(b) In light of this purpose, the Legislature intends to provide for:
(1) The acceptance by the department of referrals or reports of abuse or neglect, both judicial and extra judicial, voluntary or involuntary, and the offering of opportunities by the department whereby parents, guardians or custodians and their children may avail themselves of public and private resources offering programs and services which are primarily preventive and nonpunitive and geared toward a rehabilitation of the home and a treatment of the underlying factors which cause or tend to cause abuse and neglect;
(2) The vigorous and fair assessment and investigation of alleged cases of child abuse or neglect to the end that no child subjected to abuse or neglect shall be left without assistance consistent in all respects with the purposes and goals of this chapter and article;
(3) The thorough and professional diagnosis of cases to determine whether child abuse or neglect exists, whether court action is appropriate, or whether a high risk or danger to children requires emergency services or the initiation of an immediate response;
(4) An assessment of the family, family members and family problems in each case, to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement, and to determine how best to augment the protective services functions of the department with community resources available to and needed by the family, to the end that a plan can be implemented whereby every abused or neglected child in the state will be provided an environment for his or her custody, care and control which offers as normal a family life as practicable, free of abuse or neglect, preferably in the child's own home;
(5) In cases where removal of a child is required, but a termination of parental rights is not ordered, the opportunity for the family to visit and maintain family ties in the family home or in home-like and other conducive surroundings, avoiding, wherever possible, the austere surroundings of a public or private agency with limited time and lack of privacy;
(6) The fulfillment of the state's responsibility to assist the family in a manner consonant with the purposes of this article, even in cases requiring temporary removal of the child, without fear by the citizens that the state's exercise of that responsibility will be unfairly used as a means of terminating family ties;
(7) The prompt and effective termination of parental rights in cases where there is an abject failure of the parents or custodians to reasonably utilize fair, professionally developed and communicated opportunities to end the abuse or neglect.
(a) The Department of Health and Human Resources shall develop a unified child and family case plan for every family wherein a person has been referred to the department after being allowed an improvement period or where the child is placed in foster care The case plan must be filed within sixty days of the child coming into foster care or within thirty days of the inception of the improvement period, whichever occurs first. The department may also prepare a case plan for any person who voluntarily seeks child abuse and neglect services from the department, or who is referred to the department by another public agency or private organization. The case plan provisions shall comply with federal law and the rules of procedure for child abuse and neglect proceedings.
(b) The department shall convene a multidisciplinary treatment team, which shall develop the case plan. Parents, guardians or custodians shall participate fully in the development of the case plan, and the child shall also fully participate if sufficiently mature and the child's participation is otherwise appropriate. The case plan may be modified from time to time to allow for flexibility in goal development, and in each such case the modifications shall be submitted to the court in writing. Reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian may be made at the same time as reasonable efforts are being made to prevent removal or to make it possible for a child to return safely home. The court shall examine the proposed case plan or any modification thereof, and upon a finding by the court that the plan or modified plan can be easily communicated, explained and discussed so as to make the participants accountable and able to understand the reasons for any success or failure under the plan, the court shall inform the participants of the probable action of the court if goals are met or not met.
(c) In furtherance of the provisions of this article, the department shall, within the limits of available funds, establish programs and services for the following purposes:
(1) For the development and establishment of training programs for professional and paraprofessional personnel in the fields of medicine, law, education, social work and other relevant fields who are engaged in, or intend to work in, the field of the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect; and training programs for children, and for persons responsible for the welfare of children, in methods of protecting children from child abuse and neglect;
(2) For the establishment and maintenance of centers, serving defined geographic areas, staffed by multidisciplinary teams and community teams of personnel trained in the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect cases, to provide a broad range of services related to child abuse and neglect, including direct support as well as providing advice and consultation to individuals, agencies and organizations which request such services;
(3) For furnishing services of multidisciplinary teams and community teams, trained in the prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect cases, on a consulting basis to small communities where such services are not available;
(4) For other innovative programs and projects that show promise of successfully identifying, preventing or remedying the causes of child abuse and neglect, including, but not limited to, programs and services designed to improve and maintain parenting skills, programs and projects for parent self help, and for prevention and treatment of drug-related child abuse and neglect; and
(5) Assisting public agencies or nonprofit private organizations or combinations thereof in making applications for grants from, or in entering into contracts with, the Secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services for demonstration programs and projects designed to identify, prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.
(d) Agencies, organizations and programs funded to carry out the purposes of this section shall be structured so as to comply with any applicable federal law, any regulation of the federal Department of Health and Human Services or the secretary thereof, and any final comprehensive plan of the federal advisory board on child abuse and neglect. In funding organizations, the department shall, to the extent feasible, ensure that parental organizations combating child abuse and neglect receive preferential treatment.
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