SB 375
Modifies provisions relating to child protection
LR Number:
Last Action:
5/12/2023 - Formal Calendar S Bills for Perfection
Journal Page:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2023

Current Bill Summary

SB 375 - Current law requires the Children's Division to make an immediate referral to the juvenile officer when a SAFE CARE provider makes a diagnosis that a child 3 years of age or younger has been subjected to physical abuse. Under this act, the Division shall not be required to make a recommendation for protective custody when making the referral under this provision, particularly when the perpetrator or cause of the injury leading to the diagnosis of child abuse or neglect is unknown. Additionally, a referral shall not relieve the Division of its responsibility to conduct an appropriate investigation or family assessment under current law, or to make reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child. The Division's investigation shall not solely consist of the SAFE CARE provider's report when the bruising is minimal and this is the first instance of reported suspicions or findings of abuse or neglect for the child.

Under current law, the Division shall provide an alleged perpetrator of child abuse or neglect with a written description of the investigation process, including notice at the termination of an investigation that the Division has found insufficient evidence of abuse or neglect or that evidence shows the existence of abuse or neglect and the alleged perpetrator shall be contacted for further services. This act requires such notice about insufficient evidence to contain language specifying that the investigation will be ended, the case closed, and no further services offered.

When a child is taken into custody by a juvenile officer or law enforcement official for child abuse or neglect, this act requires the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child to be given adequate notice of the allegations contained in the petition for removal in advance of a court hearing so that they may have a reasonable opportunity for preparation. In the case of a protective custody hearing, the juvenile officer or law enforcement official serving summons upon the parent, guardian, or custodian shall include a copy of the petition; a copy of the order for protective custody; a copy of the affidavit demonstrating the Division's reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal; notice of the parent, guardian, or custodian's right to counsel at the protective custody hearing and any subsequent hearings and a copy of a financial affidavit in support of a request for court-appointed counsel; and a copy of a handbook describing the court process, including the various hearings, and the rights, duties, and obligations of involved persons, as described in the act.

Under this act, a parent, guardian, or custodian of the child shall be entitled to counsel at all hearings relating to removal. If the parent, guardian, or custodian is financially unable to employ counsel, the court shall appoint counsel as soon as practicable prior to the first hearing relating to protective custody or removal. Additionally, the parent, guardian, or custodian shall have the right to access any written records or reports relating to the child, including medical records, prior to the protective custody hearing and any subsequent hearings, as well as any case records compiled by the Division.

By January 1, 2024, the Office of State Courts Administrator, in cooperation with the Division, shall develop and make available a handbook for parents, guardians, and custodians of children removed and placed under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for allegations of child abuse or neglect, as specified in the act. The handbook shall be made available online through the courts and the Division and printed copies shall be made available to parents, guardians, and custodians upon service of summons and at every hearing involving the child, as needed.

This act is identical to SB 1216 (2022).



No Amendments Found.