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Committee Substitute House Bill 2334 History

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HOUSE COM SUB (1 LINE)
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR

H. B. 2334

(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss and Delegates Michael, Perdue, Amores, Brown and Palumbo)


(Originating in the Committee on Finance)


[March 28 , 2005]


A BILL to amend the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §49-7-34, relating to creating a commission to study the out-of-state placement of children; providing for members and a chair; providing study topics; and requiring certain reporting requirements on specific goals.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §49-7-34, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 7. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
§49-7-34. Commission to study the out-of-state placement of children.

(a)
The Legislature finds that the state's current system of serving children and families in need of or at risk of needing social, emotional and behavioral health services is fragmented. The existing categorical structure of government programs and their funding streams discourages collaboration, resulting in duplication of efforts and a waste of limited resources. Children are usually involved in multiple child-serving systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice and special education. More than ten percent of children who are in care are in out-of-state placements. Earlier efforts at reform have focused on quick fixes for individual components of the system at the expense of all others. It is the purpose of this section to establish a mechanism by which the state agencies involved in the placement of at risk youth continually study and improve this system making recommendations to their respective agencies as well as to the Legislature.
(b) There is hereby created within the Department of Health and Human Resources the Commission to Study the Out-of-state Placement of Children. The Commission is to consist of the Secretary of the Department of Heath and Human Resources, the Commissioner of the Bureau for Children and Families, the State Superintendent of Schools, the Director of the Office of Institutional Educational Programs, the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs and Assurance and the Director of the Division of Juvenile Services.
At the discretion of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, circuit and family court judges and other court personnel, including the administrator of the Supreme Court of Appeals, may serve on the Commission. The named members of the Commission may designate other persons in their respective offices who may also attend the meetings of the Commission if those designated are the head of the office or division whose functions necessitate their inclusion in the process.
(b) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources is to serve as chair of the Commission.
(c) The Commission is to meet at least monthly at the call of the Chair. The Chair or his or her designee is to report monthly on the work of the Commission to the designated legislative task force for juvenile oversight during the monthly interim meetings. (d) The Commission is to study at a minimum the following:
(1) The adequacy of existing in-state facilities and their programming in serving the needs of children who are subject to a court order requiring their removal from their home;
(2) The capacity of existing in-state facilities and their programming in serving the needs of children who are subject to a court order requiring their removal from their home;
(3) The availability of placements in existing in-state facilities with appropriate levels of treatment;
(4) Methods in which availability of placements in existing in-state facilities with appropriate levels of treatment or programs is made readily available and instantaneous to state agency and court personnel, including an interactive secure website;
(5) Methods which promote appropriate cooperation between the courts, state agencies, in-state providers of child care and children and families of children who are subject to a court order requiring their removal from their home;
(6) Methods to encourage utilization of in-state child-care facilities;
(7) The appropriateness of the implementation of a policy of "no refusal" requiring all in-state providers to accept any child who requires the level of treatment for which their facility is licensed if there is an available placement and provided the facility has the necessary programs available;
(8) Methods of certifying out-of-state providers;
(9) What, if any, programs or treatment services are currently unavailable or inadequately provided in this state and the economic feasibility of providing such services in this state, including possible methods of funding; and
(10) Methods to use the funding provided for the treatment and education of children in the custody of the state to best serve those children in an efficient and economical manner.
(e) The Commission shall report to the Joint Commission on Government and Finance by the first day of January, two thousand six, on its progress toward the following goals:
(1) The implementation of an instantaneous method of ascertaining by state agency and court personnel the availability of appropriate in-state placements for children of all levels of treatment and with specific programming needs;
(2) The implementation of a "no-refusal" policy for in-state providers of services;
(3) The encouragement of and full utilization of placements available in in-state facilities; and
(4) The implementation of services determined by the Commission to be currently lacking in in-state facilities that are resulting in the out-of-state placement of children: Provided, That such services can be provided in an economical manner.
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