SB 811
Modifies provisions relating to child protection
Sponsor:
LR Number:
4009S.04C
Committee:
Last Action:
4/24/2024 - Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection
Journal Page:
Title:
SCS SB 811
Effective Date:
August 28, 2024

Current Bill Summary

SS#2/SCS/SB 811 - This act modifies provisions relating to child protection, including: (1) Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect; (2) Children's Division contractors; (3) Children's Division employees; (4) privileged and confidential communications; (5) temporary child care provider licenses; (6) qualified residential treatment programs; (7) child placement; (8) hearsay exemptions involving children; and (9) sexual offenses involving children.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (Section 21.771)

This act repeals the expiration date of January 15, 2023, for the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.

CHILDREN'S DIVISION CONTRACTORS (Sections 210.109 and 210.112)

This act permits the Children's Division to contract for services designed to ascertain child safety and provide preventative services. A contractor providing child safety services for a child shall not also be a placement provider for that child.

These provisions are identical to SCS/SB 229 (2023).

Additionally, provisions in service provider contracts with the Division in which the state is indemnified, held harmless, or insured for damages, claims, losses, or expenses arising from any injury caused by or resulting from the state's negligence shall be void as against public policy and unenforceable.

CHILDREN'S DIVISION EMPLOYEES (Section 210.135)

This act modifies existing statutory immunity from liability for certain persons involved with reporting, investigating, or responding to allegations of child abuse or neglect to include employees of the Department of Social Services, as well as to include additional provisions of law under which such individuals' actions may receive immunity from liability.

This provision is identical to provisions in SB 458 (2023) and similar to SB 823 (2022).

PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS (Sections 210.140 and 210.147)

This act modifies existing statutory exceptions against recognizing privileged communications in situations of child abuse or neglect to include cooperation with the Children's Division in its activities under additional provisions of law, including child abuse or neglect investigations, termination of parental rights, and adoption and foster care.

Under current law, all information provided at a family support team meeting relating to the removal of a child from the child's home is confidential. This act modifies this provision so that all information provided at the meeting is confidential.

These provisions are identical to provisions in SB 458 (2023) and similar to SB 823 (2022).

TEMPORARY CHILD CARE PROVIDER LICENSES (Section 210.221)

Under this act, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall have the authority to grant temporary child care licenses to child care providers to expand an existing site or add a new location if the provider also submits an approved fire safety and sanitation inspection for the new site. Additionally, each child care facility license shall specify its effective dates and whether it is a temporary license.

QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAMS (Sections 210.715, 210.762, and 211.081)

Under this act, if a child is placed in a residential setting, the Children's Division shall arrange for a qualified individual to complete an assessment of the child within 30 days to determine the child's placement options and short-term and long-term goals, as specified in the act. The Children's Division shall assemble a family support team for the child. A qualified individual working with the child to develop the child's assessment shall have unlimited access to the child's records, including medical, educational, mental health, and placement records. The assessment shall be provided to all parties in a juvenile proceeding.

Within 60 days of the start of a placement in a qualified residential treatment program (QRTP), the court shall assess the appropriateness of the child's placement and make specific findings of fact, as described in the act. The court shall reassess the appropriateness for the child to remain in a residential setting placement at every subsequent hearing until the child is no longer placed in the QRTP.

This act modifies current law regarding family support team meetings to permit biological family members and relatives, as appropriate, as well as professionals who are a resource to the child's family, to participate in the family support team meetings. In the case of a child who is age 14 or older, the team shall include members selected by the child. The Children's Division may exclude an individual from a meeting or make alternative arrangements for an individual to express his or her views if the individual becomes disruptive.

These provisions are identical to SB 458 (2023) and similar to SB 823 (2022).

CHILD PLACEMENT (Section 211.221)

Under this act, the Children's Division and child placing agencies shall, whenever practicable, select either a person or agency or institution governed by persons of the same religious faith as that of the child's parents or that of the child, as described in the act, when placing a child.

This act is identical to SB 1133 (2024), SB 621 (2023), provisions in HCS/SS/SCS/SB 129 (2023), HB 1034 (2021), and HCS/SS/SB 198 (2023).

HEARSAY EXEMPTIONS INVOLVING CHILDREN (Sections 491.075 and 492.304)

Under current law, a statement made by a child under 14 years of age may be admissible in criminal proceedings under certain circumstances. This act changes the age to a child under the age of 18 years of age.

Additionally, this act provides that visual or audio recordings of a child under 18 years of age relating to certain criminal offenses shall be admissible in criminal proceedings under certain circumstances.

These provisions are substantially similar to provisions in SB 905 (2024), the perfected HCS/HB 454 (2023), and SCS/HS/HCS/HBs 1108 & 1181, et al (2023).

SEXUAL OFFENSES INVOLVING CHILDREN (Sections 566.151 and 567.030)

Under current law, a person over 21 years old commits the offense of enticement of a child if he or she persuades any person less than 15 years old to engage in sexual conduct. This act changes the age to less than 17 years old.

Additionally, this act modifies the offense of patronizing prostitution if the person patronized for prostitution is ages 15 to 17 it shall be a Class E felony and if the person is less than 15 years old it shall be a Class B felony.

These provisions are identical to provisions in the perfected HCS/HB 454 (2023), SCS/HS/HCS/HBs 1108 & 1181, et al (2023), SCS/HB 2697, et al (2022), SCS/HB 2088, et al (2022), HB 1637 (2022), and HB 2590 (2022).

SARAH HASKINS