, and is aging out of care, receive assistance in obtaining certain personal records such as an official or certified copy of the child's United States birth certificate, a Social Security card issued by the Commissioner of Social Security, health insurance information, a copy of the child's medical records, or information to access the child's medical records, a driver's license or state identification card issued by the State in accordance with the requirements of the REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub.L. 10913, 119 Stat. 302;

(b) A child in foster care also has the following additional rights:

(1) To be treated fairly and equally and receive care and services that are culturally responsive and free from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, immigration status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, physical and mental disability, pregnant or parenting status, or the fact that the child is in foster care;

(2) To meet with and speak to the presiding judge in the child's case;

(3) To have regular in person contact with the child's court appointed guardian ad litem, court appointed special advocate, and probation officer;

(4) To ask for an attorney, if the child's opinions and requests differ from those being advocated by the guardian ad litem pursuant to section 587A-16(c)(6);

(5) To attend school and to remain in the child's school of origin unless determined not in the child's best interest, and to be provided cost-effective transportation to be maintained in the child's school of origin; if the child changes school during a school year, the child should be enrolled immediately in the new school;

(6) To receive educational records to the same extent as all other students;

(c) Sua sponte or upon appropriate motion, the family court may issue any necessary orders to any party, including the department, the department of education, the department of health, the guardian ad litem, the court appointed special advocate, or the probation officer to ensure the child is provided with the rights enumerated in subsections (a) and (b)."

SECTION 2. Section 587A-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

[" 587A-3 Guiding principles for children in foster care. (a) The department or an authorized agency, as resource family or permanent custodian, shall abide by the following guiding principles and ensure that a child in foster care:

(1) Lives in a safe and healthy home, free from physical, psychological, sexual, and other abuse;

(2) Has adequate:

(A) Food that is nutritious and healthy;

(B) Clothing;

(C) Medical care, dental and orthodontic services, and corrective vision care; and

(D) Mental health services;

(3) Has supervised or unsupervised in-person, telephone, or other forms of contact with the child's parents and siblings while the child is in foster care, unless prohibited by court order;

(4) Has in-person contact with the child's assigned child protective services worker, guardian ad litem, and if applicable, the child's probation officer;

(5) Meets with the presiding judge in the child's case;

(6) Is enrolled in a comprehensive health insurance plan and, within forty-five days of out-of-home placement, is provided with a comprehensive health assessment and treatment as recommended;

(7) May freely exercise the child's own religious beliefs, including the refusal to attend any religious activities and services;

(8) Has a personal bank account and assistance in managing the child's personal income consistent with the child's age and development, unless safety or other concerns require otherwise;

(9) Has the right to attend school and, if the child is moved during a school year, has the right to complete the school year at the same school, if practicable;

(10) Beginning at age twelve, is provided with age-appropriate life skills training and a transition plan for appropriately moving out of the foster care system, as well as written information concerning independent living programs, foster youth organizations, transitional planning services, and independent living case management programs that are available to all children in foster care who are twelve years of age or older and their resource families; and

(11) May participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities; provided that child caring institution or resource caregiver authorizes the participation in accordance with the reasonable and prudent parent standard as defined in title 42 United States Code section 675(10)(A).

(b) Sua sponte or upon appropriate motion, the family court may issue any necessary orders to any party, including the department, department of education, or department of health, to ensure adherence to the guiding principles enumerated in subsection (a) above."]

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

BY REQUEST


 


 

Report Title:

Rights of Children in Foster Care

 

Description:

Amends the Child Protective Act, chapter 587A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, by deleting the existing section 587A-3, Guiding Principles for children in foster care, and replacing it with a new section 587A- , Rights of children in foster care.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.