GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2013

H                                                                                                                                                   2

HOUSE BILL 971

Committee Substitute Favorable 5/21/13

 

Short Title:        A Family For Every Child/Foster Care.

(Public)

Sponsors:

 

Referred to:

 

April 18, 2013

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT Establishing the family for every child foster care initiative to improve permanency outcomes for children living in foster care.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 108A-50.2 reads as rewritten:

" 108A-50.2.  Special Children Adoption Promotion Fund.

(a)        Funds appropriated by the General Assembly to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services, for the Special Children Adoption Promotion Fund shall be used as provided in this section. The Division of Social Services of the Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the North Carolina Association of County Directors of Social Services and representatives of licensed private adoption agencies, shall develop guidelines for the awarding of funds to licensed public and private adoption agencies upon the adoption of children described in G.S. 108A-50 and in foster care. Payments received from the Special Children Adoption Promotion Fund by participating agencies shall be used exclusively to enhance the adoption services. No local match shall be required as a condition for receipt of these funds. In accordance with State rules for allowable costs, the Special Children Adoption Promotion Fund may be used for post-adoption services for families whose income exceeds two hundred percent (200%) of the federal poverty level.

(b)        Of the total funds appropriated for the Special Children Adoption Promotion Fund each year, twenty percent (20%) of the total funds available shall be reserved for payment to participating private adoption agencies. If the funds reserved in this subsection for payments to private agencies have not been spent on or before March 31 of each State fiscal year, the Division of Social Services may reallocate those funds, in accordance with this section, to other participating adoption agencies.

(c)        The Division of Social Services shall monitor the total expenditures in the Special Children Adoption Promotion Fund and redistribute unspent funds to ensure that the funds are used in accordance with the guidelines established in subsection (a) of this section."

SECTION 2.  G.S. 131D-10.1 through G.S. 131D-10.9 are recodified as Part 1 of Article 1A of Chapter 131D of the General Statutes.

SECTION 3.  Article 1A of Chapter 131D of the General Statutes is amended by adding the following new Part to read:

"Part 2. A Family for Every Child Initiative.

" 131D-10.9A.  Permanency Innovation Initiative Oversight Committee created.

(a)        Creation and Membership. - The Permanency Innovation Initiative Oversight Committee is established. The Committee shall be located administratively in the General Assembly. The Committee shall consist of 11 members serving staggered terms. In making appointments, each appointing authority shall select members who have appropriate experience and knowledge of the issues to be examined by the Committee and shall strive to ensure racial, gender, and geographical diversity among the membership. The initial Committee members shall be appointed on or after July 1, 2013, as follows:

(1)        Four members shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Of the members appointed under this subdivision, at least one shall be a member of the judiciary who shall serve for a term of two years and at least one shall be a representative from the Children's Home Society of North Carolina who shall serve for a term of three years. One member of the House shall be appointed for a one-year term. The remaining appointee shall serve a one-year term.

(2)        Four members shall be appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Of the members appointed under this subdivision, at least one shall be a representative from the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services, who shall serve for a term of two years and at least one shall be a representative from The Duke Endowment who shall serve for a term of three years. One member of the Senate shall be appointed for a one-year term. The remaining appointee shall serve a one-year term.

(3)        Three members shall be appointed by the Governor. Of the members appointed under this subdivision, at least one shall be a representative from a county department of social services who shall serve for a term of three years and at least one shall be a representative from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who shall serve for a term of two years. The remaining member shall serve a one-year term.

(b)        Terms. - Upon the expiration of the terms of the initial Committee members, each member shall be appointed for a term of three years and shall serve until a successor is appointed. No member may serve more than two consecutive full terms. A vacancy shall be filled within 30 days by the authority making the initial appointment.

(c)        Purpose and Powers. - The Committee shall:

(1)        Design and implement a data tracking methodology to collect and analyze information to gauge the success of the initiative.

(2)        Develop a methodology to identify short- and long-term cost-savings in the provision of foster care and any potential reinvestment strategies.

(3)        Oversee program implementation to ensure fidelity to the program models identified under subdivisions (1) and (2) of G.S. 131D-10.9B.

(4)        Study, review, and recommend other policies and services that may positively impact permanency and well-being outcomes.

(d)        Reports. - The Committee shall report its analysis and any findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by September 15 of each year.

(e)        Organization. - The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each designate a cochair of the Committee. The Committee shall meet at least once a quarter upon the joint call of the cochairs. A quorum of the Committee is seven members. No action may be taken except by a majority vote at a meeting at which a quorum is present.

(f)         Funding. - From funds available to the General Assembly, the Legislative Services Commission shall allocate monies to fund the work of the Committee. Members of the Committee shall receive subsistence and travel expenses as provided in G.S. 120-3.1 and G.S. 138-5.

(g)        Staff. - The Legislative Services Commission, through the Legislative Services Officer, shall assign professional staff to assist the Committee in its work. Upon the direction of the Legislative Services Commission, the Director of Legislative Assistants of the Senate and of the House of Representatives shall assign clerical staff to the Committee. The expenses for clerical employees shall be borne by the Committee.

" 131D-10.9B.  Permanency Innovation Initiative Fund.

(a)        There is created the Permanency Innovation Initiative Fund that will support a demonstration project with services provided by Children's Home Society of North Carolina to (i) improve permanency outcomes for children living in foster care through reunification with parents, providing placement or guardianship with other relatives, or adoption, (ii) improve engagement with biological relatives of children in or at risk of entering foster care, and (iii) reduce costs associated with maintaining children in foster care. In implementing these goals, the Permanency Innovation Initiative Fund shall support the following strategies:

(1)        Family Finding, which is a program that uses intensive biological family engagement services to discover and engage biological relatives of children living in public foster care to provide permanent emotional and relational support, including adoption, legal guardianship, or legal custody.

(2)        Child Specific Adoption Recruitment Services, which is a program that follows the Wendy's Wonderful Kids Model as developed by The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and works with children in public foster care to develop and execute adoption recruitment plans tailored to the needs of the individual child.

(3)        Permanency Training Services, which are services delivered by Children's Home Society of North Carolina to assess the readiness of county departments of social services to implement the permanency strategies under subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection and provide training services to support the delivery of the services.

(b)        This program shall not constitute an entitlement and is subject to the availability of funds.

(c)        The Social Services Commission shall adopt rules to implement the provisions of this section."

SECTION 4.  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services, the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year to be used to restore funding to the Adoption Promotion Fund to (i) reimburse private nonprofit organizations pursuant to performance-based contracts to support adoption programs and (ii) provide a financial incentive to public county departments of social services to complete adoptions above an established baseline.

SECTION 5.  There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services, the sum of one million dollars ($1,000,000) for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and the sum of two million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($2,750,000) for the 2014-2015 fiscal year to be used solely for the Permanency Innovation Initiative Fund for services provided by the Children's Home Society of North Carolina as established by G.S. 131D-10.9B.

SECTION 6.  This act becomes effective July 1, 2013.