Current Status Introducing Body:
HouseBill Number: 4579Primary Sponsor: WaitesType of Legislation: GBSubject: Foster care review boardsResiding Body: HouseComputer Document Number: CYY/15524AC.94Introduced Date: 19940120Last History Body: HouseLast History Date: 19940412Last History Type: Committee Report: majority favorable, with amendment, minority unfavorableScope of Legislation: StatewideAll Sponsors: Waites McAbee Wofford ShissiasType of Legislation: General Bill
Bill Body Date Action Description CMN Leg Involved ____ ______ ____________ ______________________________ ___ ____________ 4579 House 19940412 Committee Report: majority 27 favorable, with amendment, minority unfavorable 4579 House 19940120 Introduced, read first time, 27 referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
April 12, 1994
S. Printed 4/12/94--H.
Read the first time January 20, 1994.
To whom was referred a Bill (H. 4579), to amend Subarticle 4, Article 13, Chapter 7, Title 20, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, as amended, relating to Foster Care Review Boards, etc., respectfully
That they have duly and carefully considered the same, and recommend that the same do pass with amendment:
Amend the bill as and if amended, by deleting Section 20-7-2374(A) and inserting:
/(A) There are created sixteen local boards for review of cases of children in foster care for the Division of Review of the Foster Care of Children in the Office of the Governor, one in each judicial circuit, composed of five members appointed by the Governor upon recommendation of the county legislative delegations which comprise the judicial circuit. Members shall serve a four-year term and until their successors are appointed and qualify. When a term expires or a vacancy occurs on a local board, the division shall notify the appropriate county legislative delegations. The county legislative delegations have ninety days from the date of notification to recommend to the Governor a person to fill the vacancy. If no recommendation is received within the ninety day period, the Governor shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy. In making appointments to local boards, race, gender, and other demographic factors should be considered to assure nondiscrimination, inclusion, and representation to the greatest extent possible of all segments of the population of this State; however, consideration of these factors in no way creates a cause of action or basis for a grievance for a person appointed or for a person who fails to be appointed. The Governor in making the appointments provided for by this section shall endeavor to appoint individuals who have demonstrated exemplary skills in either the public or private sector. A local board member must be a resident of the judicial circuit which the member represents, except where a current or former member is substituting for an absent member. Each local board shall elect a chairman from among its members./
Amend further by deleting Section 20-7-2377 and inserting:
/Section 20-7-2377. A local review board may participate in a judicial review involving a child in foster care. Participation is limited to examination of parties and witnesses and introduction of documentary evidence. Notice of intent to participate must be sent by the division to all parties and the court at least three days before the judicial review hearing./
Amend further, Section 20-7-2388, by deleting /members/ on page 6, line 25 and inserting /members persons/ so when amended Section 20-7-2388 reads:
/Section 20-7-2388. Local boards shall conduct meetings in the judicial circuit which they represent. A quorum is three members. Each board must be provided sufficient staff to perform its functions as set forth in this subarticle with funds provided in the annual state general appropriations act. Members of the local boards and former members persons substituting for an absent member may not receive compensation for their services but must be allowed mileage, per diem, and subsistence as provided by law for state boards, committees, and commissions for attendance at board meetings if the member travels more than forty miles round trip to attend a board meeting. If needed to ensure a quorum at a board meeting, a current or former member of a local board may serve as a substitute on a board other than his the member's own board, whether or not the substitute member is a resident of the judicial circuit of that board./
Amend further, by inserting at the end of Section 1:
/Section 20-7-2399. The division shall promulgate regulations to carry out the provisions of this subarticle./
Amend further, by deleting Section 2 and inserting:
/SECTION 2. Regulations 21-1 through 24-37 are repealed and the Division for the Review of Foster Care of Children in the Office of the Governor shall promulgate new regulations before January 1, 1996.
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor./
Renumber sections to conform.
Amend title to conform.
Majority favorable. Minority unfavorable.
DAVE C. WALDROP, JR. BESSIE MOODY-LAWRENCE
JOSEPH H. NEAL
HARRY R. ASKINS
G. RALPH DAVENPORT, JR.
For Majority. For Minority.
1. Estimated Cost to State-First Year$-0-
2. Estimated Cost to State-Annually
House Bill 4579 proposes to amend Subarticle 4, Article 13, Chapter 7, Title 20 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, 1976, relating to Foster Care Review Boards, so to revise board procedures and standards for review, to eliminate the board supporting the Division of Review of the Foster Care of Children in the Office of the Governor, to change the procedures for selection of local board members, and to limit board member reimbursement.
Section 1 creates sixteen local boards for review of cases of children in foster care for the Division of Review of the Foster Care of Children in the Office of the Governor; outlines the functions and powers of local review boards; authorizes a local review board to participate in a judicial review involving a child in foster care; provides for confidentiality of identifying information in the possession of local boards; eliminates the South Carolina Board of Directors for Review of Foster Care of Children and its authority; and eliminates per diem and subsistence for local board members and limits allow mileage reimbursements only if the member travels more than forty miles round trip to attend a board meeting.
Enactment of this bill would not require the expenditure of any additional state general funds. As proposed, this bill would result in cost savings of approximately $46,418 paid for per diem and meals. During FY 1992-93, total reimbursements to state and local board members for per diem, mileage and meals totaled $51,419. House Bill 4579 eliminates reimbursements for per diem and meals and only provides for payment of mileage if the round trip mileage exceeds forty (40) miles. Unrestricted mileage payments for FY 1992-93 amounted to $5,000. With the proposed limitations on mileage payments in this bill, mileage reimbursements could possibly be less than the amount paid in the previous fiscal year.
Prepared By: Approved By:
Kenneth Brown George N. Dorn, Jr.
State Budget Analyst State Budget Division
TO AMEND SUBARTICLE 4, ARTICLE 13, CHAPTER 7, TITLE 20, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO FOSTER CARE REVIEW BOARDS, SO AS TO REVISE BOARD PROCEDURES AND STANDARDS FOR REVIEW, TO ELIMINATE THE BOARD SUPPORTING THE DIVISION OF REVIEW OF THE FOSTER CARE OF CHILDREN IN THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR, TO CHANGE THE PROCEDURES FOR SELECTION OF LOCAL BOARD MEMBERS, AND TO LIMIT BOARD MEMBER REIMBURSEMENT.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Subarticle 4, Article 13, Chapter 7, Title 20 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 181 of 1993, is further amended to read:
Section 20-7-2374. (A) There are created sixteen local boards for review of cases of children in foster care for the Division of Review of the Foster Care of Children in the Office of the Governor, one in each judicial circuit, composed of five members appointed by the Governor. A person desiring to serve on a local board shall submit an application to the division. The division director shall forward applications and recommendations, if any, to the Governor for consideration. A local board member must be a resident of the judicial circuit which the member represents, except where a current or former member is substituting for an absent member. Each local board shall elect a chairman from among its members.
(B) If the director determines that additional local review boards are necessary in a judicial circuit because of an excessively large case load for review or if the local board is no longer necessary because of a reduced case load, the director may create or dissolve local review boards. Boards created by the director have the authority and duties provided for the boards by this subarticle.
Section 20-7-2376. The functions and powers of local foster care review boards are to:
(A) To (1) review every six months but no less frequently than once every six months the cases of children who have resided reside in public foster care for a period of more than four consecutive months and to review every six months the cases of children who have resided in private foster care for a period of more than six consecutive months to determine what efforts have been made by the supervising agency or child caring facility to acquire a permanent home for the child. The initial review must be conducted after the child has been in foster care for seventy-five consecutive days but before one hundred twenty-five days. A child's return home for temporary placements, trial placements, visits, holidays, weekend visits, or changes from one foster care placement to another must not be construed to mean a break or lapse in determination of a consecutive four-month seventy-five-day period; for children in public foster care or six-month period for children in private foster care;
(B) To recommend continued placement of a child in the child caring facility, unless the parent is able to resume care, in at least those instances when:
(1) Children are privately placed in privately-owned facilities or group homes;
(2) A notarized affidavit of summary review is executed by the child caring facility and is valid on its face. The affidavit of summary review must be submitted to the board every six months and accepted by the board if it is valid on its face. The affidavit must attest to the following conditions:
(a) The person who placed the child has legal custody of the child;
(b) No court has ordered or approved the placement of the child in the care of the child caring facility except as a part of an order granting legal custody of the child to a parent or legal guardian; (c) The facility has no knowledge that a child has ever been abused, neglected, or abandoned while under the care of the person who placed the child in the facility;
(d) The person who placed the child contributes regularly to the support of the child to the level of his ability and has done so for a period of six months immediately prior to the date of the affidavit; (e) The person who placed the child has maintained contact and visitation with the child to the best of his ability under existing circumstances.
(C) To (2) encourage the return placement of children to with their natural parents families, except as provided in item (B) of this section, or, upon determination during a case review of the local review board during a case review that this return placement with their families is not in the best interest of the child, to recommend to initiate procedures pursuant to law to free the child for adoption or recommend that the appropriate agency action be taken for a take maximum effort to place the child for adoption;
(D) To (3) promote and encourage all agencies and facilities involved in placing children in foster care to place children with persons suitable and eligible as adoptive parents;
(E) To (4) advise foster parents of their right to petition the family court for termination of parental rights and for adoption and to encourage these foster parents to initiate these proceedings in an appropriate case when it has been determined by the local review board that return to the natural parent is not in the best interest of the child;
(F) To (5) recommend that a child caring facility or agency exert all possible efforts to make arrangements for permanent guardianship or permanent foster care or guardianship for children for whom return to natural parents or adoption is not feasible or possible as determined during a case review by the local review board;
(G) To (6) report to the state office of the Department of Social Services and other adoptive or foster care agencies any deficiencies in these agencies' efforts to secure permanent homes for children discovered in the local board's review of these cases as provided for in items (A) (1) and (2)(B) of this section.
Any case findings or recommendations of a local review board are advisory.
Section 20-7-2377. A local review board may participate in a judicial review involving a child in foster care including the ability to introduce, examine, and cross-examine witnesses. However, nothing in this section may be construed to require the involvement of the local board in a proceeding. Notice of intent to participate must be provided by the division to all parties and may be given by telephone or in writing.
Section 20-7-2378. (A) All identifying information in the possession of local boards is confidential and must be withheld from public inspection. If a local review board member takes individual case notes, these must be kept in the official review board files when the board is not in session. Staff and the local boards shall maintain all case files in locked file cabinets in the review board system's office. This section may not be construed to permit disclosure of information broader than is permitted by law or to permit lesser confidentiality of records than the agency or facility providing the records. All board members and staff shall sign a statement agreeing to the confidentiality requirement and acknowledgment of notification of the penalties for violation of this requirement. Board members and staff are subject to the same standards of confidentiality as Department of Social Services and other agency employees.
(B) Except as otherwise prohibited by law, information from case records may be released to the following:
(1) division staff;
(2) the local boards and their staff;
(3) the child-caring agency or facility involved;
(4) federal or state courts or other administrative bodies or persons when required by federal or state law or pursuant to court order;
(5) law enforcement as necessary to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect.
Section 20-7-2379. There is created the South Carolina Board of Directors for Review of Foster Care of Children consisting of seven members, all of whom must be past or present members of local review boards. There must be one member from each congressional district and one member from the State at large, all appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Terms of office for the members of the board are for four years and until their successors are appointed and qualify. Of the initial appointments, the Governor shall designate two members to serve for one year, two for a term of two years, two for a term of three years, and one for a term of four years. Thereafter, appointments must be made by the Governor in the manner as prescribed above for terms of four years to expire on June thirtieth of the appropriate year. The board shall elect from its members a chairman who shall serve for two years. Four members of the board constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Members of the board shall receive per diem, mileage, and subsistence as provided by law for members of boards, commissions, and committees while engaged in the work of the board. The board shall meet at least quarterly and more frequently upon the call of the chairman to review and coordinate the activities of the local review boards and make recommendations to the General Assembly with regard to foster care policies, procedures, and deficiencies of public and private agencies which arrange for foster care of children as determined by the review of cases provided for in items (A) and (B) of S 20-7-2376. These recommendations must be included in an annual report, filed with the General Assembly, of the activities of the state office and local review boards. The board of directors shall promulgate regulations to carry out the provisions of this subarticle. These regulations shall provide for and must be limited to procedures for: reviewing reports and other necessary information at state, county, and private agencies and facilities; scheduling of reviews and notification of interested parties; conducting local review board and board of directors' meetings; disseminating local review board recommendations, including reporting to the appropriate family court judges the status of judicially approved treatment plans; and developing policies for summary review of children privately placed in privately-owned facilities or group homes. The board is authorized to employ a director who may be paid an annual salary to be determined by the General Assembly. The board may remove the director at any time for any reason. The director shall employ staff as is necessary to carry out the provisions of this subarticle, and the staff must be compensated in an amount and in a manner as may be determined by the General Assembly. The provisions of this subarticle may not be construed to provide for subpoena authority.
Section 20-7-2382. After participating in a training program of the system for the review of foster care of children, a local review board member is not liable for damages for personal injury as a result of an act or omission in the discharge of his the board member's duties as a member if he the member acts in good faith and his the member's conduct does not constitute gross negligence, recklessness, wilfulness, or wantonness.
Section 20-7-2385. There are created sixteen local boards for review of cases of children receiving foster care, one in each judicial circuit, composed of five members appointed by the Governor upon recommendation of the legislative delegation of each county within the circuit for terms of four years and until their successors are appointed and qualify. If the county legislative delegations within a judicial circuit have not recommended to the Governor a person to fill a review board vacancy within ninety days after being notified by certified mail that the vacancy exists, then the local review boards in the judicial circuit may recommend to the Governor someone to fill the vacancy. All local board members must be residents of the judicial circuit which they represent, except where a current or former member is substituting for an absent member. Local boards shall elect their chairman.
If the board of directors determines that additional local review boards are necessary in a judicial circuit because of an excessively large case load for review or if the local board is no longer necessary because of a reduced case load, the board may create or dissolve local review boards by resolution, and the boards created have all authority and duties provided for the boards by the provisions of this subarticle.
Section 20-7-2388. Local boards shall conduct meetings in the judicial circuit which they represent. A quorum is three members. Each board must be provided sufficient staff to perform its functions as set forth in this subarticle with funds provided in the annual state general appropriations act. Members of the local boards and former members substituting for an absent member may not receive compensation for their services but must be allowed mileage, per diem, and subsistence as provided by law for state boards, committees, and commissions for attendance at board meetings if the member travels more than forty miles round trip to attend a board meeting. If needed to ensure a quorum at a board meeting, a current or former member of a local board may serve as a substitute on a board other than his the member's own board, whether or not the substitute member is a resident of the judicial circuit of that board.
Section 20-7-2391. Any person or agency aggrieved by an action or recommendation of a local review board may seek relief by petition to the family court of that county which shall issue a rule to show cause why the action or recommendation of the local review board should not be set aside or modified. If a child caring facility or agency is not in agreement with the local review board recommendation relating to permanent placement of a child in its care, the child caring facility or agency shall notify the chairman of the local review board within twenty-one days after receipt of the recommendation.
Section 20-7-2394. All public and private agencies and facilities which provide for or arrange foster care for children shall cooperate with the board of directors division director and local review boards by making available for review, upon request, records as may be requested on children subject to review by a local review board. All records must be made available in a timely manner and when requested for a case review, must be available before the scheduled review date. When records are requested at a time other than for a case review, the request must be made by the division director or the attorney for the division. Records include pleadings filed with the court and those records made confidential pursuant to Section 20-7-690. Pleadings and notices relative to judicial review must be sent to the division at the time of filing with the court.
Section 20-7-2397. The provisions of this subarticle may not be construed to limit or delay actions by agencies or facilities to arrange for adoptions, foster care, termination of parental rights, or other related matters on their own initiative, nor do and the provisions of this subarticle in any manner do not alter or restrict in any manner the duties and authority of these agencies and facilities in those matters."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.