2007 Legislation
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HOUSE BILL NO. 21 – Guardian ad litem coordinator


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Bill Status

H0021................................by JUDICIARY, RULES AND ADMINISTRATION
CHILD PROTECTIVE ACT - Amends existing law relating to the Child Protective
Act to remove the definition for "child advocate coordinator"; to revise a
definition and to define "guardian ad litem coordinator"; to revise
provisions applicable to the standards and duties of guardian ad litem
coordinators; to require criminal history checks; to revise provisions
relating to the disbursement of moneys in the guardian ad litem account;
and to revise provisions applicable to guardian ad litem grants.
01/16    House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
01/17    Rpt prt - to Jud
01/26    Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
01/29    2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg
01/30    3rd rdg - PASSED - 66-0-4
      AYES -- Anderson, Andrus, Bayer, Bedke, Bell, Bilbao, Black, Bock,
      Boe, Bolz, Brackett, Bradford, Chadderdon, Chavez, Chew, Clark,
      Collins, Crane, Durst, Edmunson, Hagedorn, Hart, Harwood, Henbest,
      Henderson, Jaquet, Killen, King, Kren, Labrador, Lake, LeFavour,
      Loertscher, Luker, Marriott, Mathews, McGeachin, Mortimer, Moyle,
      Nielsen, Nonini, Pasley-Stuart, Patrick, Pence, Raybould, Ring,
      Ringo, Roberts, Ruchti, Rusche, Sayler, Shepherd(2), Shepherd(8),
      Shirley, Shively, Smith(30), Smith(24), Snodgrass, Stevenson, Thayn,
      Trail, Vander Woude, Wills, Wood(27), Wood(35), Mr. Speaker
      NAYS -- None
      Absent and excused -- Barrett, Block,  Eskridge, Schaefer
    Floor Sponsor - Ruchti
    Title apvd - to Senate
01/31    Senate intro - 1st rdg - to Jud
02/08    Rpt out - rec d/p - to 2nd rdg
02/09    2nd rdg - to 3rd rdg
02/15    3rd rdg - PASSED - 34-0-1
      AYES -- Andreason, Bair, Bastian, Bilyeu, Broadsword, Burkett,
      Cameron, Coiner, Corder, Darrington, Davis, Fulcher, Gannon, Geddes,
      Goedde, Hammond, Heinrich, Hill, Jorgenson, Kelly, Keough, Langhorst,
      Lodge, Malepeai, McGee, McKague, McKenzie, Pearce, Richardson,
      Schroeder, Siddoway, Stegner, Stennett, Werk
      NAYS -- None
      Absent and excused -- Little
    Floor Sponsor - Kelly
    Title apvd - to House
02/16    To enrol
02/19    Rpt enrol - Sp signed
02/20    Pres signed
02/21    To Governor
02/22    Governor signed
         Session Law Chapter 26
         Effective: 07/01/07

Bill Text

  ]]]]              LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO             ]]]]
 Fifty-ninth Legislature                   First Regular Session - 2007
                              IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                                     HOUSE BILL NO. 21
  1                                        AN ACT
 11    Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
 12        SECTION  1.  That  Section 16-1602, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
 13    amended to read as follows:
 14        16-1602.  DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this chapter:
 15        (1)  "Abused" means any case in which a child has been the victim of:
 16        (a)  Conduct or omission resulting in skin bruising,  bleeding,  malnutri-
 17        tion,  burns,  fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swell-
 18        ing, failure to thrive or death, and such condition or death is not justi-
 19        fiably explained, or where the history given concerning such condition  or
 20        death  is  at variance with the degree or type of such condition or death,
 21        or the circumstances indicate that such condition or death may not be  the
 22        product of an accidental occurrence; or
 23        (b)  Sexual  conduct,  including  rape, molestation, incest, prostitution,
 24        obscene or pornographic photographing, filming or depiction for commercial
 25        purposes, or other similar forms of sexual exploitation harming or threat-
 26        ening the child's health or welfare or mental injury to the child.
 27        (2)  "Abandoned" means the failure of the  parent  to  maintain  a  normal
 28    parental relationship with his child including, but not limited to, reasonable
 29    support  or  regular  personal  contact. Failure to maintain this relationship
 30    without just cause for a period of one (1) year shall constitute  prima  facie
 31    evidence of abandonment.
 32        (3)  "Adaptive equipment" means any piece of equipment or any item that is
 33    used  to  increase, maintain or improve the parenting capabilities of a parent
 34    with a disability.
 35        (4)  "Adjudicatory hearing" means a hearing to determine:
 36        (a)  Whether the child comes under the jurisdiction of the court  pursuant
 37        to the provisions of this chapter;
 38        (b)  Whether  continuation  of  the child in the home would be contrary to
 39        the child's welfare and whether the best interests of  the  child  require
 40        protective  supervision or vesting legal custody of the child in an autho-
 41        rized agency;
 42        (c)  Whether aggravated circumstances as defined in section 16-1619, Idaho
 43        Code, exist.
  1        (5)  "Authorized agency" means the department, a local agency,  a  person,
  2    an  organization,  corporation,  benevolent society or association licensed or
  3    approved by the department or the court to receive children for control, care,
  4    maintenance or placement.
  5        (6)  "Case plan hearing" means a hearing to:
  6        (a)  Review, approve, modify or reject the case plan; and
  7        (b)  Review reasonable efforts being made to rehabilitate the family; and
  8        (c)  Review reasonable efforts being made to reunify the children  with  a
  9        parent or guardian.
 10        (7)  "Child"  means  an  individual  who is under the age of eighteen (18)
 11    years.
 12        (8)  "Child advocate coordinator"  means  a  person  or  entity  receiving
 13    moneys from the grant administrator for the purpose of carrying out any of the
 14    duties as set forth in section 16-1632, Idaho Code.
 15        (9)  "Circumstances  of  the  child"  includes, but is not limited to, the
 16    joint legal custody or joint physical custody of the child.
 17        (109)  "Commit" means to transfer legal and physical custody.
 18        (110) "Concurrent planning" means a planning model that prepares  for  and
 19    implements different outcomes at the same time.
 20        (121) "Court" means district court or magistrate's division thereof, or if
 21    the context requires, a magistrate or judge thereof.
 22        (132) "Custodian"  means  a person, other than a parent or legal guardian,
 23    to whom legal or joint legal custody of the child  has  been  given  by  court
 24    order.
 25        (143) "Department"  means  the  department  of  health and welfare and its
 26    authorized representatives.
 27        (154) "Disability" means, with respect to an  individual,  any  mental  or
 28    physical  impairment  which  substantially  limits  one (1) or more major life
 29    activity of the individual including, but not limited  to,  self-care,  manual
 30    tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning or working, or a record of
 31    such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Disability
 32    shall  not  include  transvestism,  transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism,
 33    voyeurism, other sexual behavior disorders, or substance use  disorders,  com-
 34    pulsive  gambling,  kleptomania or pyromania. Sexual preference or orientation
 35    is not considered an impairment or disability. Whether an impairment  substan-
 36    tially  limits a major life activity shall be determined without consideration
 37    of the effect of corrective or mitigating measures used to reduce the  effects
 38    of the impairment.
 39        (165) "Family  or household member" shall have the same meaning as in sec-
 40    tion 39-6303(6), Idaho Code.
 41        (176) "Foster care" means twenty-four (24) hour substitute care for  chil-
 42    dren placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the state agency
 43    has placement and care responsibility.
 44        (187) "Grant  administrator" means the supreme court or any such organiza-
 45    tion or agency as may be designated by the supreme court from time to time  to
 46    in accordance with such procedures as may be adopted by the supreme court. The
 47    grant  administrator shall administer funds from the guardian ad litem account
 48    in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
 49        (198) "Guardian ad litem" means a person appointed by the  court  pursuant
 50    to  a  guardian  ad  litem  volunteer program to act as special advocate for a
 51    child under this chapter.
 52        (19)  "Guardian ad litem coordinator" means a person or  entity  receiving
 53    moneys from the grant administrator for the purpose of carrying out any of the
 54    duties set forth in section 16-1632, Idaho Code.
 55        (20) "Guardian  ad  litem program" means the program to recruit, train and
  1    coordinate volunteer persons to  serve  as  guardians  ad  litem  for  abused,
  2    neglected or abandoned children.
  3        (21) "Homeless,"  as  used  in  this chapter, shall mean that the child is
  4    without adequate shelter or other living facilities,  and  the  lack  of  such
  5    shelter  or  other  living  facilities poses a threat to the health, safety or
  6    well-being of the child.
  7        (22) "Law enforcement agency" means a city police department,  the  prose-
  8    cuting  attorney  of any county, state law enforcement officers, or the office
  9    of a sheriff of any county.
 10        (23) "Legal custody" means a relationship created by  court  order,  which
 11    vests in a custodian the following rights and responsibilities:
 12        (a)  To  have  physical custody and control of the child, and to determine
 13        where and with whom the child shall live.
 14        (b)  To supply the child  with  food,  clothing,  shelter  and  incidental
 15        necessities.
 16        (c)  To provide the child with care, education and discipline.
 17        (d)  To authorize ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, psychological, or
 18        other remedial care and treatment for the child, including care and treat-
 19        ment in a facility with a program of services for children; and to author-
 20        ize  surgery  if  the  surgery is deemed by two (2) physicians licensed to
 21        practice in this state to be necessary for the child.
 22        (e)  Where the parents share legal custody, the custodian  may  be  vested
 23        with the custody previously held by either or both parents.
 24        (24) "Mental injury" means a substantial impairment in the intellectual or
 25    psychological  ability of a child to function within a normal range of perfor-
 26    mance and/or behavior, for short or long terms.
 27        (25) "Neglected" means a child:
 28        (a)  Who is without proper parental care and control, or subsistence, edu-
 29        cation, medical or other care or  control  necessary  for  his  well-being
 30        because  of the conduct or omission of his parents, guardian or other cus-
 31        todian or their neglect or refusal to provide them; provided, however,  no
 32        child whose parent or guardian chooses for such child treatment by prayers
 33        through  spiritual  means  alone  in  lieu  of medical treatment, shall be
 34        deemed for that reason alone to be neglected or lack parental care  neces-
 35        sary  for  his health and well-being, but further provided this subsection
 36        shall not prevent the court from acting pursuant to section 16-1627, Idaho
 37        Code; or
 38        (b)  Whose parents, guardian or other custodian are  unable  to  discharge
 39        their  responsibilities  to  and  for  the  child and, as a result of such
 40        inability, the child lacks the parental care  necessary  for  his  health,
 41        safety or well-being; or
 42        (c)  Who has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law.
 43        (26) "Permanency  hearing"  means  a hearing to review, approve, reject or
 44    modify the permanency plan of the department, and review reasonable efforts in
 45    accomplishing the permanency plan.
 46        (27) "Permanency plan" means a plan for a continuous residence and mainte-
 47    nance of nurturing relationships during the child's minority.
 48        (28) "Protective order" means an  order  created  by  the  court  granting
 49    relief as delineated in section 39-6306, Idaho Code, and shall be for a period
 50    not to exceed three (3) months unless otherwise stated herein. Failure to com-
 51    ply with the order shall be a misdemeanor.
 52        (29) "Protective  supervision" means a legal status created by court order
 53    in neglect and abuse cases whereby the child is permitted  to  remain  in  his
 54    home under supervision by the department.
 55        (30) "Residual  parental  rights  and responsibilities" means those rights
  1    and responsibilities remaining with the parents after the  transfer  of  legal
  2    custody  including,  but  not necessarily limited to, the right of visitation,
  3    the right to consent to adoption, the right to  determine  religious  affilia-
  4    tion,  the  right to family counseling when beneficial, and the responsibility
  5    for support.
  6        (31) "Shelter care" means places designated by the department  for  tempo-
  7    rary care of children pending court disposition or placement.
  8        (32) "Supportive  services,"  as used in this chapter, shall mean services
  9    which assist parents with a disability to  compensate  for  those  aspects  of
 10    their  disability which affect their ability to care for their child and which
 11    will enable them  to  discharge  their  parental  responsibilities.  The  term
 12    includes  specialized  or  adapted  training,  evaluations  or assistance with
 13    effectively using adaptive equipment and accommodations  which  allow  parents
 14    with  a  disability  to benefit from other services including, but not limited
 15    to, Braille texts or sign language interpreters.
 16        SECTION 2.  That Section 16-1632, Idaho Code, be, and the same  is  hereby
 17    amended to read as follows:
 19    REPORT.  (1) Under rules, policies and procedures adopted by the Idaho supreme
 20    court which may include, but are not limited to, provisions establishing  fis-
 21    cal  controls  and  requiring  compliance  with  all  or part of the standards
 22    adopted by the national court appointed  special  advocate  association,  tThe
 23    persons  or  entities receiving moneys from the grant administrator to coordi-
 24    nate a guardian ad litem program in a judicial district may be required by the
 25    terms of the grant to perform any or all of the following duties:
 26        (a)  To establish, maintain and  coordinate  a  districtwide  guardian  ad
 27        litem program consistent with the provisions of this chapter;
 28        (b)  To  furnish the necessary administrative and staffing services as may
 29        from time to time be required;
 30        (c)  To act as a central clearinghouse and coordinator for the purpose  of
 31        providing  guardians  ad  litem for children brought within the purview of
 32        this chapter;
 33        (d)  To seek to have each child brought within the purview of this chapter
 34        available to him a guardian ad litem throughout each stage  of  any  child
 35        protective proceeding;
 36        (e)  To establish a program for attorneys to represent guardians ad litem,
 37        whether  or  not  appointed  by  the  court in conjunction with the local,
 38        districtwide, and state bar associations;
 39        (f)  To the extent possible to establish a districtwide program to recruit
 40        volunteer guardians ad litem sufficient to provide services in each county
 41        of the judicial district;
 42        (g)  In conjunction with the department, prosecuting  attorneys  and  city
 43        and  county law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, social
 44        workers, school counselors and the medical community, the coordinators may
 45        assist in the development and implementation of a statewide uniform proto-
 46        col for the investigation of allegations of abuse, neglect or  abandonment
 47        pursuant to the provisions of this chapter;
 48        (h)  To  develop  uniform  criteria  to  screen,  select, train and remove
 49        guardians ad litem;
 50        (i)  To establish a priority list of those proceedings under this  chapter
 51        in  which  a guardian ad litem shall be appointed in districts where there
 52        are insufficient numbers of guardians ad litem.
 53        (2)  Each child advocate guardian ad litem  coordinator  shall  submit  an
  1    annual  report  for  the  preceding fiscal year to the grant administrator for
  2    delivery to the legislature no later than ten (10) days following the start of
  3    each regular session.  Such report shall contain the number and type  of  pro-
  4    ceedings filed in the district under this chapter, the number of children sub-
  5    ject  to  proceedings  in  the  district  under this chapter and the number of
  6    appointed guardians ad litem, the nature of services the  guardians  ad  litem
  7    provided,  the number of guardians ad litem trained in each district, the num-
  8    ber of hours of service provided by guardians ad litem  and  attorneys  and  a
  9    complete  financial statement for the past year and financial support require-
 10    ments for the next fiscal year.
 11        (3)  The coordinators and staff members of any guardian ad  litem  program
 12    receiving moneys from the grant administrator, and any persons volunteering to
 13    serve  as  guardians ad litem in such programs, shall submit to a fingerprint-
 14    based criminal history check through any law enforcement office in  the  state
 15    providing  such  service. The criminal history check shall include a statewide
 16    criminal identification bureau check, federal bureau of investigation criminal
 17    history check, and statewide sex offender registry  check.  A  record  of  all
 18    background  checks  shall  be maintained in the office of the supreme court of
 19    the state of Idaho with a copy going to the applicant.
 20        SECTION 3.  That Section 16-1638, Idaho Code, be, and the same  is  hereby
 21    amended to read as follows:
 22        16-1638.  GUARDIAN  AD LITEM ACCOUNT -- CREATION. (1) There is hereby cre-
 23    ated an account in the agency asset fund in the state treasury  to  be  desig-
 24    nated the guardian ad litem account.
 25        (2)  The account shall consist of:
 26        (a)  Moneys appropriated to the account;
 27        (b)  Donations, gifts and grants to the account from any source; and
 28        (c)  Any other moneys which may hereafter be provided by law.
 29        (3)  Moneys  in  the  account may be expended for the purposes provided in
 30    sections 16-1632 through 16-1638, Idaho Code. Interest earned on  the  invest-
 31    ment  of  idle money in the guardian ad litem account shall be returned to the
 32    guardian ad litem account.
 33        (4)  Disbursements of moneys from the account shall  be  by  appropriation
 34    from  the  legislature  to  the supreme court, which moneys shall in turn make
 35    payment of available moneys, upon request, to the grant administrator be  used
 36    for  the  payment  of grants to qualified recipients and for expenses incurred
 37    for carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
 38        SECTION 4.  That Section 16-1639, Idaho Code, be, and the same  is  hereby
 39    amended to read as follows:
 40        16-1639.  GUARDIAN  AD  LITEM  GRANTS.  The  grant administrator is hereby
 41    authorized and directed to award and administer grants from  the  money  which
 42    shall  be  from time to time available to him the grant administrator from the
 43    guardian ad litem account. The foregoing power and authorization shall be sub-
 44    ject to requirements imposed by the supreme court  and  the  following  provi-
 45    sions:
 46        (1)  Grants  may  be  made available to any person, organization, corpora-
 47    tion, or agency for any of the following purposes:
 48        (a)  To enable such entity to act as the child advocate guardian ad  litem
 49        coordinator in any judicial district.
 50        (b)  To  enable such entity to recruit, organize and administer a panel of
 51        guardians ad litem and volunteer lawyers to represent guardians ad litem.
  1        (c)  To enable such entity to recruit, organize, train and support persons
  2        or entities to act as guardian ad litem coordinators in judicial districts
  3        which do not yet have guardian ad litem coordinators.
  4        (d)  To enable such entity to pay the administrative and  other  miscella-
  5        neous  expenses incurred in carrying out the provisions of the guardian ad
  6        litem program.
  7        (2)  The grant administrator shall endeavor in his allocation of  allocat-
  8    ing  available  funds available to him to foster the development and operation
  9    of a guardian ad litem program in each judicial district in  the  state;  pro-
 10    vided,  however,  the grant administrator shall have no obligation to seek out
 11    or organize child advocate guardian ad litem coordinators or  persons  willing
 12    to  act  as  such  in  judicial districts lacking a child advocate guardian ad
 13    litem coordinator.
 14        (3)  Funds available to the grant administrator from the guardian ad litem
 15    account may be also used to pay the grant administrator's cost  of  performing
 16    its duties and obligations pursuant to this chapter.

Statement of Purpose / Fiscal Impact

                    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

                          RS 16612

  This bill would amend the provisions of the Child
  Protective Act relating to guardian ad litem programs to
  provide that the Supreme Court will adopt rules, policies
  and procedures, including fiscal controls and compliance
  with established standards, for guardian ad litem programs
  receiving moneys from the grant administrator.  It would
  also require the guardian ad litem volunteers, coordinators
  and staff of such programs to submit to a thorough criminal
  history check and sex offender registry check.  These
  amendments have been recommended by the Supreme Court's
  Child Protection Committee, which recently undertook an
  assessment of Idaho's guardian ad litem programs.  The
  amendments will insure fiscal and programmatic oversight of
  the local guardian ad litem programs, as well as more
  thorough background checks of program personnel for the
  protection of children.
                        FISCAL NOTE
  The record checks for volunteers and other program
  personnel will have a statewide cost of approximately $6,000
  annually.  This would be paid out of program funds
  consisting of grants, fund raising, and some general fund
  appropriations.  The bill will have no further impact on the
  general fund.
  Contact Person:
  Patricia Tobias
  Administrative Director of the Courts
  (208) 334-2246
  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE                        H 21