STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2916

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 2350

H.D. 2

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2016

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Human Services, to which was referred H.B. No. 2350, H.D. 2, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO FOSTER CHILDREN,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to bring the State into compliance with the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 by:

 

(1) Expanding the opportunities for children in foster care to participate equally with their classmates and peers by providing qualified immunity from liability for resource caregivers and child caring institutions for their decisions regarding the child's participation in age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities; and

 

(2) Lowering the age from sixteen to fourteen years of age of children in foster care who are to be consulted in development of their foster care plan.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Human Services; Family Program Hawaii's It Takes an Ohana Program; Hale Ōpio Kauai, Inc.; and twenty-three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Hawaii Association for Justice.

 

Your Committee finds that the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014, Public Law 113-183, expands the opportunities for children in foster care to participate equally in age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities as their classmates and peers in accordance with the "reasonable and prudent parent standard" and requires children in foster care, fourteen years of age and older, to be included in case planning and be informed of their rights and options available to them. Your Committee further finds that this measure will protect and enhance the capacity of resource caregivers and child caring institutions to encourage and support children to participate in ordinary childhood activities. Your Committee also recognizes that children who are fourteen years of age and older should be included in the important planning processes that will strengthen their self-sufficiency and better prepare them for successful transition from foster care into adulthood.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 2350, H.D. 2, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services,

 

 

 

________________________________

SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND, Chair