Impact of legislative changes on the children, youth and families served by the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families

Several bills passed during the 2017 legislative session that may impact the children, youth and families served through the programs and divisions within the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF). Below is a brief summary of legislation that professionals in the fields of child welfare, domestic violence and juvenile justice may want to learn more about. To read the entire bill visit www.leg.colorado.gov

In some cases, CDHS plans to publish additional guidance in the form of an agency memorandum to provide more direction or information regarding the legislative change. To subscribe to receive a copy of all memorandum issued by the OCYF, click HERE or update your subscription preferences if you are already a subscriber to the OCYF Community Partners list.

 

Division of Youth Corrections renamed Division of Youth Services

House Bill 17-1329 outlined reforms to the Division of Youth Corrections. This legislation renamed the Division of Youth Corrections to the "Division of Youth Services" or (DYS). Further, it requires the Division to implement a 20-bed pilot program and evaluate the effectiveness of the program over the next few years. It also requires the Division to add education outcomes into the annual recidivism report, add Governor appointed community boards into each region, and expands some reporting requirements.

 

 

Dr. Robert Werthwein, director of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families pictured with Governor Hickenlooper and many stakeholders at the signing of House Bill 17-1207 excluding some 10- to 12-year-olds from DYS detention.

 

Law excludes some 10- to 12-year-olds from DYS detention

The Colorado Department of Human Services strongly advocated for House Bill 17-1207 because it will prevent these youth from being detained in DYC while still ensuring they receive the supportive services they need in the community. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Pete Lee and Sen. Kevin Priola.

Under the previous law, 10- to 12-year-olds could be arrested and held in locked detention for non-violent crimes, petty crimes including shoplifting and status offenses such as not following a court order to attend school. From Fiscal Year 2014-15 to Fiscal Year 2015-16, there were 164 admissions of youth ages 10 to 12 in a locked detention center for nonviolent offenses.

 

“Locking up nonviolent 10- to 12-year-olds does nothing to reduce future offenses,” said Anders Jacobson, DYC director. “Instead, it might actually increase their chance for recidivism and places them at a greater risk of self-harm. With this law in place, we’ll get these youth the services they need to improve their lives in their own communities.”

 

Under the new law, only 10- to 12-year-olds arrested on a felony or weapons charge can be detained in a juvenile detention center. Youth ages 10 to 12 will no longer be detained for non-weapon, non-felony charges. Juvenile courts have been notified of this change in statute, and are developing plans for the release of any affected youth.

The new law keeps these youth eligible to receive existing funding through Senate Bill 91-94 for services such as mental health and substance abuse assessments, therapy, case management, supervision and educational support.

 

Employees of county departments of health, human services, or social services added to the list of mandatory reporters.

Under current law, certain identified persons are mandated to report if they know or suspect that a child has been subject to abuse or neglect (mandatory reporters). Many would be surprised to learn that county health, human services or social services were not on that list. Under House Bill 17-1185, these professionals will join the more than 40 other professions designated as mandatory reporters in Colorado.  Many professions, including the Colorado Department of Human Services have incorporated the online training for mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect into their employment practices requiring employees to complete the certified training.

 

The online training offers more details about signs, responsibilities of a mandatory reporter and what a mandatory reporter can expect after making the call. For example, if a mandatory reporter continues to be involved with a child who was the subject of the report, he or she is entitled to access to records and reports of the abuse or neglect. Current law requires the county department of human or social services to report certain information to a mandatory reporter within 30 days after the filing of a report. The bill extends the period to 60 days.

 

Take the online training for mandatory reporters and get certified today.

Download the Mandatory Reporting Training Flyer

Learn more about mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect in Colorado.

 

Other bills potentially impacting children, youth and families served by OCYF:

 

SB17-016 County Choice Child Protection Teams

Concerning the optional creation of a child protection team by a county.

Current law requires the creation of a child protection team for any county or group of contiguous counties receiving more than 50 referrals related to child abuse or neglect in a year. Other counties or groups of contiguous counties are encouraged, but not required, to establish a child protection team. The bill makes it optional for all counties and groups of contiguous counties to establish a child protection team, at the discretion of the county director or the directors of a contiguous group of counties. The state department of human services is directed to include a summary and description of the work of child protection teams in its annual 'State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act' presentation.

 

SB17-028 Healthy Families And Military Preparedness Act

The bill requires the state department of human services (state department) and county departments of human or social services (county departments) to provide notice and to collect and share information with the command authority of national military installations regarding any report received of known or suspected instances of child abuse or neglect in which the person having custody or control of the child is a member of the armed forces or a spouse, or a significant other or family member residing in the home of the member of the armed forces assigned to that military installation.

 

HB 17-1052 Child Welfare Allocation Formula Factors

Concerning factors to take into consideration in determining the child welfare allocation formula in a given fiscal year.

The bill removes certain data-gathering factors currently required to be taken into consideration in determining a fiscal year's child welfare allocation formula for counties and replaces those with a broader scope of factors that directly affect the population of children in need of child welfare services, as determined by the state department of human services and the child welfare allocations committee.

 

HB 17-1283 Task Force Child Welfare Worker Resiliency Program

Concerning the creation of a task force to examine workforce resiliency in the child welfare system.

The bill creates a task force to organize county-level versions of and guidelines for child welfare caseworker resiliency programs (task force) modeled on national resiliency programs. The membership of the task force is outlined, along with its duties and reporting requirements.

 

HB17-1304 - Adoptee Present In-state Exception

Concerning allowing the adoption of a child under the jurisdiction of a court in Colorado who is not present in Colorado.

Under current law, for a child to be adopted, the child must be present in the state at the time that the petition for adoption is filed. Under the bill, the child need not be present in the state if the child has been under the jurisdiction of a court in Colorado for at least 6 months.

 

HB 17-1111 Dependency And Neglect Civil Protection Orders

Concerning allowing juvenile courts to enter civil protection orders in dependency and neglect cases.

 

SB17-189 - Consumer Options In Fingerprint Background Checks

Concerning elimination of the requirement that a law enforcement agency is the only entity authorized to take fingerprints for purposes of a background check.

 

HB17-1292 Child Welfare Provider Rates

The bill sets forth guidelines for the establishment of provider rates for licensed out-of-home placement providers (providers). Rules adopted by the department of human services (department) concerning provider rates shall include cost-of-living adjustments and provider rate increases approved by the general assembly. The department is directed to continue completing an annual review of the methodology by which counties evaluate and negotiate provider rates and outcomes and submit a report to the joint budget committee.

 

SB 17-177 Children's Code Definition Of Special Respondent

Concerning amending the definition of 'special respondent' in the children's code to allow a person to be voluntarily joined in a dependency or neglect proceeding.

 

SB 17-126 Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board

Concerning the Colorado domestic violence fatality review board, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

The bill creates the Colorado domestic violence fatality review board (board) in the department of law (department). The review board includes the attorney general or his or her designee, who acts as chair, and at least 17 other members, to be appointed by the attorney general. A city, county, or district court may establish a review team to review fatal and near-fatal incidents of domestic violence, related domestic violence matters, and suicides related to domestic abuse. Each review team shall collect data and report it to their communities and to the review board. A local or regional child fatality prevention review team may operate as a domestic violence review team.

 

HB Juvenile Delinquency Record Expungement

Concerning juvenile delinquency record expungement, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

 

HB 1101 Division Of Youth Corrections Monetary Incentives Award Program

Concerning the creation of the youth corrections monetary incentives award program in the division of youth corrections.

The purpose of the program is to provide monetary awards and incentives for academic, social, and psychological achievement to juveniles who were formerly committed to the division to assist and encourage them in moving forward in positive directions in life.

 

HB 1039 Restorative Justice Communication Issues

Concerning communication issues related to restorative justice.

The bill allows the district attorney to consent to an assessment for suitability for participation in restorative justice practices, including victim-offender conferences, as part of a recommended sentence in a plea bargain. The bill directs that the presentence report must indicate whether the offender meets the minimum eligibility requirements for participation in restorative justice practices.

 

SB17-021 Assistance To Released Mentally Ill Offenders

Concerning reentry services for persons with mental illness in the criminal justice system.

The bill directs the division of housing in the department of local affairs to establish a program to provide vouchers and supportive services to persons with a behavioral or mental health disorder who are being released from the department of corrections (DOC), the division of youth corrections in the department of human services (DYC), or jails. The program is funded by an appropriation from the marijuana tax cash fund and from money unspent by the division of criminal justice (CDPS) for community corrections programs in the previous fiscal year.

 

SB17-019 Medication Mental Illness In Justice Systems

Concerning increasing medication consistency for persons with mental illness in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.

The bill implements recommendations from the task force concerning the treatment of persons with mental health disorders in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and the medication consistency work group of the behavioral health transformation council to promote increased medication consistency for persons with mental health disorders in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

 

SB17-051 Revisions To Victims' Rights Laws

Concerning the rights of crime victims.

 

HB17-1035 Sex Assault And Stalking Victims May Break Leases

Concerning allowing certain crime victims to break their rental agreements under certain circumstances.

 

HB17-1322 Domestic Violence Reports By Medical Professionals

Concerning injuries resulting from domestic violence.

 

SB17-201 Sunset Domestic Violence Offender Management Board

Concerning the continuation of the domestic violence offender management board, and, in connection therewith, implementing the recommendations of the 2016 sunset report issued by the department of regulatory agencies.