HCS/SB 323 - This act modifies provisions relating to the community children's services fund and to the foster care parents' bill of rights.
COMMUNITY CHILDREN'S SERVICES FUND
This act allows for the appointment of a board of directors prior to the establishment of a tax for a Community Children's Services Fund and allows for the board to engage in and contract for services or actions necessary to conduct the duties of the board once it is established. Current law requires the appointment of the board after the tax has been established.
FOSTER CARE PARENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS
This act modifies several provisions regarding the rights of foster parents, and states that the children's division and its contractors shall provide foster parents with written notification of the rights enumerated in this act at the time of initial licensure or renewal of licensure.
The act provides that the division and its contractors shall provide foster parents with regularly scheduled opportunities for preservice training and pertinent inservice training, as determined by the Missouri State Youth Advisory Board. The division and its contractors shall provide to foster and potential adoptive parents, prior to placement of children, a full disclosure of all medical, psychological, and psychiatric conditions of the child, information from previous placements that would indicate a propensity of the child to engage in violent or destructive behavior, information related to the child or child's family including history of mental or physical illness, sexual abuse or perpetration, criminal background, fire-setting or other destructive behavior, substance abuse, or any other information that is pertinent to the care and needs of the child and protection of the foster or adoptive family. Knowingly providing false or misleading information in order to secure placement for a child shall be denoted in the caseworker's file and shall be kept on record by the division. Foster parents shall be informed in a timely manner of all team meetings related to licensure status or children placed in their home. Foster parents shall follow all division and contractor procedures related to requesting and using respite care.
The act also provides that foster parents may share otherwise confidential information about children in their care with school personnel in order to secure safe and appropriate education for such children, and may share such information as is necessary for medical or psychiatric care of the child. Foster parents also must share any concerns that arise in the care of any child in their home with members of the child welfare team. Foster parents are also required to be flexible and cooperative with regard to family visits.
The act states that the division and its contractors shall provide foster parents with training that specifically addresses cultural needs of foster children, including but not limited to skin and hair care, and religious or cultural practices of the child's biological family, and shall provide referrals to community resources for ongoing education and support. Foster parents shall use discipline methods which are consistent with division policy.
The act also provides that foster parents shall give two weeks notice when requesting removal of a child in their home, except in emergency situations. Also, if a child reenters the foster care system and cannot be placed in a relative home, such child's former foster parents shall be given first consideration for placement of the child. If a foster child becomes free for adoption, foster parents shall inform the caseworker within 60 days of any inquiry as to whether they desire to pursue adoption, and if they choose not to do so, foster parents shall support the child's placement in a permanent home by providing information on the history and care needs of the child, as well as accommodating transitional visitation. The act provides that foster parents shall be informed by the court no later than two weeks prior of all court hearings pertaining to a child in their care.
The act also provides that the division and its contractors shall provide access to an impartial grievance procedure to address issues relating to foster parent licensure, case management decisions, and service issues.
These provisions are substantially similar to SB 697 (2007).