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Introduced Version Senate Bill 611 History

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Senate Bill No. 611

(By Senators Kessler (Mr. President), Minard, Browning, Stollings, Klempa, Foster and Unger)

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[Introduced February 16, 2012; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

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A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-21-1, §18-21-2, §18-21-3 and §18-21-4, all relating to developing a special community-based pilot demonstration project to help at-risk youth in West Virginia; creating a Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth in West Virginia; providing legislative findings for Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth; and requiring the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to select a community-based organization to establish a Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth, goals of the pilot project and operation of the pilot project.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-21-1, §18-21-2, §18-21-3 and §18-21-4, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 21. SPECIAL COMMUNITY-BASED PILOT DEMONSTRATION PROJECT TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR AT-RISK YOUTH.

§18-21-1. Legislative findings and definitions.

    (a) The Legislature finds and declares:

    (1) That fourteen percent of pregnant women do receive adequate prenatal care;

    (2) That nearly twenty percent of pregnant women abuse alcohol, prescription or illegal drugs;

    (3) That West Virginia has the highest rate of women who smoke during pregnancy;

    (4) West Virginia has one of the nation's highest rates of child abuse and neglect;

    (5) Over one thousand children are in-state or out-of-home placement;

    (6) Nearly four hundred children are in out-of-state placement;

    (7) Over two thousand children are in Department of Health and Human Resources custody;

    (8) Over three thousand children are in the West Virginia foster care system;

    (9) Over four hundred youth are in Division of Juvenile Services custody;

    (10) Almost seven thousand children drop-out of school each year;

    (11) Almost seven thousand children appear before the Juvenile Court each year;

    (12) West Virginia has been cited by the United States Justice Department for having the nation's highest over-representation of minority youth in its juvenile justice system;

    (A) These negative outcomes for many of West Virginia's youth drains financial resources, depletes the workforce and lowers the tax base; and

    (B) The cost of housing a youth in the Division of Juvenile Services in West Virginia is over $90,000 a year;

    (13) West Virginia has the lowest workforce participation rate in the country at fifty-five percent and the workforce participation rate for young adults age sixteen to twenty-four has dropped significantly over the last few years;

    (14) According to the West Virginia Big Picture Funding Report for Children and Families there are more than two hundred fifty different state and federal funding streams that provide over $5.2 billion for services that benefit children, directly support families or strengthen communities;

    (A) These services lack coordination and there is no comprehensive planning process that would provide adequate and appropriate resources where they are most needed;

    (B) There is not an effective delivery system at the local community level to deliver these services.

    (15) Many youth aging out of the juvenile justice and foster-care system graduate into the adult criminal justice system and therefore contributes to and exacerbates the overcrowded prison population and costs the state money; and

    (16) There is a growing need to help at-risk youth, that have entered the juvenile justice system, reform their lifestyle through educational tutoring and mentoring, to help them on a path where crime is no longer necessary in their life and therefore avoid the adult criminal justice system.

    (b) As used in this article:

    (1) "At-risk youth" means all children between birth and seventeen and young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one who are low income still receiving benefits from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, legally under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Resources, in custody of the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services or the selected counties Juvenile Court/Probation Department, or the selected counties school system;

    (2) "Status offenders" means youth guilty of behavior that would not be a crime if they were an adult.

§18-21-2. Creation of a Special Community-Based Pilot Demonstration              Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth.

     Effective July 1, 2012, the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources shall select a community-based organization to establish a special Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Project to Improve Outcomes for At-Risk Youth in a specified community for a duration of four years. The project will identify, implement and document best practices that can be replicated in other communities. The designated community-based organization shall operate the special pilot project under the direction of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources and shall work in collaboration with the State School Superintendent, local county school superintendent, executive director of the President of the Community and Technical College System, the closest Community & Technical College and four year college or university, State Workforce Investment Division, executive director of the West Virginia Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the local juvenile court system, the local workforce investment board, the Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, the director of West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services, the local mental/behavior health organizations and other governmental and community-based organizations.

§18-21-3. Secretary of Department of Health and Human Resources responsibilities.

    The Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources shall:

    (1) Identify a county with the most at-risk youth, that also has adequate facilities and community leadership, to run a community based pilot program that brings together both state and local organizations, to work collaboratively to provide comprehensive, intense wrap around services to at-risk youth and their families in a seamless coordinated system; and

    (2) Identify the challenges confronting the most at-risk youth and their families and make specific recommendations to the pilot program administrators to improve the outcomes for these youths; specifically, to reduce the number of abuse and neglect cases to reduce the number of youth in out-of-home and out-of-state placements; to reduce high school drop-out rates, to reduce substance abuse among youth including smoking, reduce teen pregnancies, to reduce juvenile delinquency and to reduce the number of juvenile delinquents and youth aging out of foster-care that eventually enter into the adult criminal justice system.

    (3) Document best practices which can be replicated in other counties.

    (4) Establish base-line and goals for each performance measure in conjunction with the director of the community-based organization operating the pilot project.

    (5) Beginning in January 2013 on or before the first day of the regular session of the Legislature, and each year thereafter, the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Resources along with the director of the community-based organization operating the pilot program shall make a status report to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Resources Accountability.

§18-21-4. Organization and goals of the Community-Based Pilot Demonstration Program.

    (a) The pilot program shall be operated by a local community-based organization under the direction the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and in collaboration with the State School Superintendent, county school superintendent, executive director of the State Workforce Investment Division, executive director of WV Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the local juvenile court system, the Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission, President of the Community and Technical College System, President of the local Community and Technical College and four year college or university, the director of the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services, the local mental/behavior health organizations and other governmental and community-based organizations and partner agencies to serve as a clearing house to coordinate comprehensive youth and family services. The pilot project shall be housed within the community and will be directed by a local community-based nonprofit organization.

    (b) The pilot project shall operate out of a centrally located building to coordinate services to youth and their families in the selected county from birth to seventeen years of age who are referred by the Department of Health and Human Resources.

    (c) The goal of the pilot program is to improve outcomes for at-risk youth as measured by the following metrics:

    (1) Early Childhood Development:

    (A) Increase in the number of mothers receiving early prenatal care;

    (B) Increase in number of mothers participating in the Right From the Start Program;

    (C) Increase in the number of children screened by birth to three year old program for early development delays;

    (D) Increase in the number of three year olds enrolled in Head Start;

    (E) Increase in the number of four year olds enrolled in.     (2) Preschool Youth and Teen Measures:

    (A) Decrease in school truancy; 

    (B) Decrease in truancy hearings; 

    (C) Decrease in school suspensions;

    (D) Decrease in school expulsions;

    (E) Decrease in high school dropouts at a select school;

    (F) Increase in the number of youth participating in a mentoring program;

    (G) Increase in academic performance for select students;

    (H) Increase in number of youth participating in summer employment;

    (1) Increase in number of youth entering post-secondary education or job.

    (2)Parent Measures:

    (A) Increase in the number of individuals registered at the Workforce West Virginia Center;

    (B) Increase in the number of individuals enrolled in job training;

    (C) Increase in the number of individuals completing job training with a certification or credential;

    (D) Increase in the number of individuals placed in employment; and

    (E) Increase in number of children enrolled in the CHIP Program.



    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a special community-based pilot program to help at-risk youth in a selected county in West Virginia by introducing prevention strategies for children through early intervention and diversion strategies.


 

    This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.


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